If you can’t imagine getting married anywhere but at the beach, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to the Mandalay Beach Resort. The entire complex is built right next to the ocean, with nothing between it and the water but a wide strip of sand. Almost every ceremony here takes place seaside on the Presidential Lawn, a broad semicircle of grass that slopes gently down to the sand. As the bride walks down the aisle, she and her guests can’t help but be uplifted by the setting: a sunlit shoreline dotted with palms, the Channel Islands in the distance, sailboats gliding by and maybe even some dolphins playing in the surf. Presidential Lawn ceremonies also include two nights in a Presidential Suite, a marvelous hideaway that just happens to have two bedrooms, three baths, two Jacuzzi tubs, a fireplace and, of course, a view of the Pacific.
If you prefer a more sheltered spot, tie the knot in the Courtyard, a mission-style garden enclosed by the resort on all sides. While you can’t see the ocean from here, you still have access to plenty of water—the space is dominated by a pair of massive rock waterfalls. Couples exchange vows on a raised lawn, surrounded by palms, flowers and the sound of rushing water.
Receptions are usually held in one of the resort’s two banquet rooms, the Embassy Ballroom upstairs or the larger Mandalay Ballroom on the ground floor. Both are done in sunny tropical shades of vibrant blue, yellow and green; faux-candle, wrought-iron chandeliers and spots provide adjustable lighting. Each room has a long beautiful foyer, where your guests can enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres or linger for a private chat. Tall multipaned windows let in fresh air, and French doors open onto an outdoor terrace.
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