Charmingly rustic, shabby chic, bohemian inspired — however you describe Ocala/Marion County’s breathtaking natural surroundings, they make for a glorious wedding destination. Brides-to-be with a love of the outdoors and unique experiences will relish the opportunity to walk down the aisle in the company of swaying pine trees, majestic live oaks and colorful wildflowers.
A few of the area’s top spots to begin your happily-ever-after:
Ocala National Forest
Set in the second largest forest in the Sunshine state, Doe Lake Campground has become a favorite amongst lovebirds seeking a fairytale-inspired yet eclectic wedding celebration, complete with panoramic lake views and massive oak canopies. Within the campground, you’ll also find a historic 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps lodge—the perfect spot for dinner and dancing following the ceremony.
A wedding venue with a Hollywood history, Silver Springs has been featured in over 40 films and more than 3,000 brides have said “I do,” at the iconic location. With a number of beautiful settings on-site, couples can choose from several naturally gorgeous backdrops for their big day. The Twin Oaks Mansion offers elegance and charm reminiscent of “Gone with the Wind,” while the venue’s spring-side pavilions boast beautiful river views. For a truly unique wedding experience, celebrations can even be held on a special glass-bottom boat tour of the spring.
Rainbow Springs offers the ultimate paradise for nature lovers to tie the knot, surrounded by lush greenery and songbirds to provide the soundtrack to your big day. Couples can choose to share heartfelt vows overlooking Rainbow River or walk down an antique-style brick aisle leading to a 60-foot waterfall with lush gardens below. All the makings for a magical celebration await at this local gem.
Selecting a menu or catering company for your wedding day is one of the biggest and most important decisions when planning a wedding. Fortunately, Ocala/Marion County’s foodie scene is just as vibrant as its natural beauty.
Keep the menu simple and easy and let a few of the County’s top caters assist in developing a reception menu that is delightfully delicious. The folks at Brick City Catering are known in the area for catering weddings as their trendy ‘make your own tacos bar and the pasta Fresca station is all the rage. For a hip take on classic favorites, The Lunch Box is a popular downtown eatery serves baked ziti, fiesta chicken and their legendary barbeque. Eaton’s Beach Grill is another area local hotspot known for its inventive “Florisiana” cuisine, the perfect blend of Floridian fare with a Cajun kick. Brides may want to consider Eaton’s signature Sunset Orange Cake, made with 100% Florida orange juice squeezed into all the layers, filled with fresh orange mousse and covered in buttercream frosting.
When it comes to wedding cakes, Decadence Catering has led the pack for more than 18 years with their beautifully detailed creations. Put the finishing touches on a party guests will be talking about for weeks to come with a chocolate fountain and other homemade treats from the Ocala’s Chocolates and Confections downtown shop.
Finally, no celebration is complete without quality spirits, wines and brews. For artisanal liquors, look no further than Fish Hawk Spirits in Dunnellon, Florida. This distillery draws on the purity of the region’s spring waters and uses organic Florida produce to create unique flavors you won’t find anywhere else in the world. To give your nuptials a truly one-of-a-kind touch, couples can visit The Corkscrew Winery and create their own delicious signature bottles of wine or beer to serve guests.
Plan your truly unforgettable wedding celebration in the heart of a natural paradise. For additional details on everything Ocala/Marion County has to offer, visit OcalaMarion.com.
Please review the links below for real-world examples of rustic destination weddings in Ocala/Marion County: