The ultimate guide to Tampa Bay wedding and elopement venues

Location. Location. Location. Aside from the photographer, the venue, or location that you choose to have your wedding, is one of the most important decisions to make in the wedding planning process. A good venue or location can be a catalyst for further inspiration or planning; whereas a bad location can be a burden that has to be “planned around.” In many ways, your venue is a canvas for the wedding masterpiece that you are creating. If you don’t have a good canvas, you likely will not have a good painting.

I have been photographing weddings and elopements in the Tampa Bay area for approximately four years. During that time, I have had the honor of photographing at a variety of locations and I have developed a list of venues/locations that I believe provide the best “canvas” for your wedding. This list focuses on outdoor locations – beaches, parks, and all-inclusive venues. I will provide you my personal input, including their individual strengths and unique offerings.

Knotted Roots on the Lake
Location: Land ‘O Lakes, FL
Price Range: $4600 +
Strengths: There is nothing more romantic than a sunset wedding set against a wooded lake. Not only is the venue beautiful, it’s also practical in that it offers a site for both the ceremony and reception, as well as separate areas for the bride and groom to get ready. This separates itself from other outdoor venues – such as beaches and parks – as many of these locations are beautiful and include water – but lack in practicality. As Knotted Roots is an all-inclusive venue, it also makes the planning process easier, as the couple is able to choose from a variety of preferred vendors (myself included), who have been vetted specifically for their individual skills/abilities.
Unique Offerings: Separate bride/groom suite (mentioned above); a private dock (perfect for photos); parking specifically for the venue; partnership with skilled vendors; wedding coordinators.

Philippe Park
Location: Safety Harbor, FL
Price Range: $150 +
Strengths: I frequently utilize Philippe Park for engagement photos, in addition to weddings. The park is draped in luscious trees and overhanging branches, in addition to neighboring the Gulf. This provides a variety of backgrounds for the ceremony and photos. Although open to the public, it never appears to be overly crowded (as opposed to some beach locations) and offers a variety of pavilions for use.
Unique Offerings: brick pathways (handicap accessible); oak trees; historic landmark; 122 acres (one of the larger locations on this list).

Indian Rocks Beach
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Price Range: Free (for the venue)
Strengths: A public permit is not required for groups under 50, thereby making it one of the more affordable options on this list. Although it is a public beach, it is large in size, consisting of 27 public beach accesses/parks. The beaches are well-maintained, and due to its large size, there is the appearance of fewer beach-goers, as visitors are more spread out. Overall, I have been able to capture many beautiful sunset weddings on the Gulf, leading to cherished memories and photos.
Unique Offerings: budget-friendly; positioned next to a variety of hotels and restaurants; affordable beach parking.

Honeymoon Island
Location: Dunedin, FL
Price Range: $699+
Strengths: Honeymoon Island was one of the first beaches my wife and I fell in love with when we moved to Florida. It has the feeling of seclusion and privacy with all of the luxuries of a state park. Consisting of more than four miles of beach, Honeymoon Island is a paradise of white sand, gentle waves, and natural beach foliage. It is also well-maintained, as it is a State Park, and has fully assessable facilities and pavilions.
Unique Offerings: rock formations (perfect for photos and backdrops); wedding packages available (starting at $699); casual beach fare.