Beach weddings can be a dream for many couples. White sand and sunny skies make for a perfect wedding day. With more than 1200 miles of coastline in Florida, there are a lot of options for your perfect beach location. Tampa, Siesta Key, Miami, Marco Island and St. Pete Beach are understandably popular, but if you want to get away from the crowds, look no further than Englewood, Florida.
Englewood is a smaller city than neighboring Venice, Sarasota, and Ft. Myers. But the charm of this city is Manasota Key, the 11 mile island everyone goes to for a great day at the beach. There are four public sections of beach with parking and bathrooms as well as long sections of sand that are more private.
As a wedding photographer in Englewood, I can tell you that there are four good options for planning your beach wedding here.
1. Hire a local wedding planner.
My favorite wedding planner in town is Sheryl Ash of To Honor You Weddings and Special Events. Sheryl is knowledgeable about all the local venues, restrictions, and guidelines and has been making couple's dreams come true for years. She can help you co ordinate all of your vendors and has a rental inventory of arches, chairs, candles and decorations to complete your look. There's no need to pay travel fees or high prices for big city vendors. She knows the BEST local florists, photographers, videographers, and musicians. Her husband, Steve Ash is a DJ and they work seamlessly together to meet your needs.
Although Manasota Beach Club is a private club, they open their doors for special events. Get married on their private beach or under the canopy of trees. The on site restaurant provides options for dinner, drinks and even your wedding cake. This club has all the Old Florida charm you're looking for.
3. Englewood Beach and The Waverly
Englewood Beach is the most popular beach for weddings and couples love having their reception at The Waverly Restaurant and Bar directly across the street. The Waverly's onsite coordinator offers wedding packages that include an arch, ceremony music and even a golf cart to drive you over to your reception. They offer plated meals or buffet dinners in their beautifully decorated ballroom.
4. Stay in a condo, motel or Airbnb and use the beach.
A lot of couples keep it small and simple and this is a perfect beach for small ceremonies. Although most of the beach is public, there are large sections with very few people around. Many couples choose to rent a room or house somewhere on the island and simply walk down to the beach to get married.
Set up your own arch and chairs (or not) and commit your lives to each other. For many couples, this is their dream.
When it comes to the perfect wedding, every couple has a different dream. COVID canceled a lot of weddings this past year and many couples have had to postpone and reschedule. Each city has their own restrictions on sizes of gatherings and it's best to check what the current restrictions are before planning your wedding.
If you're looking at getting away from the crowded beaches of the big city, Manasota Key in Englewood Florida may be your perfect place.