Greater Fort Lauderdale is well-versed in two kinds of Florida destination wedding at the beach: toes in the sand or manicured toes in heels. The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida delivers both, and they’ve got the “I do” formula down pat.
Top 10 Destination Wedding Takeaways
What exactly goes into the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood marriage-starter mix that makes it so desirable? I checked it out during an activity-packed three-day stay hosted by The Diplomat and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau and boiled it down to these top takeaways.
At the iconic Diplomat resort, beautifully renovated and designed with an abundance of glass to bring the outside in, a giant-sized atrium lobby with an ocean view bar has a distinctly tropical feel.
Between the building’s two towers, a striking architectural cut-out design permits the late afternoon sun to drench the pools and the beach beyond.
One of the sleek and spacious (712 square feet) corner suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound balcony on an upper floor provides the perfect private perch for catching impressive sunrises and soft sunsets over the ocean. The surprise? A boutique feeling throughout disguises the fact that there are 1,000 rooms and suites.
Hollywood is on a stretch of South Florida’s Gold Coast, straddling ocean and intracoastal waterway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Less than 10 miles from Fort Lauderdale’s smaller and more manageable airport, Hollywood is less flashy than South Beach and lacks Miami’s nightmarish traffic.
Plan ahead for an event during the popular post-hurricane season months of November and December. Also look at March through May, a lovely springtime period in South Florida before things get hot and sticky.
Seven of the South Florida’s best restaurants and more bars than you can count are right within the resort, so what’s not to love about The Diplomat’s dining options? Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian has two dining concepts inside the hotel; Point Royal, with a raw bar and a casual American coastal theme, and Counter Point where Oyster Hour is a nightly draw.
Go to Monkitail for classic izakaya, sharable small plates and sushi from famed chef Michael Schulson. Don’t miss Nokku, a cocktail lounge tucked away beyond the dining area, where intimate rooms accommodate small groups for late-night drinks and tons of karaoke fun on a pre-wedding night.
For a change from seafood and sushi, The Diplomat’s fashionable Prime restaurant is a popular fine dining steakhouse off the lobby that features prime beef aged in-house.
Hats off to The Diplomat’s executive catering team for their five-course meal demonstration of a luncheon that any wedding party would enjoy. Private rooms with knockout views are ideal for smaller gatherings.
The Diplomat Beach Resort can also cater to the very largest of Florida weddings since a 50,000-square-foot Great Hall with a terrace and a 20,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom overlooking the Atlantic are among the venues that accommodate hundreds for a banquet and dancing. A kosher kitchen is available, too.
Fancy a champagne cruise on the pristine Intracoastal Waterway? A gleaming 100-foot yacht awaits in the resort’s private marina.
Decor and Music
The wedding staff at The Diplomat Beach Resort know a number of local musicians and local specialist companies who are highly skilled at presenting stunning table settings…a picture tells a thousand words.
Bonnet House Museum and Garden
Guided by the visitor bureau’s own wedding consultant known as the “Ambassador of Bliss,” we made our way 18 miles north to the historic Bonnet House Museum and Garden. Proposals and weddings under an outdoor tent, beside the pretty pond, or among the palms provide a romantic outdoor option to the beach.
This magical spot, an early 20th century artist’s studio and plantation estate, is tucked away on its own secluded natural barrier island in a very special tranquil setting that must be seen.
More Dining Options
Add an attractive outdoor setting to great food, drinks, and service to produce just the right atmosphere at two highly popular Fort Lauderdale restaurants. Brides-to-be will want to know about Louie Bossi’s Italian Ristorante Bar Pizzeria for its charming Tuscan-inspired rear patio complete with a bocce court.
At Shooters Waterfront with outdoor dining smack dab on the Intracoastal, the landmark restaurant has been a top choice since 1982. Gather round a fire pit under a string of twinkling lights to sip on a watermelon mint cooler or pull up dockside in a private yacht for an unforgettable bridal entrance.
Because lazy lounging before Sunday brunch is always the stuff of dreams, GG’s Waterfront Bar & Grill is only just down the street from The Diplomat Beach resort. Indulge in an over-the-top buffet before retreating to a poolside Trina Turk signature cabana back at The Diplomat.
The Diplomat Beach Resort
3555 South Ocean Drive
Hollywood, FL 33019
Note: The author was a guest of The Diplomat Beach Resort and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau; she received no financial incentives and all views expressed are her own.
A career-long tourism, destination, hotel sales and marketing pro, Laurie Jo Miller Farr is a dedicated urbanite who loves walkable cities and has a knack for always finding the best public restrooms. As a San Francisco-based travel and copywriter, she enjoys views from its crazy signature hills following half-a-lifetime promoting her dual hometowns, a couple of oh-so-flat places: NYC and London. Her work is found online at USA Today, Yahoo, Eater, CBS, Where Traveler, and more. She tweets @ReferencePlease and posts on Instagram @lauriejmfarr.