On Sunday, September 15th, Palmetto Bay re-opened Thalatta Estate Park with a Bridal Expo event. It had been closed the last three months for building renovations.
Thankfully, the early rain abated allowing nearly 25 vendors to showcase their services.
The Village was also able to show off their improvements of the event venue.
Mayor Shelley Stanczyk (right) and Parks Director Fanny Carmona (left) made opening remarks. "We welcome you to this great venue, which not only has weddings, but also is host to art shows and school performances," said Stanczyk.
Acquired in 2005 and opened in 2010, Thalatta Estateconsists of two buildings from 1925 and amazing grounds that stretch from Old Cutler Road to Biscayne Bay. It is one of the few parks in South Florida that provide public access to the Bay
While some Palmetto Bay residents debate whether Thalatta should be used as a private event venue, there is no question the renovations greatly enhance the main building interior. Director of Parks Fanny Carmona explained, "We've created a beautiful full bath bridal suite, extended and enhanced the water view balcony...
...added an education/meeting room where we'll have dozens of public education sessions each year...
and created a historical room where people can see photos and historical pieces from the original house, including an elevator compartment."
Stanczyk said, "The renovation makes the park public-ready and helps preserve this historic site. We've come a long way in our park system's evolution and this takes us to a new level of Village quality of life. Beyond that, we try to be fiscally prudent with our parks. Each of our parks has some level of rental spaces. This one happens to have an amazing wedding venue component."
Susie Casal, owner of Susie Life Events, was on-hand to sell her event planning skills. "Thalatta is a wonderful value-price venue. It is stunning with gorgeous water vistas and the Village staff is dedicated to making things happen."
Donna Jonas, who lives by The Falls, was at the Bridal Expo with her smartphone in hand. She used Skype to send live video back to her son Brian Jay and fiancee Leslie Anderson in New York City. "The kids wanted an outdoor wedding and they loved the lawn and views of Biscayne Bay. They picked Thalatta for those reasons and its overall beauty. The renovations do afford the bride a great dressing room, but its the outdoors that make Thalatta so compelling." Donna also mentioned that Thalatta was more affordable than other area venues.
Donna was not alone. I met more than a dozen families that had or were just about to book Thalatta for their wedding. There is no questioning the popularity of Thalatta, as there are bookings well into 2015 already.