As the US and rest of the world is still under multiple lockdowns due to the pandemic as well as suffering from record-breaking storms and cold temperatures, there is a bright spot for American travelers: Florida. Not only is Florida warm and sunny and fairly easy to reach from most places in the US, the Sunshine State is welcoming to travelers by continuing to stay safe with social distancing and free, on-demand COVID-19 testing. Even better, it’s offering up a relaxed environment to enjoy a honeymoon, wedding or bachelorette party. I recently went to Miami—a friend of mine has an apartment there and after spending the majority of the winter there, raving about how happy she was, I just had to check take a trip to the Magic City to see for myself—and for World Bride Magazine readers!—if it really was so magical.
An easy flight on Delta (the airline remains the only one to continue to block middle seats through the end of April) swept me away to the glamorous world of palm trees, fabulous restaurants, Latin music and food, and miles of sandy, white beaches. I stayed at the Grand Beach Hotel in mid-Miami beach out of ease: It was next door to my friend’s apartment building. Despite the low price (I got a room for around $175 a night which is pretty cheap considering I had an ocean view during high-season), it was a beautiful hotel, with multiple pools, a private beach, and even an adult-only pool on the 7th floor. Bright, clean, and minimalist decor, the Grand Beach Hotel was a great home base for my Miami vacation.
After a few days of relaxing by the pool and catching up with friends, I decided to explore what options the Miami area is currently offering for brides and brides-to-be. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most restaurants and hotels were all open with lots of social distancing, hand sanitizing and open-air seating—perfect for small weddings or honeymoons! In fact, I saw several small, beach weddings as well as a few bachelorette parties. Here are a few Miami-area locales that are perfect if you’re looking to host a small, chic, and safe wedding or honeymoon—no matter what your vision or budget.
If You Want: High-End Style
Check Out: Faena
I had not heard of Faena before I walked into this stunning hotel—but ever since I stopped by for a poolside cocktail, I have dreamt of its beauty. Draped in signature red and gilded gold, Faena is an Argentinean designer who has brought his style to Miami Beach. Perched above white sand beaches and turquoise water, the decadent Art Deco design and luxe amenities will make you feel like a celebrity, whether you’re on your honeymoon or hosting your wedding or rehearsal dinner. For the bride who wants a curated, high-art wedding, look no further than this gem of a hotel which has renowned artist Damien Hirst’s gold-gilded Wooly Mammoth on display in it’s garden, along with hand painted mosaics and stunning artwork throughout the property. Whether you host your wedding at the Pool or the Playa or at any of the stylish event spaces, your day will be one your guests won’t soon forget.
If You Want: Intimate Rooftop Wedding
Check Out: Cstm Hse
Cstm Haus is a hipper-than-hip private event space right on Collins Avenue. The new Miami outpost of the fairly well-known New York Cstm Haus, the space feels intimate and airy. Boasting views of both the Atlantic Ocean as well as Biscayne Bay, the Cstm Haus rooftop feels relaxed, upscale, and urban in a decidedly beach town. A glass-enclosed indoor space has a gorgeous bar while the wrap-around roof deck feels magical with string lights lit under the stars.
If You Want: A Seaside, Country-Club Vibe
Check Out: JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa
Tucked away on 300 acres between Miami and Fort Lauderdale this iconic Miami resort is renowned for its two championship golf courses redesigned by Raymond Floyd as well as its fabulous spa, Ame. A tropical oasis with a culture of accessible luxury, you can plan both a larger or smaller wedding—indoors or out. The resort boasts 34 event spaces—ballrooms, terraces, gardens, along with breathtaking outdoor venues (think: golf courses and gardens) for your ceremony.
The resort also offers Tidal Cove, a five-acre poolscape with a lazy river, water slides and 25 luxury cabanas and two restaurants—a perfect place if you’ve got any kiddos—or thrill seekers—in attendance. Consider renting one of their decked out cabanas—complete with a mini-bar, a TV, and your own butler—that will cater a fantastic bachelorette or bachelor party.
If You Want: Over-the-top South Beach Glamour
Check Out: The Villa Casa Casuarina
Originally built in 1930, the former Versace Mansion located in the heart of South Beach on Ocean Drive now houses Gianni’s, a glamorous Mediteranean restaurant and a luxury, boutique hotel and event space. Unapologetically opulent in it’s homage to its previous iteration as the late Gianni Versace’s home, the Villa restaurant boasts several extravagant dining areas to host your wedding and reception including the Garden Dining Room, the Roman Room decorated with romantic statues, the iconic courtyard, and the terrace overlooking the mosaic-filled pool and garden. Or plan a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon in one of the Villa’s ten guest suites featuring glamorous decor and custom Italian marble oversized bathrooms—complete with two shower heads. The entire property is also available for private rental, offering any bride and groom the ultimate chic-yet-safe wedding event.
If You Want: An Intimate Restaurant Reception
Check Out: Timo
Want your wedding reception to focus on delicious food? Check out Timo—an intimate Italian restaurant located in Sunny Isles. Chef Tim Andriola’s Italian-Mediterranean inspired cuisine and a timeless dining room is perfect for hosting a small, intimate wedding reception or rehearsal dinner. Exceptional, knowledgable service helped guide me through the menu which was so amazing it was almost impossible to make a choice. But choose I did—grilled octopus, lamb, Osso Bucco—and everything was outstanding. Prefer to keep your wedding day even more intimate? Dine in the comfort of your own home, rental house, or hotel room as Timo will include a chef and a server who have tested negative for Covid-19 and will adhere to strict safety measures. You can choose from a 3, 5 or 7-course or custom tasting menu with wine pairings.
Cari Wira Dineen is a Boston-based freelance lifestyle writer, editor, and content strategist. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Weight Watchers, Health, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, TheKnot.com, The New York Post, and Shape.com among others. Most recently, she was an editor at John Brown Media where she created custom, branded content for digital and print publications as well as websites and social media platforms. A former senior editor at Redbook and Woman’s Day, she loves writing about travel, beauty, and wellness.