By: Jean Milan
With an unequaled combination of year-round sunshine, natural beauty, and exciting things to see and do, everyone on your guest list will be sure to make it to your nuptials. They might even want to get here a little early to take in some of the local flavor and have a little fun! If that's the case, here are some ideas for getting your party started right…
On The Water
When folks think of Miami, one thought pops into most everyone's mind: the beach! It's no secret that we've got more than our fair share of inviting beaches for people to enjoy. If you just want to lie back and take in some rays and enjoy the view, that's great. But if you and your party are looking for something a little more exhilarating, you're sure to find excitement on the water.
If you've got a need for speed, there's no better excursion than Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures. Tours depart several times a day from Bayside Marketplace in Downtown Miami to provide guests with a unique sightseeing experience. You'll ride aboard a vessel that goes up to 50 miles per hour as the tour guide points out the sights, including great views of famous homes, other vessels and our iconic city skyline. It's an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable way to get some sun on your skin and sea spray in your hair.
For totally different ride on the water, Ocean Force Adventures features Zodiac RIB inflatable boats that depart on 2-hour adventures for groups of six or less. You'll take in local landmarks around Miami and Miami Beach like Stiltsville, Ocean Drive's Art Deco skyline and the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Your experienced guide will clue you in on all the local lore and welcome your questions as you zoom around in the same kind of vessel used by the FBI and Special Forces.
After you've enjoyed some time on the ocean, perhaps you and your party would like to explore one of Miami's most unique bodies of water? Of course we're referring to what Marjorie Stoneman Douglas termed as the "River of Grass," the Florida Everglades. One of the best ways to experience this singular ecosystem is on an airboat ride through Everglades Safari Park, where you and your party will see exotic plant and wildlife as you ride around Everglades National Park, and then enjoy a thrilling alligator show afterwards. Be sure to bring your camera!
Sightseeing & Tours
You've probably heard that Miami is unlike any other place in the United States. Well, it is—and now it's you and your guests' turn to experience it up close! To see it like a native, buy a day pass from one of many DecoBike kiosks on Miami Beach. Hop on your sturdy Deco Bike bicycle rental and take a ride along Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and the historical Miami Beach Art Deco District. Download their iPhone app to find stations easily.
Or take a different spin around town when you and your party join Miami Tours for a GoCar Tour. You'll zip around in a GPS-guided tour of the city at your own pace. You stop where you want to stop, and go where you want to go, all the while learning more about Greater Miami and the Beaches in either English or Spanish.
Make A Day Of It
For those brides looking to do all their entertaining in one place, look no further than Gulfstream Park and The Village at Gulfsteam Park, where thoroughbred horse racing, fine shopping and nightlife come together. One of South Florida's newest entertainment destinations, these perfectly manicured grounds are the perfect setting for watching the races or enjoying some retail therapy, while the eco-friendly Greenhouse Nightclub, the Yard House bar or The Playwright Irish Pub can serve as a enjoyable backdrop for a fun evening for your wedding guests. Contact guest services to plan your outing in advance.
Wine lovers and foodies alike will want to head down to the Redland area to check out Schnebly Redland's Winery, which specializes in table and sparkling wines made from exotic tropical fruit such as guava, lychee, passion fruit, carambola—even avocado!—to name a few. Tastings are offered seven days a week, Fridays are BBQ night at the winery, tours are available on the weekends, and private tours for 12 or more guests require a reservation. Make sure to check out their event calendar to see if live music or one of their other many events coincides with your visit.
Walk On The Wild Side
For the animal-lovers on your guest list, it's a date! Fast becoming one of the best zoos in the nation, Zoo Miami is the place to see a variety of animals from Asia, Australia and Africa, as well as exciting attractions like Amazon & Beyond where you can immerse yourself in Central and South American sights and sounds that span over 27 acres. For an aerial view of the many animals and exhibits, you and your party can hop on the Monorail. Or your guests can experience the zoo aboard their Asia or Africa Safari Tram Tours, which depart every hour from the Main Station. For another cool way to get around the zoo, your group members can rent safari cycles, which feature their own built in shade!
To spend time with some of our area's fine feathered friends, you need look no further Jungle Island, where you and your guests can enjoy special V.I.P. Tours that include interaction with African Penguins, Blue and Gold Macaws, Caribbean Flamingos and other exotic birds, as well as tigers, orangutans, chimpanzees, pot-bellied pigs and more! Afterwards, check out La Playa, Jungle Island's private beach.
For the fishing aficionados on your guest list, Miami is a dream destination offering some of the best saltwater fishing around. Kelley Fishing Fleet offers 4- to 8-hour charters specializing in light tackle fishing with Captain Paul Hunt, where even novice and junior anglers are always welcome. You're sure to find Bonefish, Tarpon and other fish during your outing. Perhaps putting greens are more to your guests' liking? If that's the case, the Trump National Doral offers up five championship golf courses including the famed Blue Monster. Welcoming golfers since 1962, it's hosted such greats as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Tiger Woods. So get in the swing of things and book a tee time for your party!
Out On The Town
Miami's nightlife is world renowned. So whether you and your guests want to dress up and take in a play, kick back and hit the lanes, or try your luck at games of chance, we have activities to suit every preference.
Designed by Cesar Pelli, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts serves up first-rate theater and other live performances. Located in the center of the city and easily accessible through public transportation, you and your party are sure to be impressed with the quality of the shows at the state-of-the-art performance venue, which serves as home to The Florida Grand Opera and Miami City Ballet, as well as a home away from home to the Cleveland Orchestra and various touring Broadway productions. Check out their online calendar and book your group's tickets today!
For a more casual evening, take your wedding guests to Lucky Strike Lanes for a night of bowling, billiards and camaraderie in a hip and upscale lounge environment, complete with American-style fare and a full bar. You can plan your private party ahead of time by contacting one of their party planners.
Feeling lucky? Get in on the thrill of gaming at the Miccosukee Resort and Casino, where you can choose from poker, high stakes bingo, gaming machines and more. Afterwards, head over to the Cypress Lounge, The Martini Bar or Gator Bar, which are just steps away from the gaming excitement.