How To Choose The Best Beach For A Wedding
Getting married on the beach is a dream many engaged couples share. It's even better for a second wedding or to renew your vows. The ocean is a beautiful backdrop for any wedding ceremony.
Whether you choose waves in the Atlantic Ocean or the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Florida is the perfect place to have a beach wedding. It's easy to travel to, get a marriage license and is relatively inexpensive for a ceremony. The only hard part is picking the best beach that you both love. Lucky for you, this blog can help you explore each beach in Florida beforehand...because we've visited so many! Then you can tailor your wedding day to the environment, conditions and amenities you desire.
Gulf Coast or Atlantic Coast?
The biggest decision: which Florida coast to get married on? This pick is easy for some couples. If you want to tie the knot with a spectacular sunset, then the west coast, including Siesta Key Beach and Destin, is likely for you. However, don't rule out the east coast (or Atlantic coast) entirely. Some pretty fantastic skies can be seen over the Atlantic ocean at sundown. The clouds can reflect the sunset's colors back over the ocean with special effects. This is called the Golden Hour. You can also have a sunrise wedding but biting insects can be a factor on some beaches. Rest assured that no matter which Florida coast you choose for your nuptials, you will have fantastic wedding photos. If you choose to get married in the Florida Keys, there are plenty of venues to help you have a great wedding and reception. The Green Turtle Inn in Islamorada is one of them. Getting married in the Florida Keys or Miami Beach might be more expensive than other beach wedding locations.
The choice, then, will likely come down to the beach activities you both love. Do you love to surf, boogie board or jump over ocean waves? Then the east coast of Florida, like the Daytona Beach Shores area, is for you. The Florida Keys may also have some waves, but is generally calmer. It also comes with a fabulous ocean breeze which can be cooling (watch those bridal hairstyles though). There are normally very few waves on a Gulf beach, but they are perfect for floating, paddle boarding and snorkeling. It may feel somewhat hotter than the east coast, so choose your wedding attire accordingly. Avoid heavy wedding gowns and hot tuxedos on all the coasts of Florida.
Beachfront or Hotel Wedding?
Depending on the size of coastal wedding you have, it may be easier to have your beach wedding associated with a beachfront hotel. This is simply convenient for everyone. Guests can walk right down to the ceremony, rather than having to drive and find parking. The wedding couple can also host a reception there so everything is in one place. This is particularly convenient if getting married in busy wedding destinations like Clearwater, Siesta Key or Fort Myers Beach. It may be more expensive, however. Couples with a smaller guest list might choose to be married by a local wedding provider right on the shore. A small reception at a nearby island restaurant or in the beach park like Sombrero Beach or Anastasia State Park might be just what you need. Beach pavilions can be used for a charming reception your guests will appreciate. At a Florida beach wedding, almost anything goes. Just check your budget, and make your plans!
Best Time of Year For A Florida Beach Wedding
Summer is the best time for weddings, right? Wrong! In Florida, summer is uncomfortably hot, humid and stormy. Not to mention, hurricane season begins in June. Living in Florida is very pleasant almost all year round, but to have the best experience choose the following months: March, April or May. Even early June may work, but there will be a higher chance of storms. Late October, November and December are also wonderful and the water should still be quite warm.
The other concern is the best of time day for a ceremony. Quite often, any rain or storms will happen in the afternoon, usually beginning around 3-5pm. For a sunset wedding, schedule it after this time for best results. If it rains briefly, take shelter until it passes. An earlier wedding can also be fun at 10 or 11am - before the beach really heats up. It's your choice. Just check the weather in advance. Your wedding provider can usually work with you and find the best time for your special day.
Cheap Wedding Ideas For A Beach Ceremony
Choosing a complete wedding package will often be the cheapest option for your wedding on the beach. This package will often include the ceremony provider, the wedding decorations, chairs, choice of vows and processional music. Some packages even include a photographer - so budget-friendly! You can get a really nice package for less than half the price of a traditional wedding. They set up and take down the decorations for you. Other ideas for saving money include:
But Don't Skimp on This One Thing...
One, simple word: photography. This is the most important detail not to be overlooked. Find the best wedding photographer (and videographer) you can afford. If the wedding provider you select offers this service, then make sure you look at their work BEFORE signing on the dotted line. Look at their wedding photos and their online reviews. You can never get back the opportunity for beautiful beach wedding pictures if it is lost. Image you both during a sunset in Siesta Key! These photos will bring you special memories of your Florida ceremony for years to come.
Fun Ideas for Beach Wedding Memories
If you have a wedding right on the beach, there are some fun ideas you can incorporate into your special day. These are what your memories are made of, so why not try out one or two ideas?
The Beach Wedding Reception
You can plan a reception after your wedding. There are couples wait until they get back home so that more friends and family can celebrate with them. Some of them may not have been able to travel to attend your special day. However, if you choose to have it the same day as your seaside ceremony, why not choose a tented venue or pavilion right on the beach in Clearwater? One of our favorite venues is close to home: Wilbur Boathouse is an easy 5 minute walk from the beachfront and is an historic, romantic venue - sunsets included. In St. Augustine at Anastasia State Park you can rent the Sea Turtle Pavilion.
Steps to Getting Married in Florida
Here is an easy plan to make your Florida beach wedding day come true:
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