Holding a destination wedding is the dream of almost every bride. Imagine saying your vows in the south of France, in one of those elaborate European gardens, or under the shadows of an ancient architectural masterpiece in the rolling hillsides of Italy. Unfortunately, planning a wedding abroad is rarely an option for most couples. If you’re still dreaming about a decadent, European-style setting for your wedding, don’t give up just yet. I know the perfect venue for you. Today, we’re going to discuss why holding a Vizcaya, Miami wedding is the best option for couples who are on the search for their perfect setting. We’ll also see tips from local experts and other information you need to make your Vizcaya wedding a success.
The Vizcaya estate was originally built in 1922 by James Deering as a home to escape the cold winter months in the north. It is unique in every sense of the word, drawing a tranquility that is rarely found in Miami. Vizcaya has been restored to its original glory in the modern world while maintaining the incredible character this property has exuded since its completion. It is a haven amid a bustling city that can hardly be described, and one of the top wedding venues in Miami.
Using the gardens for your Vizcaya wedding is essential to getting the most from this venue. A great way to really show off this venue’s garden areas is having your ceremony here. Daytime ceremonies are possible in any part of the gardens, and there are so many beautiful spots to choose from! The backdrop created is a stunning mixture of nature and design, including fountains, carved walls and stairs, and beautiful stone archways. The many beautiful elements within the gardens are perfect for a wedding photoshoot. There is such a magical feel surrounding the area, and using the elements within the gardens is perfect for some unique and lovely wedding photos. Personally, I love doing wedding photography around the Secret Garden just when the sun starts to set, turning the whole scene a hue of golden light.
Standing ornately in the center of the main house is the courtyard. This unique architectural wonder features beautiful archways, ornate designs, and a grandiose glass ceiling, all of which come together to make a beautiful setting for several different parts of your wedding day. For example, the Courtyard is a wonderful place for a romantic ceremony, an opulent cocktail hour, or even an intimate reception.
Are you looking for the perfect spot for your outdoor reception? Look no further than the East Terrace, at the back of the Main House. This magical setting offers views across the Biscayne Bay and into the Vizcaya’s gardens below, as well as providing plenty of space for a larger reception.
Local wedding planner Jennifer Johnson has plenty of experience with the Vizcaya. She offered us some of her top tips for a Vizcaya wedding:
A: The best element would be the tent. I always recommend my clients get the tent rather than to take a risk in South Florida. We then plan the entire look inclusive of the tent so it’s part of our decor. It also helps to create an intimate setting.
Personal decor is so important, but also amazing food and great music are also essential. The venue is so gorgeous on its own that the decor should complement the venue, but not overpower it. We use lighting to highlight many of Vizcaya’s architectural features and use those as part of the decor and experience, including the secret garden (makes a great pathway to the tent from ceremony or cocktail hour), the barge, and the front of the mansion (especially when guests arrive after dark).
A: Every vendor contributes to setting the mood, and every event at Vizcaya is completely different each time. I have done very ethnic Indian weddings, to very traditional Jewish weddings, to weddings that feel more like a music festival than a wedding. Lighting and decor are key to playing up the tone.
A: We have done so many weddings at Vizcaya and so many are memorable. We did a big Russian Jewish wedding once where they had polar bears made of ice, a huge firework display and the Barack Obama impersonator from Saturday Night Live (even played up with security choppers and secret service). Of course, that’s an extreme example. Most of the time it’s just the ambiance of the venue. I love standing at the entrance when guests arrive and seeing their reaction to each turn of the property. Vizcaya provides so many unique opportunities to wow the guests, from arriving to the entrance and seeing and walking through the mansion, to then going out the south doors where the gardens are revealed, to the walk onto the casino mound with the historic stone and canopy of trees, to the tent boasting the view of Biscayne Bay and the amazing barge.
A: This really depends on guest count, but I would say the average Vizcaya wedding is $150k and up. Some certainly do it for less and others a lot more, but you can have a nice event for 150 guests in that range with all the bells and whistles.
For a daytime ceremony, you and your guests will have full access to the gardens. This can be held anytime between 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM. For an evening event, you and your guests have full access to the Main House, terraces, and gardens. The hours available are between 6:30 PM and 11:00 PM, but can be extended up to 1:00 AM for an additional fee.
In general, a Vizcaya wedding is best suited to a more intimate party. For a daytime ceremony in the gardens, there is a limit of 50 guests. In the Courtyard, up to 100 guests can fit for a reception. If you have your Vizcaya wedding on the East Terrace overlooking the Biscayne Bay, you can fit up to 300 guests.
There is a parking lot with 125 spaces at the disposal of yourself and your guests. For a daytime ceremony in the gardens, the cost is $1,500 for up to 25 guests (including photographers and other vendors), and $25 for each additional guest, up to 50 total guests. For an evening event, the base price for 125 guests is $12,500 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday, or $7,500 for Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Each additional guest will cost $25. You will also need to pay a permit fee of $375 or more, depending on how many guests you have.
Holding a wedding at the Vizcaya is a decision you will not regret. After seeing many different weddings here, I can say it’s one of the best venues for a couple who are looking for an opulent and unique setting for their special day.
To start arranging your Vizcaya wedding, get in contact with Adrienne Kaiser by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 305-860-8448.