Congrats on finding THE one! Now the fun begins in planning your fairytale wedding and living happily ever after … if only it were that simple!
First things first, booking the wedding venue. I worked in wedding catering for five years, so I’ve gotten to know the best places in Pensacola. Whether you want to have a water view or a quaint space with character, here are a few of my top suggestions for the best wedding venues to get you one step closer to saying “I do.”
Paul’s on the Bay
If the name didn’t give it away, this spacious venue is located overlooking the beautiful Pensacola Bay. This is one of the larger venues in Pensacola, complete with a scenic terrace that connects to the interior venue, allowing you to have an outside ceremony and enjoy a cocktail hour by the Bay.
I really love the inside of Paul’s on the Bay. There is an antique European-style fireplace, which makes a lovely decoration. The most significant selling point for me is the “groom’s room” where the wedding party can get ready for the big day. Paul’s on the Bay can accommodate 300 guests.
Housed in a historic 1912 building in the heart of downtown Pensacola, Palafox House is a classic example of early 20th-century architecture. I’ve had a few friends get married here, and it ended up being the event of the season!
Palafox House has large windows spanning an entire wall, allowing for a wonderful view of downtown Pensacola’s tree-lined streets. The large windows also make for the best natural lighting, which means incredible photos. High ceilings, chandeliers and original brick walls all add to the ambiance. In addition to the main event space, there is also a smaller space adjacent that houses a built-in bar and reception area.
Palafox House can accommodate groups of 100+ for a sit-down affair and 200+ for a cocktail-style event.
The Hilton Pensacola Beach
Of course, we can’t forget about our most popular destination wedding spot, Pensacola Beach! Hilton Pensacola Beach, a five-acre island resort, has one of the best sunset views over the gorgeous emerald green waters and white sugar sand of the Gulf of Mexico. If by chance you were having mixed feeling about this location, it was named as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Beaches in the United States this year. Pretty neat, huh?
If that hasn’t sold you, I would definitely want to brag about the wedding package services. The Hilton Pensacola Beach has an on-site wedding planner to help you through every part of your dream day, both big and small. They even have all that’s needed as far as chairs, tablecloths, uplighting and more. Basically, they take the hassle out of wedding planning for you…and what wedding guest wouldn’t want to turn a destination wedding into a mini vacation?!
Housed in a historic building in the heart of Downtown Pensacola, 5eleven features beautifully exposed brick on the interior as well as large window areas, providing ideal natural light to illuminate its main meeting space. There is also an adjacent patio and garden with a spacious lawn. You can have the best of both worlds!
This space features a built-in bar and adjacent kitchen area, which is perfect for caterers. 5eleven can accommodate groups of up to 200 inside, with room for another 150 in its outside patio/garden and another 200 on its spacious lawn under tents.
Museum of Commerce
Inside this brick turn-of-the-century warehouse is a reconstructed 1890s era streetscape including historic shops featuring toys, hardware, music, leather goods and more. The inside speaks for itself in that it truly takes little decorating. This is one of my favorite venues because it takes you back in time…perhaps this can be your “something old?”
You can also get the best photos in the antique trolley car. Speaking as a former caterer, I loved being at this space because it was roomy and it had a great setup for food prep with a private kitchen. The museum will accommodate 150 seated guests and 200-250 for cocktails.
Built in 1880, Pensacola's Palafox Wharf was initially a shipping company. The venue features a beautifully renovated interior space, large deck, pier, and spacious lawn overlooking the harbor's marina on Pensacola Bay.
Some of my favorite photos to look at from this historic and elegant venue include the use of the private pier where some brides and grooms have had boats bring them to their wedding reception. The private lawn adjacent to the property is gorgeous, making it easy to have an outside ceremony and walk right on over to the reception.
Palafox Wharf can accommodate 250 guests for strolling receptions inside its venue and about 150 on its deck. With the additional use of lawn tents, it can accommodate up to 350 guests.
Lost Key Golf Club
Just a short drive will take you to Perdido Key. Full of sunsets and pristine beaches, it makes for the perfect island location. Lost Key Golf Club has a new state-of-the-art clubhouse, which in my opinion, is great for a spring wedding. Its event lawn can hold up to 100 people and it has multiple terraces, both screened and open-air. You can set up a tent for dancing outside but still have the option of a partial indoor reception as well. Your wedding definitely will be one for the ages at this location.
Lost Key Golf Club’s Clubhouse can accommodate seating for 50 inside, 50 on the screened terrace, 30 on the open-air terrace and 100 on the event lawn.
Have a unique venue left off this list? Leave a comment below!