Discover Historic Elegance at a Villa Zorayda Museum Wedding

Wedding Venue

Newlyweds stand on a grassy lawn in the garden of the villa zorayda museum wedding venue

In the heart of St. Augustine, The Villa Zorayda Museum wedding venue stands as a testament to the opulence and innovation of an era gone by. It’s a beacon of the Gilded Age and a celebration of cultural intrigue from across the globe. It also happens to be an incredibly unique venue for an unforgettable wedding. Let me tell you more about it! 

About The Villa Zorayda Museum Wedding Venue

83 King St, St. Augustine, Florida 32084

The Villa Zorayda was originally built as a Gilded Age home back in 1883 by Franklin W. Smith, a wealthy hardware merchant, architect, and traveler. In his travels, Smith fell in love with the design of Spanish architecture and decided to bring a taste of the exotic home to St. Augustine. Villa Zorayda was not only inspired by Spanish architecture – it was actually replicated after the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. Smith used a variety of innovative construction techniques that eventually inspired other area architects like Henry Flagler, who used similar methods to build parts of the Ponce de Leon Hotel. 

After 20 years as a residence, Villa Zorayda became the Zorayda Club, a restaurant and social club where prominent guests could gather to dine, dance, and socialize. After Smith’s death, it was sold to Abraham Mussallem, a Lebanese immigrant, who transformed the club into a gambling club and Speakeasy in the 1920s. The Mussallem family then decided to use it as a residence once more before opening it as a museum in 1933. 

Generations of the Mussallem family operated The Villa Zorayda Museum in the decades following, showcasing not only the building’s extraordinary architecture but also their family’s curated art collections. In the year 2000, the museum closed and underwent an extensive 8-year renovation before reopening in 2008. Today, guests can tour the museum and take in the magnificent feats of architecture and design – or use the space for a breathtaking wedding! 

Newlyweds kiss while leaning on a concrete wall

Details of the Grounds

The Villa Zorayda is a gorgeous venue for a spectacular vow exchange. At this time, the space can only be used for wedding ceremonies, as they don’t have the space or capacity to accommodate a reception. It can still be an impactful “wow” factor for the start of a celebration, however, with a reception to follow at another nearby St. Augustine venue! 

The Villa Zorayda Museum is great for intimate elopements or ceremonies with up to 60 guests. You’ll say “I do” in the heart of the museum, surrounded by elegant columns and horseshoe arches with brass hanging lamps. Colorful stained glass windows and rich paint colors accentuate the space, adding pops of historic personality. Two stories of historic and worldly design details will surround you and your guests as you exchange your vows in a one-of-a-kind ceremony. 

Photography Opportunities

The Villa Zorayda Museum lends itself to beautifully ornate portraits full of texture, color, and style. From intricate stone carvings to bold tiles and soft, romantic drapery, it’s a beautiful space for unique portraits. Details like the grand mahogany staircase and the detailed balustrade railing on the second-floor mezzanine are all fabulous for intimate couple shots, and there is plenty of space around for family and party photos, too. Outdoors, the exterior of the museum is a fabulous and unique photo backdrop, a beacon of the building’s remarkable Moorish architecture and Spanish influence. 

Newlyweds lean in for a kiss at their villa zorayda museum wedding

Wedding Details

With a space as already ornate and beautiful as the Villa Zorayda Museum, you won’t need to bring in much decor to create visual intrigue. Plus, without vendors to coordinate, like catering, bartending, and entertainment, there aren’t a ton of rules you’ll need to accommodate. Be sure to contact their events team to see what comes with your ceremony and also what you’ll need to provide from outside vendors for your wedding day. 

You Will Love Planning A Totally Unique Villa Zorayda Museum Wedding

A Villa Zorayda Museum wedding is a unique celebration of both your love and a remarkable piece of St. Augustine’s history. It’s a wonderful place to exchange your vows and celebrate your commitment to one another. I would love to be your wedding photographer and help you put every beautiful and ornate detail of this venue to use in photos that will be as unique as your love story. 

But for more stunning St. Augustine wedding venues, stop by the blog links below! Then reach out today to chat about your dream wedding photos! So we can start planning your special day.