How to Plan Your Beach Wedding in Florida

Beach weddings in Florida are by far the most popular of all destination weddings, partly because the coastline stretches from the Georgia border on the Atlantic Ocean to Alabama on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida coastline is nearly 1200 miles long, some 50% more than California’s. Because the Florida climate is ideal for a beach wedding almost all year long (except for those unpredictable summer hurricanes that can impact everyone from Mexico to Maine), it’s difficult to find a beach site that wouldn’t be a splendid place for a spectacular wedding.

In considering which of hundreds of potential beaches to site your wedding ceremony, keep in mind the nearest airports, accommodations and “civilization” (caterers, wedding cake bakers, musicians, photographers, and restaurants to provide for your guests before and after the wedding itself). Also, think about whether it is important to be on the beach at particular times of the day (such as sunset) and where the sun is likely to be at that time.

So, explore! Enjoy! And relax!

 All the best,
Sarah Forrester

Location. Location. Location.
The two coasts are vastly different, so it’s all going to boil down to what’s most important to you and your guests.  The waves on the Atlantic are usually much higher than they are on the Gulf, but the Gulf is very shallow for a considerable distance out. The water around the keys is known to be crystal clear.

In the 6 panels below are links to  32 splendid public beaches in Florida that would be great for weddings. Some are near major cites and others are more isolated. Check out the links.

In general, larger cities and towns are going to have more choices of hotels, motels, and bed & breakfast inns (as well as restaurants, bars, and entertainment for your guests) than remote locales. But don’t avoid considering those remote beaches. They are often far less populated, which will give you more privacy and fewer worries about gawkers and potential party-crashers.

Some municipalities and will require you obtain a special permit in order to hold your wedding on their beaches. They may also require you to show proof of liability coverage before issuing a permit. The permits are generally very modest in price, but vary widely among communities (starting at $0.00).

Florida Legal Requirements
Florida requires that you have picture ID such as a driver’s license and your Social Security card or a valid passport number or I-94 card. You may be asked for a certified copy of your birth certificate. You do not have to be a Florida resident to obtain a marriage license here.

If you have been previously married, the date of your divorce or your spouse’s death must be supplied. If these occurred within the past 30 days, a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate is required.

There is no waiting period for Florida residents who have both completed a state sanctioned marriage preparation course within the last 12 months. There is a three-day waiting period for Florida residents who have not taken the course.

The license fee is $93.50. Many locales accept credit cards now, but be sure to check with the local county clerk to make sure.  

In addition to clergy, the marriage ceremony can also be performed by a Notary Public.

Because marriage license requirements can change, please do not regard this guidance as legal advice.


Heat & Rain & High Tide
Planning so far in advance for a beach wedding means that you need to arm yourself with facts about the weather (temperature and possibility of precipitation) for the beach location that you have in mind.

Although there certainly are exceptions, when it comes to weather, the past is a pretty good predictor of the future. and it will almost always be better than a wild guess. This link provides historical weather data over nearly 50 years for thousands of locations in the world. 

You won’t want to have the bridal party standing at the water’s edge for the ceremony if the tide’s coming in. But when will that be? Find the time of the high tide for your beach location for any day in 2009  with this link.

And What If…?
What if a major storm occurs or the groom has an accident that requires the wedding to be postponed or even canceled? What if an important vendor goes out of business before the wedding and you can’t get back your deposit for the cake or the music?

Consider wedding cancellation insurance. It is available online for as little as 1 cent for every dollar of insurance, and it  can cover the honeymoon, too.

Here’s one site that  has designed a special insurance policy just for coverning wedding -related events: 



To help you through the sometimes mind-boggling decisions that you must make,
I discovered an inexpensive and highly readable book that spells everything out for you.
I mean everything! Click here and check it out for yourself!

– Your host, Sarah Forrester

Wedding Secrets

Get my wedding stress reducer! Download my amazing and free Secrets for the Most Affordable and Best Beach Wedding!

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The most popular destination weddings are held on beaches. There are terrific beaches on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts. Each of them can provide a truly memorable setting for your wedding. So many choices!


North Carolina
South Carolina
New Jersey
New York





Southern California
Northern California


Destinations that do not require a US passport for US citizens:
San Juan, Puerto Rico
St.. Croix, Virgin Islands
St. John, Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Although it doesn't boast of a real beach, don't forget that Las Vegas can be a great bargain for a destination wedding.