Location Scout: Sarasota, Florida
Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Sarasota, Florida
Once the winter home of circus impresario John Ringling (the name means "John's House" in Venetian dialect), this 1920s Venetian-Gothic-style villa was the romantically crumbling backdrop for the 1998 film "Great Expectations." Today, fully restored, it’s a museum and a scene-stealing wedding site, where you can tie the knot on the bay-front terrace.
If Ca' d'Zan has captured your imagination (and really, how could it not?), enlist these local ideas to infuse your celebration with fun.
Spain hits the Sunshine State at Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant, a lively place with great paellas. For a party that's "buenisimo," rent the Flamenco Lounge, which has a stage for toasts and performances.
Score unique finds at Sarasota Architectural Salvage -- think vintage bottles you can fill with flowers or an antique table for an escort card display. Everything's for sale, but they're happy to rent items, too.
Ca' d'Zan requires that groups clear out by 11 p.m. Since the night is still young, reserve the nearby Ritz-Carlton's Ca' d'Zan Lounge to keep the good times rolling. With rooms from $209, the hotel is also a swell place to stay.