Anna Maria Island is one of the top beach wedding destinations in the entire country. Countless couples tie the knot here every year, whether they plan a huge celebration or a simple elopement on the sand.
But the island is actually quite small. While there are numerous public beaches on the island, there are only a few proper wedding venues to compare and consider when planning your dream seaside wedding.
Here’s our list of the best Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues (the only AMI wedding venues), and tips for choosing the ideal location for your big day.
AMI Wedding Venue Overview
- The Beach House Restaurant
- The Grand Pavillion at The Sandbar
- Gulf Drive Café
- Buttonwood Bay at Mar Vista
- Waterline Villas and Marina
- Plan a simple ceremony on the beach
- Vacation rental
- DIY beach elopement
The Beach House
The Beach House Restaurant Anna Maria Island Wedding Venue
When searching for wedding venues Anna Maria Island has to offer, will be one of the first to pop up. It's a very popular beach wedding venue here on AMI.
The wedding venue itself is The Sunset Deck at Beach House Restaurant. It offers one of the largest beachfront decks in Florida, allowing your wedding celebration to seamlessly move from the beach to the deck, indoors and outdoors.
Your ceremony will take place on the sugary-white sands near the water, and you’ll cross a beautiful wooden bridge as you walk down the aisle.
Your ceremony will take place in a covered, climate-controlled dining area for maximum comfort while still maintaining perfect views of the beach the whole time since you’re only two steps away from the sand. Oh, and since this is technically a restaurant on the beach, the fresh-caught seafood options are delicious, and the staff is super professional.
No wonder this is the most in-demand venue on the island.
The Grand Pavillion at The Sandbar
The Sandbar Restaurant Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues
The Sandbar is another one of the most popular Anna Maria Island beach wedding venues. The Grand Pavillion at The Sandbar is a covered pavilion right on the sand. It's a bit less modern and formal than The Beach House but is perfect for couples that like authentic, tropical experiences.
Unlike the Beach House, this pavilion is completely open-air and not connected to the main restaurant. But it’s the absolutely perfect spot to eat, drink, and enjoy the sunset with all your friends and family.
The sea grape trees and dune grass surrounding the Pavillion create an intimate, tropical vibe, and of course, the views of the beach are unobstructed. And you can fit up to 180 guests under the pavilion.
Both this venue and the Beach House offer a bridal suite to get ready for the day. And both this venue and the Beach House (along with Mar Vista, listed below), are run by the same company (Chiles Hospitality Events).
Gulf Drive Café
Gulf Drive Café is another restaurant that offers a private, secluded beach wedding venue as well. Their private stretch of beach faces the Gulf of Mexico, of course. So your ceremony will be just as gorgeous as any other venue on this list.
The reception venue at Gulf Drive Café is an open-air tiki hut. It’s rustic, fun, and very beachy. It’s a lot more casual than the two venues above.
There are a few options when reserving this rental space. For larger weddings (between 30 and 150 people), you’ll use the Sunset Tikit Hut, which is very spacious and laid with brick flooring (still open air). For smaller weddings, you can choose either their Seaside Tikit Hut or the Seastar Stands areas.
The Seaside Tiki Hut can accommodate up to 25 guests and allows you and your guests to dine with feet in the sand. There is one large dining table under the hut, ensuring an intimate reception.
Seaside Sands is a small, private beach area with numerous smaller tiki huts. Each smaller hut features a table and can seat around 5 guests. (Seaside Sands is also included if you rent out the largest tiki hut).
The downside is that there isn’t a bridal suite available here, so you’ll need to get ready offsite and arrive fully prepared for your ceremony.
Buttonwood Bay at Mar Vista
Buttonwood Bay at Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub is technically on Longboat Key, the next island over from AMI. But it’s one tiny bridge away, so many people lump this in with AMI wedding venues.
The restaurant and wedding venue sits on the east side of the island, facing Sarasota Bay (the intercoastal waters) and not the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s still every bit as beautiful, and there’s a lot more greenery and trees, creating a very unique feel here, compared with other venues on this list. It boasts an ‘Old Florida’ vibe, which makes for some stunning wedding photos.
Your ceremony will take place on the lawn overlooking the bay. There is a narrow stretch of sand, but it’s nowhere near as much “beach space” as the other venues of Anna Maria.
If you want to add some beach photos after your ceremony, you can definitely take a 2-minute drive to the west side of the island for beach photos. This venue is actually right by Beer Can Island (Gibby Point), which is a favorite destination for bridge and groom photos on the picturesque, quiet beach.
What’s unique about this venue is the private dock. Guests or your wedding party can arrive at or depart from the dock for a grand entrance. Or, you can make your final getaway as a married couple by leaving on a boat from the dock.
