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Destination I Do

Destination Weddings in the Florida Keys

Words by Carolyn Steere
Photos courtesy of Cheeca Lodge and Spa
Nestled on a 27-acre private estate in the Florida Keys just 90 miles south of Miami is the legendary Cheeca Lodge and Spa. Dating back to 1946, this historic oceanfront estate is located on Islamorada, “the Purple Isle” aptly named by early Spanish explorers for its memorable purple sunsets.

The warm welcome begins at the front entrance gate where you are directed to the arrival porte-cochere and greeted by name, then offered complimentary champagne to help ease you into the relaxed atmosphere that will envelope you for the duration of your stay. You begin to understand why the Cheeca Lodge and Spa has been the choice of celebrities, business leaders and even US Presidents.

The property offers a range of accommodations from luxurious guest rooms, suites and ocean front bungalows. Following a fire, a new four-story main lodge was constructed, retaining its original charm but adding much more. The new premier 840 square-foot guest suites are exquisitely furnished in West Indies décor and boast floor-to-ceiling glass walls that open to panoramic views, expansive private lanais, open-air round tubs for two and marble and glass showers (with a view!).

Hidden pathways guide you through the lush landscape with surprises around every turn including waterfalls, gardens, a crossing palms archway and private lagoons. As you emerge at the shore of the Atlantic you discover the picturesque 525’ pier, lavish pools and the oceanfront Tiki Bar where you can sip a refreshing mango martini or appropriately named “pain killer.” 

The grounds of this tropical oasis offer a variety of settings for a destination wedding. You can say your “I do’s” on the beach with the azure blue of the Atlantic as your backdrop or under arched palms in a intimate lush garden. Receptions range from a casual beach buffet to butler passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a six-course feast prepared by their award-winning culinary team. 

Your wedding guests will never complain of boredom with all of the activities at their fingertips.   Water lovers can explore North America’s only living, natural coral barrier reef while snorkeling or diving. There are also the options of sailing, kayaking, windsurfing or guided excursions through nearby mangrove forests. The anglers on your guest list will be delighted to learn that Islamorada is known as the “Sportfishing Capital of the World,” for the 600 species of fish that reside in the surrounding waters. Golf anyone? The onsite nine-hole Jack Nicklaus designed par-three course is fun for the entire family and open from sunrise to dusk with play included in the daily resort fee.

Is a bit of pampering for you and your guests on the wish list? The Spa a Cheeca Lodge has a menu of services that will surely entice, including their Sea Breeze treatment that incorporates aromatherapy oils, soothing Swedish, relaxing Balinese and exotic Lomi Lomi massage techniques. 

Culinary delights and ocean views await you and your guests at the Atlantic Edge Restaurant where Concept Chef, Dean James Max, incorporates fresh local flavors and the finest fish and prime steaks into the inspired menu. The glassed wine cellar offers an exceptional choice of wines personally selected by Chef Max. What is a visit to the Florida Keys without sushi? Nikai Sushi is a great dining alternative accompanied by a selection of over 35 varieties of sake.

It is no wonder that this exclusive hideaway continues to welcome its guests back year after year and if you are considering a destination wedding in the Florida Keys, it should be top on your list. It is clearly a “Dearly Beloved” for Destination I Do.

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