I Do How-To


9 local wedding venues that wow

by Kendra Lott

Conventional wisdom may say to go big or go home, but when it comes to wedding venues, intimate can be much more interesting. Trimming the guest list can open up a world of options from rustic to rococo, and many venues offer separate spaces for the ceremony and reception to make your boutique bash even more festive. So skip the ballroom and think small to make a big visual impact and beautiful memories.


Ever After Farms, Mims

This u-pick blueberry farm an hour’s drive from Orlando offers outdoor and indoor reception areas in a vineyard-like setting.

Venue: Wedding Barn with covered patio

Capacity: 200

Cost: $7,999 to $9,999

Includes: Access for up to 10 hours on wedding day; up to 24 60-inch round tables with linens and chairs; cake, buffet and gift tables; special wooden table for the couple

Icing on the Cake: Live out your Cinderella fantasy with farm flair in a white horse-drawn carriage (included).


White Barn at Ever After Farms

Venue 1902, Sanford

This former grammar school in Sanford’s walkable downtown historic district exudes vintage Southern charm.

Venue: Historic School House

Capacity: 150

Cost: from $1,902 to $5,500

Includes: exclusive use of venue for full day; tables and chairs for up to 150 guests; set up and breakdown; venue coordinator

Icing on the Cake: Get the perfect pre-ceremony pics in the natural light of the spacious bridal suite and groom’s quarters.


Streamsong Resort, Streamsong

Just 90 minutes from Orlando, the natural landscapes of this stunning lakeside resort offer unparalleled views of a Florida that is seldom seen.

Venues: Breezeway Lawn, Lakeside (ceremony)/Covered Breezeway (reception)

Capacity: 200

Cost: from $3,200

Includes: chairs for ceremony; reception tables, chairs, linens and tableware; dance floor and stage; certified coordinator; suite for couple on wedding night

Icing on the Cake: Tamp down your pre-wedding jitters shooting sporting clays or fishing for bass with a professional guide (additional cost).


Lakeside ceremony at Streamsong


Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Start your new life on a private island, then come inside to toast your beloved in the elegant private dining room of one of Florida’s best steakhouses.

Venues: Signature Island (ceremony) / Bull & Bear (reception)

Capacity: 250 / 22

Cost: From $3,200

Includes: Professional coordinator; white garden chairs; staging area; butler-passed infused water; sound equipment and technician

Icing on the Cake: Treat your guests (and yourself) to hand-crafted chocolates from the Waldorf’s world-class pastry team (for an additional cost).


Up the Creek Farms, Malabar

Old Florida charm abounds in this 8-acre homestead 15 miles south of Melbourne.

Venue: Boathouse and outdoor brick deck

Capacity: 150

Cost: From $6,500

Includes: Exclusive use of venue; ceremony seating and refreshment station; on-site manager; tables, chairs, linens and napkins for reception; advance use of property for engagement or bridal photo session

Icing on the Cake: Round out your decor with a credit for vintage pieces from Crystal & Crates, the farm’s own rental company (included).


Grand Bohemian Hotel, Downtown Orlando

Downtown’s most opulent option for celebrating offers choices for smaller gatherings, too.

Venues: Bohemian Garden Poolside (ceremony) / Gallery Room (reception)

Capacity: 150 / 20

Cost: from $2,500

Includes: Professional ceremony coordination; use of Garden Poolside for one hour prior to ceremony; chairs for ceremony and reception; tables, place settings and linens for reception; cake cutting service; wedding day room for the couple

Icing on the Cake: Seek inspiration from more than 150 works of art by local, national and internationally renowned artists in the Grand Bohemian Gallery.


Pool Area Ceremony at the Grand Bohemian Hotel


Bella Collina, Montverde

Take your vows under ornate vaulted ceilings, then dine in the wine cellar at this luxury golf community in the rolling hills of nearby Lake County.

Venues: Atrium (ceremony) / Wine Room (reception)

Capacity: 100 / 30

Cost: From $2,000

Includes: Access for up to four hours on wedding day; two-tiered wedding cake; chairs and setup for ceremony; cocktail hour and reception locations; access for engagement photo session and rehearsal

Icing on the Cake: Show your love in the sky with a fireworks display (for an additional cost).


The Acre, College Park

This authentic Orlando gem boasts blue skies, a wild landscape and friendly pricing for small celebrations with the Garden Party package.

Venue: Outdoors

Capacity: 20

Cost: $1,500

Includes: Use of space for up to three hours; small cake; officiant; potted florals; ceremony chairs; table for cake and gifts

Icing on the Cake: Save more moolah for your honeymoon when you BYOB.


Epcot at Disney World

A theme park may not be an obvious go-to for small gatherings, but early birds can say “I do” against a backdrop of the Canadian Rockies during an outdoor morning ceremony.

Venue: Canada pavilion

Capacity: 18

Cost: From $7,500

Includes: Bridal bouquet and boutonniere; violinist; four hours of limo service for the couple; two hours of service from a Disney photographer; cake and Champagne celebration

Icing on the Cake: Announce your arrival with a herald trumpeter, or invite a costumed character to greet you and your guests (for an additional cost).