Lastly, this venue offers a catch-and-cook special. You can bring in your own fresh-caught fish from the morning to have prepared and cooked for your wedding reception. This would be the perfect idea for a groom and his friends to get out in the morning before the ceremony.
Waterline Villas and Marina
Waterline Villas and Marina is a new wedding venue on Anna Maria Island. This luxury resort is part of Autograph Collection Hotels (Marriott) and is absolutely stunning.
It faces the intercoastal waters as opposed to the Gulf of Mexico and has a marina where the wedding party can make their grand entrance from a boat. Although they aren’t on the beach, you can still work with them to plan a ceremony on the beach. It will require guests to shuttle between the beach and the resort where your reception will be.
Alternatively, you can have your ceremony on the resort property, with the marina in the background. And numerous reception locations are available, including indoors or outdoors. This is the only venue on the island with onsite accommodation for you and your guests.
All Natural Anna Maria Island FL Wedding Venues; The Sand
Yes, you can get married right on the white, powdery sand beaches without actually using a wedding venue. This option can be more affordable, but it only provides you with a ceremony on the sand, not a reception location.
You’ll need a beach wedding permit in order to do this. The most common method of planning a DIY wedding on the beach is to work with a company (like AMI Beach Weddings), that will take care of all the details for you.
They’ll take care of the permit, and they’ll set up chairs and decor, including an arbor or backdrop of your choice. They have a few different packages to choose from, but in general, they all include a licensed wedding officiant, flowers, and a coordinator to make planning simple.
They generally include photography in their packages (which makes me sad), but you’ll only get an hour of photography at your ceremony, no other portrait sessions, or photos of your reception (if you have one).
If you want to hose a reception, you’ll have to plan that elsewhere. There are a couple of Anna Maria Island wedding reception venues available, such as The Neptune Room, or a few of the local restaurants.
Many smaller wedding parties will do so at their AMI vacation rental, assuming they have space in the backyard to have a celebration. If you do go this route, your wedding coordinator can recommend other options as well, such as restaurants with private rooms, hotels, etc.
There are other beach wedding companies in the area, and prices can vary widely. Feel free to compare options.
Use a Vacation Rental as your Anna Maria Island Wedding Venue
If you’re planning to have a tiny wedding, you may have the option of getting married at your vacation rental. However, you’ll need to find a rental that is spacious enough for the occasion, and you’ll need to ask for permission from the host/owner ahead of time.
All these rentals are on residential streets, and the island does its best to protect the peace and quiet of the neighborhoods. So there are strict rules regarding noise, parties, and parking. But it’s definitely an option to consider for intimate weddings.
DIY Beach Elopement
Not every couple is looking to host a large wedding. And not every couple is looking to invite guests at all.
If you want the simplest option for getting married on the beaches of Anna Maria Island, you can plan a DIY elopement right on the sand, without having to reserve any Anna Maria Island FL wedding venues.
If you aren’t inviting very many guests, and you won’t be setting up chairs or decor, you can have your elopement on the sand without a permit or without paying fees. In this case, you’d just be a few people standing on the beach, talking, holding hands, and kissing, which are all normal activities for beachgoers.
For more information on beach elopements here in Florida, check out this guide.
Nearby Beach Wedding Destinations
Yes, Anna Maria Island is the perfect destination for your beach wedding. But if you can’t quite find the perfect venue, or if your desired dates aren’t available, there are other beaches nearby that have incredible venues as well.
Cortez Dockside Cottages sits on the bay, facing Anna Maria Island. It’s a brand new wedding venue on the water, featuring renovated, rustic cabins originally built in the 1930s, a dock for boat parking, and amenities for up to 24 guests. An old boathouse was converted into a wraparound bar, which will be a hit for your guests to enjoy.
Weddings here can accommodate up to 100 guests, and as many as 32 guests can stay overnight in the cottages.
There are also numerous beach resorts on Longboat Key and Lido Key for all-inclusive wedding packages. And then there’s Siesta Key, which rivals Anna Maria Island in terms of popularity for beach weddings, a little further south.
To the north of AMI, you have the beach venues of St Pete and Clearwater (which are plentiful as well). Pretty much, if you’re in the greater Tampa Bay area, including Manatee and Sarasota County, you’ll have a plethora of options for seaside weddings.
Capture the Perfect Photos at these Anna Maria Island Wedding Venues
Whichever one of these Anna Maria Island wedding venues you choose, it’s going to be stunning. There’s no bad spot to get married on this island.
If you want to capture and preserve the memories of your beautiful beach wedding, I would be honored to photograph your big day.
My name is Kelsey Jaeger, and I live just a few moments away from AMI. I spend A LOT of time here taking photos, so I’m very comfortable capturing the best images using natural light (especially during the sunset).
I can’t wait to hear from you about your wedding day. You can head here to read more about wedding photography on the island.
Otherwise, you can go straight to my contact form here to send me a message.