Sunken Gardens weddings in St. Petersburg, Florida, are in a tropical garden with a rich history. It’s the city’s oldest living museum, boasting 100-year-old tropical plants. This botanical paradise, created by George Turner, Sr. in 1903 and nurtured by his family for generations, offers a escape in the heart of a bustling city. Designated a Local Historic Landmark in 1998 and acquired by the city in 1999 for preservation, it provides a private, tranquil setting for your big day. Not only is it stunning with its lush plants and ponds, but it’s also super convenient for guests, being close to hotels, museums, and entertainment.
Everything in this article is written based on information from the venue itself, and my 8 years of experience as a destination wedding photographer.
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What I love about Sunken Gardens weddings as a Photographer
Sunken Gardens in St. Pete really stands out as a spot that’s both super convenient and impressively beautiful. It’s like a hidden gem right in the middle of everything, with its own private gardens and hassle-free parking. The place has this cool, tropical vibe that feels like you’ve stepped into another world – think lush trees and there are actual flamingos adding pops of color. From a photography standpoint, it’s a dream. There’s plenty of light filtering through the trees, but also enough shade to keep everyone comfortable. It’s just a perfect, laid-back setting for anyone wanting a wedding that feels both easy-going and unique.
This venue is ideal for both full weddings and intimate elopements.
Why You’ll Love This Venue
According to guest reviews, Sunken Gardens is a hit for weddings, thanks to its stunning, bloom-filled spaces that cut down on the need for extra decor. The place offers a variety of beautiful spots to celebrate, and the staff are super helpful and make planning stress-free, even from afar. While there are a few extra rules due to it being a city-owned spot, it’s still really accommodating. Plus, it’s very affordable and usually has great weather, especially in November. In short, it’s an all-around favorite for an easy, beautiful wedding.
History of the St Pete Sunken Gardens
In 1903, a plumber named George Turner, Sr. snagged six acres of land that eventually turned into the famous Sunken Gardens. George and his family spent three generations shaping this cool tropical garden with its chill ponds. With a whole century of history, the place was recognized as a Local Historic Landmark in 1998. Then, in 1999, the City of St. Petersburg decided to buy the gardens. They wanted to keep this historic garden around for everyone to enjoy and to use it for cultural and educational tourism.
Sunken Gardens Wedding Ceremony and Reception Locations
The maximum capacity for weddings at the Sunken Gardens is 200 guests, but capacity will vary depending on the areas you rent. The following locations are the areas you have available to rent.
The Oak Pavilion is the most intimate outdoor location, maxing out at 64 guests. It’s nestled under this huge 250-year-old oak tree, making it feel like you’ve stepped into another world or some kind of magical hideaway.
Garden Room Reception
The Garden Room is a vintage indoor space that dates back to 1926. It’s got a cool loft style, with classic hardwood floors, metal beams, and tall wood ceilings – awesome for receptions. Plus, there are these private get-ready rooms where you and your bridal party can relax and prep in total comfort before the ceremony.
Outside, you’ve got the North Lawn and the Wedding Lawn to choose from. If you go for the Wedding Lawn, there’s even an option to pop up a big tent. It’s perfect for adding a bit more oomph to your day and keeping any unexpected weather at bay.
Included Amenities for Weddings at Sunken Gardens St Pete
At Sunken Gardens, every rental comes with some sweet perks. You’ll have the chosen ceremony and reception spaces all to yourself in the evening. They’ve got you covered with on-site tables, chairs, and furnishings, so you won’t have to sweat the small stuff. There’s a dressing room for getting all dolled up, attended parking to keep things smooth for your guests, and a venue and maintenance crew on hand to make sure everything’s looking top-notch.
Estimated cost of a wedding at Sunken Gardens
Venue rentals at the Sunken Gardens for weddings begin at $4,500 and can go all the way up to $25,500 according to pricing guide found here. For more information, I would get a direct quote from the venue at the Sunken Gardens website.
Sunken Gardens Wedding FAQ
Can we choose our own caterers?
You are required to select from the Sunken Gardens’ approved catering list. No food other than the wedding cake is allowed unless provided by an approved caterer.
Who provides bar services?
Alcoholic Beverages must be purchased through Sunken Gardens directly.
Is there parking on site?
Complimentary in Sunken Gardens’ parking lot and an attendant is provided. Valet services however can be provided with a fee.
What is the backup policy for Rain?
If you have rented the Garden Room, you may hold the ceremony within the reception set-up.
Are receptions allowed in the gardens?
Yes, evening outdoor receptions with a Tent on the Wedding Lawn are allowed (see Outdoor Wedding Reception rates sheet).
Are there decorating restrictions?
The following items will not be permitted when decorating the walls, floor, ceiling or stages: bolts, screws, nails, staples, scotch tape, electric tape, duct tape and glue. Crepe paper is not allowed. Glitter is not permitted on tables or floors. SG will not furnish ladders or linens for decorating.
Can you do a sparkler exit at the Sunken Gardens?
No, in an effort to preserve the beauty and history of Sunken Gardens, the following items are prohibited at Sunken Gardens: Bird seed, confetti, fireworks, glitter, rice, sparklers, torches, or any open flames. Any item not listed must be pre-approved by management if being considered.