Officially known as The Ancient Monastery St. Bernard de Clairvaux, the Ancient Spanish Monastery is probably the best historical site to have a garden wedding and wedding reception in South Florida. This Miami Spanish Monastery is the oldest building in the western hemisphere. Many brides every year celebrate their special wedding day at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami. The Spanish Monastery serves as a tourist attraction, a historical landmark, a place for weddings and other events, and an active Episcopal church. The Ancient Spanish Monastery is mystically hidden in the heart of the busy downtown area of North Miami Beach, located behind a shopping center and tennis courts.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery in Miami carries a long history with it. It was originally erected in 1141 in Segovia, Spain between 1133 to 1141 when it was named the Monastery of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels. After the canonization of the famous Cistercian Monk, Bernard Clairvaux, it was named in his honor. Cistercian monks then occupied the monastery for nearly seven centuries.
Due to a social revolution in the 1830's, the monastery's cloisters were sold and were used for storage. In 1925, the wealthy William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters and the monastery's surrounding buildings. Hearst had experts make precise diagrams of monastery, and to disassemble, number, and carefully package with hay each stone in crates to be sent to the United States. Unfortunately, upon arrival in the U.S. and due to a hoof-and-mouth disease scare, all the numbered crates were opened, the stones washed, the hay burned because of fear of contamination, and the stones were then haphazardly returned to the crates and shipped to a warehouse in Brooklyn. Due to Hearst's financial problems, most of the pieces of the monastery had to be auctioned off. Due to the disorganization of the stones and the stock market crash of 1929, the stones remained in Brooklyn for 26 years.
After Hearst's death in the mid 1950's, Raymond Moss and William Edgemon bought the Spanish Monastery and shipped the boxes to a small nursery site in northern Miami-Dade County. It took several years to sort out the pieces and put the monastery back together again.
The Ancient Spanish Monastery is a perfect site for weddings and receptions. It contains a beautiful, wedding chapel with a capacity of 125 people, and many outdoor spots for perfect garden weddings like the Banyan Tree, the Prayer Well, the French Alter, and more.