Planning your Florida Beach Wedding

Planning your Florida Beach Wedding - South Florida Beach Weddings from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale and all of South Florida


How to plan your beach wedding in Florida

By: Chaplain Robert (Bob) Walker B.Th.

© Robert H. Walker




Jack @ 561-533-5753

Sunrise / Sunset times

Click on the above picture to see a full size view of the wedding arch.

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Have you ever asked yourself how can I go about with planning a beach wedding in Florida? Planning a Florida beach wedding is not that hard when you have someone that knows the South Florida area and the local beaches and does many weddings over the years. There is a great deal of information on this website and look at the top of the page for the navigational links.

Florida is a warm and wonderful place to have a beach wedding. The winter, late fall and the early spring are the best times for you to plan and have your beach wedding in sunny South Florida. The coastal shoreline of South Florida on the Atlantic side of the state has about 580 miles of beach. Florida has in addition to this the gulf coast, where there is an additional 770 miles of beachfront coastline on the Gulf of Mexico fed by the ocean.

You can plan and have your very own beach wedding on the shore with the sand by the sea with the roar of the Atlantic Ocean and the seagulls singing with the wind. With your feet in the sand you can have your family and friends witness your marriage and wedding ceremony as you have your wedding day on the beach. South Florida is usually sunny for most times of the year.

My main area of beach wedding expertise is from Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton for Palm Beach County. Weddings and photography in Broward include Deerfield Beach to Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood.

There are so many things to plan as you consider your wedding. What with wedding planning with the logistics you have much to consider. When you think about having a Florida beach wedding then I offer here are some wedding planning tips.

  • Picking a public beach for your wedding venue in South Florida
  • Transportation for the bridal party and their family to South Florida
  • Obtaining the Florida marriage license from the courthouse
  • Having someone to perform and assist you with planning your marriage ceremony on the beach in South Florida
  • Planning with wedding vendors like D.J.'s, with the wedding photographer's and other professionals
  • Wedding packages and other extra's to make the wedding day special like wedding flowers, wedding cake, decorated arch as well as butterfly releases.

If you give careful consideration to the above checklist then you are well on your way to a wedding day to remember.

Picking a Florida Beach for the wedding venue:

There is a large variety of public beach parks as well as privately owned beaches as a place to have your Florida beach wedding. When working with a wedding vendor only your wedding budget will determine and dictate your choice of the location of your wedding venue. There are navigation links on the top of the page with pictures and information on the local beaches for a wedding venue and many are free.

You can easily have a nice intimate romantic beach wedding in South Florida on a very modest budget. You must be very cautious and careful if you are from out of the area or from out of state in the planning your beach wedding. I know that many beaches and the local municipalities ask for and require an event permit for gatherings of large groups of people.

If you are able to keep your wedding party celebration fewer than two dozen people, then you can hope that and count on that you will generally be left alone. Beach wedding marriage ceremonies usually and generally last only about fifteen minutes for the actual service. Large groups of people attract attention on the beach with the assorted vendors involved like a DJ and wedding photographers present. This is also true if you have a decorated arch and chairs for the wedding party.

There is a beautiful and natural state park in South Florida that is very wedding friendly. They allow you to rent the park for the evening and you are allowed to bring your own or catered food onto the reception site. You can have your wedding on the beach as well as host the wedding reception and dinner there at the park. The park also allows use of as they have a modest sized pavilion at the Florida state beach park. Ask us about helping plan your small beach wedding in South Florida.


There are also a large number and variety of public beaches that are available for your use that do not need an event permit for a wedding celebration. You need to be careful about decorations during turtle egg season. Digging in the sand to bury the wedding arch maybe a problem certain times of the year due to turtle nesting season.

So far we have no oil on our beaches from the BP oil spill as of September 2010.

The time of day is very important for your wedding ceremony

Saturday is always the busiest day of the week for weddings. Beaches can get busy with people visiting over the holidays and with the winter season and the numerous snowbirds the beaches can be very crowded. The late evening is usually the very best time of the day to perform a wedding ceremony. Late evenings are not too hot and the ambient lighting with the last few hours of sunlight is usually quite good for pictures. The evening around dinnertime is also a good time for the wedding and accompanying ceremony as many of the beach goers and sunbathers have already gone home for their dinner. The late evenings will show that there are usually only a couple of lover's and occasional fishermen or two as a witness to your marriage ceremony on the beach. sunrise weddings can be nice as well and the sun breaking over the horizon can be stunning for pictures.

Transportation of the bride and groom and their bridal party with the family:

If you live here and you are a local in South Florida then you should be very familiar with the local beaches and the public parks available in Palm Beach County and you may even have a favorite spot to go. When someone is from out of state, then planning and transportation of the wedding guests is made much more difficult for the bride and groom. Logistics to and from the wedding on the beach and to the reception dinner is a very important part of the wedding day. Getting to and from Florida either by car or flying is only a small part of the solution to the logistical problem. Trying to get the families of the bridal party to and from the beach wedding venue is also a hurdle to clear.

Many people will try to find and get to book an Ocean front hotel with a room that is beachside with an Ocean view. One can usually use the private beach of the hotel for your very own private beach wedding venue. Most of the hotels are more than happy to allow paying guests to use their private beaches for a wedding venue. The wedding party must be sure that as long as one does not interfere with any paying functions, like a wedding of the hotel in progress, there is usually no problem using the hotels beach. There is a link on the top of the page showing a beach front oceanside hotel that is wedding friendly.

