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How to Make a Beautiful, Budget-Friendly Florida Beach Wedding

How to plan a Florida beach wedding?

Just a Reminder…

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  1. Research carefully and pick a location.  The location will determine a lot of other details about what you can or can’t do, as well as the costs.
  2. You will need a marriage license from the county clerk.  You can get married in any county regardless of where you received your marriage license.
    1. Both of the intended must be present and over the age of 18.
    2. Both need to show valid government picture ID and provide social security numbers.
    3. There is no citizenship or residency requirement.
    4. The state of Florida permits couples of the same gender to marry since January 6, 2015.
    5. No blood test is required.
    6. No waiting period for non-Florida residents.  3 Day waiting period for Florida residents.
    7. Marriage license fees are roughly $86+.  Save $25 by taking the Florida pre-marital course.  Each county has different solutions for applying including some that offer zoom appointments (like Duval county) or e-certifications (like Manatee county). Pinellas County has an E-Marriage Application that you can begin online and then confirm in person.
    8. Marriage license is valid for 60 days and only to be married in Florida.
Beach wedding plan pin

Who can legally marry you? 

County clerks, public notaries, ship captains and ministers can perform wedding ceremonies.

How much does a beach wedding cost in Florida?

A beach wedding in Florida can cost very little (at the very minimum is the cost of the marriage license and an officiant) to $10,000+ depending on the location, you’re officiant costs, and any extras that you add like decor, hotel/resort, dinner, guests, site permits, flowers, sand ceremony, unity candle ceremony, photography, and all the other wedding dreams you can squeeze in.

When should I plan my wedding?

March – May has optimal weather with warm days, cool night breezes, and less chance of rain but is also spring break time so it is more crowded at public beaches. 

I prefer September-October because of less crowds but then there’s that whole hurricane season thing.  Don’t overlook the benefits of a perfect winter wedding in November and December either.

July and August will be the hottest months and summer vacation crowds. An intimate wedding has the flexibility of being able to go with the flow and can be all around less stressful than traditional planning, so it really depends on what you envision for your perfect day.

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Best Beach Wedding Destinations Gulf Side of Florida 

Zooming in on the powdery white sand beaches and allure of the Gulf side beach towns from St. Petersburg to Sarasota, here’s some highlights for planning a beach wedding there. Why here?  This is my go to place for the best sunsets near central Florida.  If you have been dreaming of a sunset beach wedding, then this might just be the place.

Some locations require permits.  Others depend on how many people and whether you will be putting up any decorations.  Choose carefully and thoroughly investigate your options.  Otherwise, it may be best to hire a planner or package provider that already knows the details well.  Should you choose to create your own intimate ceremony, look for parking access, permit rules, and bathroom access for starters.  

St. Pete Beach interactive map showing real-time parking

Top 10 St. Pete Beach Wedding Resorts

Clearwater Beach parking map.

Madeira Beach access points including amenities at Archibald Memorial Park and John’s Pass Park.

Explore Madeira Beach with TripAdvisor

Indian Rocks Beach – permit necessary for more than 50 guests.

Treasure Island Wedding Permit Required. $50 to $100 depending on size of guests and residency.  Beach parking list, access points, and rules.  Rental of the Sunset Beach Pavilion starts at $250 for residents and $350 for non-residents for a 6-hr rental.  

Pinellas County Parks – (Upham Beach Park, Fort De Soto Park, Sand Key Park, Howard Park, etc.) a special event permit required regardless of size starting at $50 per day.

Longboat Key Beach Access Points with number of spaces and handicap accessible notes.

Anna Maria Island wedding information. If you’re interested in Anna Maria Island, you might enjoy reading more about visiting it.

Manatee County – Anna Maria bayfront Park, Manatee Public Beach, Coquina Beach, Cortez Beach, & Greer Island require a special event permit for weddings that starts at $200 per day.

