Having your wedding at Sunken Gardens is a unique experience.

Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg FL is a roadside attraction that is over 100 years old. It’s called “Sunken Gardens” because the man who originally purchased the land drained a lake that was below sea level and then planted it with a beautiful garden (I’ve lived here 20 years and just learned that!). It holds a special place in the hearts of people in the area because it’s one of the few remaining “roadside attractions” from “old Florida.” I have worked there several times on weddings and portrait sessions and it’s always a delight because I first visited Sunken Gardens when I came here on vacation as a child so for me it’s always been “Florida” in my mind.

The Wedding Venue at Sunken Gardens

Many people don’t realize that you can get married at Sunken Gardens. There is a beautiful area for an outside ceremony, surrounded by lush greenery and flowers. You would never know that you are in the heart of the city. There’s also a building for the reception, beautifully restored, that has been on the property for almost 100 years (it’s been a Coca-Cola bottler and a wax museum!). The gardens and the building were purchased by the City of St. Petersburg in 1999 and restored. Now the ground floor is a children’s museum and the top floor is a venue space perfect for weddings.

Ashleigh and Casey’s Wedding

I’ve known Ashleigh for a while. Every year I travel to Orlando to help out a fellow photographer with a very big job. We photograph a High School graduation ceremony for home-schoolers. Ashleigh and I are behind the stage doing all the “cap and gown” portraits. I was delighted when she asked me to be her wedding photographer.

Sunken Gardens was the perfect place for this couple. Both are gentle souls, environmentally conscious and great lovers of nature. The wedding was scheduled for sunset in the garden.

One of the tricky things about outdoor weddings is dealing with the changing lighting. The sun is setting during the ceremony, which means constantly adapting to those conditions. Then, after the ceremony when you do all the group portraits you lose all your light completely which means you have to know how to set up portrait lighting on location and get it done quickly because the reception starts soon! If you are thinking of getting married at Sunken Gardens, make sure your photographer has plenty of experience in this sort of situation.

We ended up with over 400 great images from the day. As always, I’m only posting about 40 in this post to give you an idea of what the day was like but I’m happy to show you everything if you are planning to get married at Sunken Sardens.