A destination wedding may conjure up visions of far-flung locales with glittering water and eggshell-colored sand. And while islands like Bali and St. Barth may seem super exotic, there’s another spot right at home with shores just as stunning: Miami. It's within a few hours’ flight or drive, and your guests will land in a city that’s a year-round vacation destination and a celeb winter hot spot for reasons beyond its beaches—although they’re definitely a major perk. Vegas-esque nightlife and award-winning chefs don’t hurt either. Whether you’ve dreamt of a ballroom or beachfront wedding—or prefer a lush tropical garden or art gallery—the city has something to suit brides of all styles. Plus, this is one destination you won’t have to convince friends too hard to join you in. From lavish hotels lining South Beach to Saint Tropez-inspired bachelorette bashes, here are just 10 of the many reasons the Magic City is really a magical place to say “I do.”
1. Cinderella-worthy ballrooms on the beach.
Debating between a beach or ballroom wedding? At waterfront hotels like the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, you can have your cake and eat it too. Say “I do” in the vintage-inspired Astor Ballroom, with its floor-to-ceiling antiqued mirrors and handcrafted coral mosaic ceiling, or tie the knot above the sand on the Ocean Palm Court, with a backdrop overlooking the Atlantic.
2. Sky-high ceremonies.
In Miami, there’s no lack of rooftop spaces where your guests can “ooh" and "aah” over not only your dress but also the views. From the Bar at Lvl 25 at Conrad Miami, you’ll have vistas of Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay, with a wraparound balcony perfect for cocktail hour. In Downtown Miami, meanwhile, you can celebrate 40 stories high on the rooftop of EAST at Sugar, an Asian-inspired oasis that will have you feeling like you’ve escaped somewhere exotic like Thailand while still being right in the heart of the city.
3. Saint-Tropez-inspired bachelorette parties.
No need to head to Saint-Tropez for a French-themed bachelorette party your friends won’t forget anytime soon. Thanks to spots like Bagatelle and Villa Azur, you can party just like you would in the South of France—magnums of rosé included! On Thursday nights, Villa Azur hosts its infamous dinner party, so bring the girls and prepare for a long evening of champagne, oysters, and dancing in the garden. If you’d rather start the party earlier, Bagatelle is your place for Sunday brunch, with a rotating theme each week (think superheroes and 80s rock) and a team of very cute French servers who definitely know how to get the crowd up and dancing before the first round of bubbly is even poured.
4. Venues of all styles.
Whether you’re looking for a monastery or a mansion, Miami’s seemingly endless list of wedding venues is sure to have just the vibe you’re after. Brides going for over-the-top gilded affairs will fall in love with the former Versace mansion, the Villa Casa Casuarina, while those looking for something with more old-world charm can tie the knot at the Cooper Estate, an impressive limestone manor surrounded by a sunken grotto with waterfalls.
5. Your guests have plenty of hotel options, from swanky to subdued.
South Beach may be known for super-swanky resorts like the Delano and SLS, but that doesn’t mean your guests need to dish out on a luxe hotel room for the weekend (unless they want to, of course). Miami Beach is also home to charming art-deco boutique hotels, like the 80-year-old icon the Tides, as well as design-savvy hostels like Freehand, which features solo suites and bungalows just a block from the beach, making it a great pick for groups of friends bunking together. Further north, guests looking for something on the quieter side can escape to the new Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, a revamped version of the 1930s favorite frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra.
6. No one will get bored.
Art lovers can stroll past the street-art-lined walls of Wynwood, gallery hopping and shopping at some of the city’s chicest boutiques. Nature lovers can set off and explore one of the county’s 263 parks—as well as two national parks—cycling through the Everglades or kayaking through a canopy of mangroves along the coast of Biscayne National Park. Those who’d rather bask on the beach can take their pick of sandy stretches, from the dog-friendly (and windsurfing hot spot) Hobie Beach to the central strip of South Beach, which runs from 1 Washington Avenue up to 21st Street. There’s no lack of spas, either, for those who want a little pre-wedding pampering (bride included), from three-story the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Miami, to the hydro playground and hammam at the Standard Spa, Miami Beach.
7. You can curate your own celeb-worthy glam quad.
Since Miami is a holiday spot and photo-shoot favorite for models and celebrities, it’s not hard to find hairstylists and makeup artists to the stars there. Luckily, these pros stay here year-round, with outposts in easy-to-access spots like the heart of South Beach. No need to lay out on the beach to get a glow like Kim Kardashian's for your big day. Head over to Valet Tan for an organic two-minute spray tan. Owner Falen Whipple will have you looking as bronze and radiant as the models she’s “tanned” for Sports Illustrated. Even better, the studio is home to a boutique nail salon, so after getting your glow on, the team at Nailed can ensure your nails are wedding ready, with enough space for the entire bridal party to get primped pre-ceremony.
8. Out-of-towners don’t need to rent a car.
While Miami is a sprawling city, your guests won’t need to rely on a car to get around town during your wedding weekend. If you’re planning festivities on South Beach or in the downtown or Brickell area, many places are walkable (or bikeable!). A free air-conditioned trolley even makes stops along some of the highlights in Miami Beach, such as Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue, in addition to some of the trendier up-and-coming neighborhoods like Wynwood and the Design District. Your guests can also easily snag an Uber or Lyft from the airport, as well as anywhere in the city at any time of day or night.
9. The destination is quick—and easy—to reach.
Not only is Miami an easy city to reach from most spots across the country (and from international locales like London), there are also a number of budget airlines like Southwest, JetBlue, and Spirit that fly into Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, just a 40-minute drive from downtown. Not only can your guests score reasonable tickets (especially in the summer, when it’s low season), this is a city they’ll actually be excited to visit. There is a reason it’s a Spring Break favorite, after all. Plus, you’ll have beach weather year-round. The winter months are slightly cooler, but summer isn’t as sweltering as you’d expect, thanks to sea breezes and brief afternoon showers. Just keep in mind that hurricane season runs from June through November. On the upside, hotel rates are much lower during this time and planners are well prepared with a Plan B in case the weather turns.
10. There are plenty of nearby honeymoon-hopping options.
Miami is considered the gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America, so after wrapping up the wedding festivities, you can jet off from your send-off brunch and be basking in the Caribbean or Mexico in less than three hours. Another option: island hopping right off the coast of Florida. Make your way down to the Florida Keys on a scenic road trip, rocking out to your honeymoon-themed playlist and pausing to indulge in Key-lime pie along the way. (Calories don’t count on honeymoons, right?) If you really want to feel like you’ve escaped from it all, why not call a private island home during your honeymoon? The thatched-roof bungalows at Little Palm Island on Little Torch Key (a quick motor-yacht ride from the coast) will have you falling into newlywed bliss the second your toes hit the sand.