Holmes Beach 

How to have a wedding at Holmes Beach:

  • Apply at least 30 days before the date but no more than 365 days before.
  • Beach wedding permit fee $75
    • NO Alcohol or glass allowed 
    • NO Dancefloors allowed
    • NO Dogs, Sky Lanterns, Balloons, Fireworks, Grills, or Generators
    • NO parking in FDOT’s Right-of-Way.  Note:  There is free parking at the Manatee County Public Beach

Make Do-It-Yourself plans or look for providers that can create an intimate wedding ceremony for you for just under $1000 including a photographer.  

Beach Wedding Package Providers

Sirata Beach Resort offers wedding packages for 40 to 300 guests starting at $1500.

For a completely customizable experience at locations from Clearwater to Anna Maria Island, Simple Weddings Florida provides packages that start at $999 with add ons for flowers, a beverage station, music, photography, and hair/make-up available.  Backdrops can include choices of bamboo or driftwood to the possibility of a circle eternity arch.  They can even assist you with a beach house wedding rental and a list of recommended houses.

Weddings on a Whim can help you figure out beach locations and offers concierge services as well as all-inclusive packages from $575. 

Weddings on Sand Key ceremony packages start at $399.

Cherished Ceremonies offers beach wedding assistance including a Marriage License by Mail service for $200. They also specialize in pop-up weddings with a Love Gazebo starting at $699.

Platinum Beach Weddings has all inclusive beach wedding packages that start at $595.

Gulf Beach Weddings offers packages that start at $995 that are perfect for an elopement or vow renewal.

Tide the Knot offers packages from minimal $775 to the whole affair (micro wedding & reception)  at $7,750.

Shore Thing Weddings have packages that start at $750 for 6 guests to $1750 for 40 guests.

DIY Beach Wedding 

Want to take a peek at how I came up with this budget friendly look for an intimate beach wedding with 5 days notice?  I was told to do nothing and we all know that I don’t know how to DO nothing. 

Instead, I tried to do as little as possible.  Between Amazon and what I already had, I pulled together enough items for a BoHo setting that I hoped added a little extra love to the day.

What items I looked for:

  • a macramé wall hanging
  • shepherd’s hooks (which don’t sit as well in sand as I hoped but they were easy to transport)
  • 2 tall vases (metal, not glass)
  • a table (I used my Keter cool bar patio table which lifts up and once a tablecloth is on it, you’d never know it wasn’t a bar table)
  • a sparkly sequin tablecloth (because I’m addicted to sparkly things)
  • a mix of already owned lanterns and a a couple new ones
  • Remote controlled LED candles in different sizes

I would’ve loved to line up the place with 4ft tall gorgeous pampas grass but the time constraints made it impossible to order quickly within budget so I found some reasonable alternatives instead.  And I can assure you that no fake plants were harmed as everything I bought still enlivens my living spaces with good memories and feel good moments.  Never buy what you don’t love.

And if you love this look, I just added a post on my Amazon shop page to get you all of it!

DIY Beach Wedding Finds
  1. BoHo Wedding Macrame Wall Hanging

2. Celebration Candles Wedding Unity Candle Set

3. 50 inch Round Sequin Tablecloth

4. Keter Pacific Cool Bar 

5. Regular Wooden Battery Operated LED Flameless Candle Lantern

6. Wedding Decorations Mr and Mrs Sign

7. Vintage Artificial Peony, Silk Flowers

8. 60 Pcs Natural Pampas Grass

9. Flameless Candles Battery Operated LED

Beautiful Alternatives:

Best Secluded Venue with a breezy waterview and a rustic feeling of unspoiled nature – Historic Spanish Point

  • 337 North Tamiami Trail • Osprey • FL 34229
  • The white cottage lawn and sunken garden is perfect for a sunset wedding on the bayfront.

Wedding Cruise in the Bay – Starlite Cruises for a semi-private experience with panoramic views starting at $48.76 per person (private charters also available).

Yacht Wedding Packages starting from $1450.

Best Luxury Beach Venue -the Don Cesar

Florida has every beach wedding option you can think of whether you are a resident or non-resident.  You can DIY and keep it intimate or go big at the finest beach resorts.  And to think we only covered a small portion of Florida’s beautiful coasts!

Have a beautiful wedding day while you wander!

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