For A Golf Theme Wedding, You Can't Beat The Renaissance Resort At World Golf Villageby Norm Goldman - Watercolors by Lily Azerad-Goldman -- www.sketchandtravel.com
The invitation sounded intriguing. The Renaissance Resort At World Golf Village, located in St. Augustine, Florida, had asked us to visit their unique property that apparently is a hot spot as a wedding destination.
The first question that came to mind was what would differentiate this 301 room & suite resort from all of the others that boast having golf courses in their backyard?
Well, to begin with, this is a resort where you really feel the pulse of golf as a living and breathing sport, as it is adjacent to the PGA's official showplace of golf, the World Golf Hall Of Fame.
Located 12 miles south of Jacksonville on I-95 it has recently been named to Golf Digest magazine's prestigious list of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in North America. Golf mavens no doubt are familiar with its two 18-hole championship golf courses, The King & The Bear- the only golf course in the world designed jointly by "The King, " Arnold Palmer and "The Bear, " Jack Nicklaus. The Slammer & The Squire was inspired by Sammy Snead, known as "The Slammer, " and Gene "the Squire" Sarazen.
Admittedly, my wife and I are not much of golf enthusiasts. However, strolling along the Walk of Champions, we were very impressed with the signatures of all of the members of the Hall of Fame engraved in granite plaques along the pathways.
As we looked at some of the exhibits on display in the Hall of Fame, we commented that it certainly seems a world away from as far back as the 15th century when golf was discovered in the Kingdom of Fife, on the East Coast of Scotland. It all began when a group of men wearing kilts decided to hit pebbles with a stick down a rabbit track, around sand dunes, and along other natural parts of scenery in the area. Little did they know that the sport would take off!
While giving us the grand tour of the resort, Julie Tarner, Social Catering Manager and certified wedding planner at the Renaissance Resort, pointed out to us that the Renaissance often works hand in hand with the Hall of Fame. Notwithstanding that both are distinct entities, there is no need to deal separately with each venue. Julie or one of her co-workers can take care of all of your wedding arrangements in both venues.
With this in mind, we began to realize the multitude of possibilities available. With a little creativity combined with the expertise of the resort`s personnel, you certainly can come up with a very distinctive wedding.
As an example, one favorite venue is the Hall of Fame's Tower Shrine-a soaring minaret memorializing the enshrined members of the Hall of Fame. The tower rises 191 feet above the Village and contains a chandelier made up of a 162 lead crystal prisms simulating the arc of a golf swing. As new members are inducted into the Hall of Fame, a prism is dedicated to them denoted by the engraved stainless steel disks on the floor. A most dramatic setting for a wedding ceremony! This venue can be combined with a reception in one of the hotel's banquet facilities, making for a delightful event.
If you prefer, you can celebrate in the hotel's atrium area with its garden atmosphere for both the ceremony and reception. And for something different in entertainment, how about throwing in a private showing at the IMAX® Theater situated adjacent to the Hall of Fame and the resort? The theater seats 300 and rentals include a choice of showings, special event supervision, security and custodial services. If you really have a huge party, there is the Hall of Fame courtyard that can accommodate up to 1000.
Other possible venues include the special exhibit area known as The Gallery where you can host a dinner reception for up to 100 guests, the trophy room and other areas around the outside of the property. Again, you can combine the ceremony in one venue with the reception in one of the hotel's banquet rooms.
Of particular note is that there is no shortage of activities to keep your guests unwound and occupied during the few days they will be attending your celebrations. You have, for example, the complex's Island Challenge Hole permits participants to hit a ball onto a green that is modeled after one of the famous Signature Holes played by the pros. There is even a prize for making a hole in one that comprises a 2 day / 1 night stay at the World Golf Village Renaissance Resort Hotel and a round of golf for two at The Slammer and The Squire golf course. Or if you wish, you can even offer your own prizes. There is also the lighted all grass 18-hole Putting Course, complete with bunkers.
An atmosphere of warmth and quiet refinement pervades throughout the Renaissance with its spacious accommodations that includes its 24-hour health club and sauna, a fitness center,