Picture-perfect settings and Southern hospitality make Columbia County, Florida, the destination for the wedding of your dreams. It is a place where history is made, so come create your own history and memories that will last forever.
Here is a guide to planning your wedding in Columbia County.
Where to Celebrate
Columbia County has a variety of venues to match your wedding’s theme, guest size and budget. Its location in north Florida means you can hold your wedding outdoors nearly all year long. Your “something blue” is already there—the sparkling, blue freshwater springs. Columbia County is home to these dazzling natural wonders and some parks offer wedding sites with a view. Ichetucknee Springs State Park has pavilions for rent that can accommodate up to 50 people. At Ginnie Springs, you can have the rehearsal dinner or day-after brunch in one of the open-air pavilions and then enjoy swimming, snorkeling or tubing on the crystal clear Santa Fe River.
With an antebellum mansion and the Suwannee River as a backdrop, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park brings Southern charm to any wedding. Say your vows among stately oak trees, azaleas and camellias or at the River Gazebo that overlooks the water. Honoring the man who wrote Florida’s official state song, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park has indoor and outdoor sites that may be rented for weddings including reception facilities, a caterer’s kitchen and an amphitheater.
The Bridal Fountain at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, FL.
The gently flowing river and Old Florida charm set the scene at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Have your ceremony on the sandy beach along the Suwanee River, then dance the night away in the Grand Hall or Spirit Lodge. The team at Spirit of the Suwannee is experienced in producing professional events and festivals, and they will ensure your wedding is a success. The park has a full-service restaurant on-site as well as a campground and modern cabins available to rent.
Wedding at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, FL.
If your wedding style is low-key and mellow, consider O’Leno State Park. The lush vegetation and historic buildings create an intimate, secluded feel. Walk down the aisle at an outdoor pavilion surrounded by oak, magnolia and cypress trees or at a small rock amphitheater beside the Santa Fe River. The suspension bridge over the river provides a picturesque spot for wedding photos.
A renowned destination for fishing and hunting enthusiasts, Bienville Plantation is now a premier location for weddings. The upscale rustic retreat in White Springs offers five venues, including the dreamy lakeside where the sun glimmers through the pines. Complementing the setting is a gourmet feast. The chefs at Bienville Plantation are classically trained and will tailor the menu to your tastes. If your guests want to stay the night at the plantation, they can book one of the luxury guest cabins.
Wedding at Bienville Plantation, White Springs, FL.
Ease of planning and convenience are a couple of the benefits that come with a wedding at Casa Isabel. It is only five minutes from downtown Lake City. With a double grand staircase and high ceilings in the reception hall, Casa Isabel is waiting for your special touches to make it dreamy for your fairytale wedding. There is a bridal suite on-site, and the team at Casa Isabel can help with selecting local vendors.
If you’re looking for a unique venue, Halpatter Brewing Co. in downtown Lake City has everything on tap for a memorable wedding. Halpatter is Columbia County’s first craft brewery. The industrial-chic event ballroom can accommodate guest lists of varying size, and the iconic brick building is a scenic background for photos. And best of all, you and your guests will enjoy sipping the brewery’s high-quality beers all night.
Ballroom at Halpatter Brewing Co., Columbia County, FL. (Holly Frazier Photography)
Where to Stay
With its location along the main thoroughfares in north Florida, Columbia County has a variety of hotels for you and your guests. You’ll find many of them in and around Lake City. Columbia County is a haven for camping and offers everything from full-service facilities for RVs to primitive campsites, where you can enjoy sleeping under the stars.
Take a tip from Columbia County insiders and stay at one of the area’s state parks. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park has five fully equipped two-bedroom cabins along the Suwannee River with amenities that include kitchens, heating and air conditioner, screened-in porches and fireplaces. Cabins may be booked through the Florida State Parks website.
Stay a while at one of our many secluded cabins.
What to Do
A highlight of any visit to Columbia County is visiting the freshwater springs. With so many swimming areas, you’re never far from the sparkling blue water. Swim, snorkel, dive, canoe, kayak or fish—you have plenty of ways to enjoy Columbia County’s springs.
Whether you are looking for an easy stroll or a more challenging trail, Columbia County has many opportunities for hiking. At Falling Creek Falls, a short walk takes you to a hidden waterfall that plummets 10 feet. Trails through Big Shoals State Park get you up close with Florida’s largest white water rapids. Osceola National Forest has nearly 200,000 acres to explore, with miles of hiking and equestrian trails.
Did you know Florida’s largest Civil War battle took place in Columbia County? You can learn about this Civil War Battle at Olustee Battlefield State Park, located within the Osceola National Forest. Olustee Battlefield State Park was the first designated historical site in the state of Florida and is one of the historical and cultural sites you can visit during your wedding weekend.
If you are searching for a special gift that will remind you of your visit to Columbia County, visit the shops in downtown Lake City. Eclectic boutiques sell souvenirs, art, clothing and more. Columbia County has plenty of brand-name shopping as well, and there are outlet malls nearby.
Ichetucknee Springs Head Spring, one of the areas natural wonders.
Who to Hire
Here are the people and services to help make your big day special.
Holly Frazier Photography
Describing her photography style as simple, classic and natural, Holly Frazier gets to know her couples first to capture the best moments.
Captured Moments by Esta
Esta Eberhardt has been capturing life’s most exciting moments on film since 2011 and was voted Lake City Reporter’s “Best Photographer” four years in a row.
Katrina Drew turned a love of photography into a full-time career and has been featured in bridal magazines and newspapers.
CC’s Flower Villa
Serving Columbia County since 1982, CC’s Flower Villa provides your wedding needs, from bridal bouquets, cake flowers and centerpieces to table design, lighting and ambience.
Sandy’s Flower Shop
With a large inventory of fresh flowers, this Lake City florist is committed to providing the finest arrangements with outstanding customer service.
Cakes and More
Locals rave about the delicious and creative cakes from Joyce Larson in Lake City.
Callista Goos works with couples and event planners to create customized cakes that taste just as good as they look.
Cookies by Ciera
Specializing in royal icing cookies and macaroons, Ciera Cole makes treats that add a sweet touch and are great wedding favors.
With the motto “successful events each and every time,” Imperial Productions offers full-service wedding design and coordination.
Columbia Events & Rentals
Owner and event designer Genovese Terry works with your style and budget to take the stress out of planning your wedding.
Catering for All Occasions
A self-described “true Southern girl,” Tracy Hicks has been catering events for more than 10 years and works closely with clients to make sure she exceeds their expectations.
Laura Fowler Goss Catering
From informal buffets to multi-course plated meals, plus her dazzling fruit displays, Chef Laura customizes menus to match clients’ vision and budget.
Dresses and Formal Wear
Golden Needle Bridal
Founded in 1989, this Lake City boutique offers the latest styles in wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos and formal wear.
OML Bridal & Formal
The trained stylists at OML (Oh My Love) provide one-on-one service to help you find the dress that matches your individual beauty and style.