Planning a Florida Wedding

Cindy and Danchai-269A Florida wedding is unlike any other.  In fact, the sunshine state is the most popular destination wedding site in the contiguous 48 states. Why? Because year-round beautiful weather and endless breathtaking settings make Florida the natural choice for the wedding of your dreams. But in order for you to enjoy the spectacular scenery and abundant amenities offered in this tropical paradise there are a few things you’ll need to take into consideration. Having conducted hundreds of weddings, we can help you navigate the special characteristics of your Florida wedding so that yours will be worry-free.

Weather 

One of the most compelling reasons to host your wedding in Florida is the state’s climate. South Florida temperatures average 82.7 degrees in summer and 68.5 degrees in winter. This makes it possible to conduct an outdoor wedding almost any day of the year. Try that in New York, North Carolina, Illinois, or Texas!

What about hurricanes – those pesky tropical inconveniences? Even though the official hurricane season runs between June 1 and November 30, Florida’s number one travel destination, Walt Disney World, has only closed twice in its 45 year history because of bad weather. Tampa hasn’t seen a major hurricane for the past 95 years.  

  • Tip  Look for bargains! Warm weather usually means lower prices. If you’re planning a summer wedding, you should be able to negotiate significant discounts at nearly all wedding venues. Be sure to ask about them.

Beaches

Florida boasts 633 miles of beaches and 1,350 miles of ocean coastline. 10 of Trip Advisor’s 2016 top 25 best beaches are right here – Clearwater Beach is #1. With their breathtaking sunsets and sugar-white sands, Florida beaches are a wonderful setting for any type of wedding. Popular Gulf Coast beaches ideal for weddings include:

  • Caladesi Island State Park
  • Honeymoon Island State Park
  • Clearwater Beach
  • St. Pete Beach
  • Anna Maria Island
  • Longboat Key
  • Lido Key
  • Boca Grande South
  • Siesta Key
  • Fort Myers Beach
  • Marco Island
  • Boca Ciega
  • Naples

If you are looking for a beach or tropical themed wedding you will find every vendor, venue and service you need on or near a beach.

Travel

Florida is the hottest travel destination on the planet. A new record was set in 2014 when 26 million people visited between January and March alone!  The 19 commercial airports that support local and international tourism make getting in and out of the sunshine state a breeze. But what do you do once you and your guests have landed? Rental cars are fine for getting around, but not on your wedding day.

  • Tip If your wedding, reception and hotel accommodations are spread out over two or three properties you’ll want to consider hiring a coach service (shuttle bus or trolley) for the wedding day and maybe even for the rehearsal too . This extra convenience will insure that your guests are at each event on time, with no worries about driving directions or getting stuck in local traffic.

Guest Accommodations

With 370,000 rooms available you’ll find all major hotel franchises throughout the state and some nationally acclaimed properties that are one-of-a-kind. Clearwater’s Sandpearl Resort, downtown St. Petersburg’s Renaissance Vinoy Hotel and St. Pete Beach’s Loew’s Don Cesar consistency rank in the top 50 worldwide. And there are hundreds of other outstanding properties as well. Every hotel worth it’s salt offers special pricing and incentives for weddings. This may include the entire event conducted on site or simply using the hotel as the preferred housing for your guests with the wedding and reception conducted elsewhere.

Marriage License

In order for your marriage to be legally recognized you will need to purchase a marriage license in Florida. Each state varies in its requirements so be sure that you consult the official Florida Marriage Guide for current, accurate information. Here are some details you’ll want to know now:

  • Marriage licenses are only issued by the Clerk of Court in every county in Florida. You cannot use a marriage license issued by any other state.
  • You may purchase a marriage license in any county and be married in another one.
  • Both you and your fiance must appear in person to apply for and purchase the license. You will need standard forms of identification.
  • For out-of-state parties there is no waiting period between the date the license is issued and your use of it.
  • In-state residents have a 3-day waiting period (with one exception explained below).
  • The marriage license fee for both out-of-state and Florida residents is $93.50. In-state residents who show evidence of the completion of  a state recognized course in pre-marital preparation will receive a $32.50 discount on their license fee. Proof of completion of pre-marital preparation allows Florida residents to use your marriage license immediately, without any waiting period. DeArruda Weddings offers state recognized pre-marital coaching services.
  • No blood tests are required to purchase your marriage license.

The person performing your wedding is responsible for retrieving the marriage license from you, signing it and forwarding it to the Clerk of Court within 10 days of the completion of the ceremony.

  • Tip Put “Get our marriage license” on the top of your wedding “to do” list. If you are not a resident of Florida and plan to acquire your license when you arrive, prior to your wedding day, make sure to build extra time into your schedule to make your way to the nearest county court house during regular business hours. Contact information for every clerk of court by county can be found at Florida Marriage Guide. Out-of-state couples may want to use a third party business to acquire your Florida marriage license. These can be found by searching online. Be certain that you are working with a reputable provider.

Call (727) 350-1491