Posted on July 15th, 2011
Home to the University of Florida as well as several regional hospitals, Gainesville Florida has a thriving economy, exciting lifestyle and many gorgeous locations to hold your upcoming wedding. Ranging from the intimate to the extravagant, there is a venue for virtually every taste and budget to be found in Gainesville.
Beautiful Victorian era architecture and lush Florida gardens nestled in historic downtown Gainesville create a magical atmosphere that is hard to duplicate. If you are seeking an intimate wedding, the McKenzie House can accommodate your party. If your guest list is larger, they offer the McKenzie Hall, a beautifully appointed ballroom surrounded by glass french doors which open onto a lovely patio surrounded by amazing greenery. I have performed for many events at this venue and can tell you that it truly is a Gainesville gem! Garden ceremonies in front of their beautiful gazebo are also an option as well. What really puts this on my list of top venues is that the Sweetwater Branch Inn is also a bed and breakfast, so your bridal party and perhaps even some of your guests can stay on the property during the festivities.
My favorite reason to get married here? Sunset photos overlooking Paynes Prairie nature preserve… Breathtaking! In addition to the amazing photo opportunities, Gainesville Country Club offers a sizable banquet facility which can comfortably seat 200 for dinner. They provides catering in house. The food is excellent, and so is the Banquet Manager Jim Lide. Jim is a true professional who will go to whatever length necessary to ensure your wedding lives up to the magical vision you have in your mind.
Featuring a stunning outdoor space that overlooks a pristine golf course, the Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club is the preferred venue of choice for many local and out of town brides. Fortunately, a membership to the club is not required to host your wedding at this prestigious facility. With most weddings I have been involved with here, the chef prepared an amazing plated dinner service, although they offer buffet options as well. Their facility is laid out in such a way that they can even accommodate setting up a large outdoor tent to host your reception under. This can be an elegant solution, especially if you plan to get married during the milder months and have a sizeable guest list. Brittany Brown is the private events director there and she does an amazing job assisting couples with every facet of their event.
#4. Reitz Union Grand Ballroom
Located on the second floor of the University of Florida’s J. Wayne Reitz Union, this banquet space is hands down the largest indoor facility in Gainesville. If you are hosting a seated dinner for over 350 people in Gainesville, this is where you want to have your wedding. The University has a catering company called Classic Fare which can handle the food for you, and their food and service is pretty decent, although you may want to inquire about bringing in your own catering if you want something extravagant. The facility is also a hotel which is convenient for out of town guests.
#5. UF Hilton
What more could you ask for in a venue? A huge, recently remodled hotel luxuriously appointed, and located across from the University of Florida. For many years the UF Hilton has been a premier wedding choice in Gainesville. They feature a long gallery for your cocktail reception, and can configure their ballrooms in multiple ways to accommodate every type of event from the intimate gathering to the very large wedding. The UF Hilton requires the use of their in house catering service, and I have found their staff to be exemplary and the food always shines. Marissa Macleod is the wedding and special events catering manager there and has a reputation for taking great care of her clients.
#6. Herlong Mansion
Although not technically in Gainesville, this gorgeous bed and breakfast is also an amazing spot to get married. There is nothing more romantic than arriving at your ceremony in a horse drawn carriage, a regular feature of a Herlong wedding! Pick a cooler time of the year and set up a tent on the front lawn for an absolutely unforgettable occasion with your family and friends. Located in the heart of Micanopy, Florida, The Herlong Mansion is historic and full of storied beauty. Built circa 1845, this amazing home is on the national register of historic places and offers a unique southern style experience. While the Herlong allows any vendors you choose, I recommend going with their preferred catering company Custom Caterers. Janina and Dan Dylla always impress with the food and their flair for delicious cuisine seems to fit perfectly with the garden weddings at the Herlong.
Ask for the Presidential Suite when booking your wedding at the Best Western! It’s a gorgeous room overlooking the property on the top floor of the hotel and the view from the balcony at sunset is amazing. This is great hotel venue that is reasonably priced, offers multiple different banquet rooms and the staff knows exactly what they are doing. Their buffet dinners are impressive and always delicious and I have seen time and again happy couples enjoy their wedding day at this amazing venue.
This venue is unique, charming, and affordably priced! With four distinctly different areas of Kanapaha Botanical Gardens outdoor space available for your wedding there are almost limitless possibilities to what you can do here. You really must see how beautiful it is under the “Wedding Oak!” They can accommodate up to 150 guests for your ceremony as well as for your reception in their banquet room and wrap around porch. You must provide your own catering, or you can utilize their on site kitchen to create your wedding day menu yourself.
Simple, Elegant and refined. Plantation Hall is tucked away in the Haile Plantation Village Center, a European inspired neighborhood of retail shops, restaurants and homes. Plantation Hall can comfortably hold a small to modest sized wedding where you are looking to bring in everything yourself. I suggest calling the experts at Adore Events if you are interested in this venue, as they know how to really put together an amazing event at this location.
#10. Thomas Center
I saved one of my favorites for last… This venue conveys the personality of Gainesville in a unique way that few others can. The stunning architecture, vast open lawn and enormous tranquil fountain make it an idyllic wedding setting. The turtle court is fabulous for an outdoor ceremony that can comfortably hold up to 150 guests. The interior space is called the Spanish court and is equally impressive. It rises two stories and is capped off with a stunning glass skylight. That along with marble floors, beautiful columns and a long gallery flanking one side, the Thomas Center will remind you of the elegant parties thrown by Gatsby of West Egg. If you book the Thomas Center, you can also make use of the amazing wrap around front porch and lawn. Many people use this space for the cocktail hour and put furniture, string lights and other details there to really enhance the natural beauty.