Not every one of us can afford the costly seasonal pricing of a beach front hotel in the busy winter season in South Florida. Rental cars are available and are another possible solution to the transportation problem of getting to and from the beach and wedding reception.

Limousine services to and from the wedding on the beach may also be a solution to your logistics problem:

I am more than happy to give you the names of a few limousine companies that can supply you with professional limo service to and from the beach for your wedding. This wonderful and very useful service can be had for around Three to four hundred dollars for the evening. I do not make any commission if you book the lim. Transportation with a limousine can be a  good idea of a small group of a dozen up to twenty of your family and close friends.

You can think of the limo service as a rolling wedding party as many will supply you with drinks including beer and wine as well as with other harder drinks. You do not need to worry about a DWI or DUI citation arrest or getting lost in an unfamiliar area that you are not comfortable and familiar with. The limo company can take you to the beach and to dinner and maybe some sightseeing after the wedding as you can book them for three or four hours of service for the price you pay. The stretch limos can easily carry a dozen people and I prefer the white Lincoln continental limousines as they are very roomy and they look very professional as opposed to the black hummer limo, but that is my very own humble opinion.

So how do you apply for a Florida marriage license?

Florida state residents:

If you are a local Florida resident you can go into any local county courthouse anywhere in the entire state of Florida and apply in person. You must have both the future potential bride and groom present at the time you apply on any weekday during normal business hours that the court is open. The cost of the Florida marriage license seems to be between $90 and 120 dollars depending upon the local county. Cash is king and always works as payment for the Florida marriage license application to marry and they accept checks or credit cards at most locations.

It is a good idea to always call the courthouse or the place you plan to go to obtain your Florida marriage license as rules change at the whim of the county court. There is a three day waiting period for local Florida residents.  If you take a court approved pre-marital marriage counseling class in advance, you can get the three day waiting period waived and you get a price break of about thirty dollars.

Check with your local county courthouse for the current rules and the more recent information on obtaining your Florida marriage license information. You can get a marriage license at any county courthouse location and it is valid for anyplace in all of Florida.

Non-Florida residents have many more options:

Marriage license by mail:

If you are from out of state resident, in other words you do not live in Florida; you can obtain a Florida marriage license by mail or in person. You can get your Florida marriage license by mail in advance of your coming down to Florida. The cost of doing this does tend to be a little bit more for the marriage license by mail service. But for the busy professional it is worth it to many people who are pressed for time and cannot get here during the week when the courthouse is open. For those unable to arrive in Florida on a weekday to apply in person for the marriage license at the courthouse, the marriage license by mail is a plausible and very possible solution to their marriage license procurement problem. This tends to appeal to many busy professionals and business people. I can assist and refer you to someone that can help you in the license by mail procedure.

Get your marriage license in person at the courthouse:

You can obtain your valid Florida marriage license at any local county courthouse location in all of Florida. The marriage application shall be valid anywhere and for all of the state of Florida. The cost of the marriage license application seems to run about and ninety to one hundred and twenty dollars depending upon the local county. Cash is king and it always works as payment for the marriage license application to marry and they accept checks and/or credit cards as well at most courthouse locations. Always plan to call ahead to the place where you plan to go to obtain your Florida marriage license as rules change at the whim of the court and the commissioners.

There is no three day waiting period for non-Florida residents. Check with the local courthouse for the most current rules and regulations for your more recent information on obtaining your Florida marriage license information.

Have a wedding planner for your Florida beach wedding:

I suggest Amy as a wedding planner and I have seen her work as she is excellent with decorating for a beach wedding or a formal wedding venue. Call Amy at (561) 577-6686

A professional wedding planner can help you and be of great assistance in the choice of a beach and the local vendors like a photographer. The wedding planner can also be a help in making sure the beach wedding venue is decorated with beautiful flowers and that you have an arch, with wedding music of the bridal march as the bride walks down the aisle.

There are so many things to consider and plan for with your marriage on the beach. A beach wedding has to consider and contend with the outdoor elements like the rain, sun and the wind. It actually snowed here in South Florida once in the late seventies. No, we did not need the snowplows to spread salt on the roads. Always having a plan B is prudent and is very important due to poor weather as the outdoors does not always follow our wishes for the wedding day. You hotel can move the wedding inside to the reception area, if you are booked there and using their beach for the wedding.

Having someone who has vast knowledge of the local Florida beaches and wedding venue areas is a valuable asset to have on your side. Wedding experience is a very useful commodity as is information to have when dealing with someone to help and assist in planning your wedding day on the beach.

Hiring someone over the Internet that you have never met is not always the most confidence inspiring experience.

Wedding packages - A grand wedding ($1,000)

Wedding packages for your Florida beach wedding in South Florida can very well be your very own one stop solution to all of your wedding needs. You as a beach bride will need all the help and information you can get.

Most of our beach wedding packages tend to cost a thousand dollars or even less and you can think of this wedding package as a grand wedding.

Wedding packages for beach weddings in South Florida generally includes:

  • Wedding officiant or the wedding clergy needed for performing the marriage ceremony on the beach.
  • Wedding photography with a professional wedding photographer and / or video of the ceremony
  • Someone to decorate your beach wedding venue with an arch and flowers
  • wedding music that is provided on a cd or a live DJ with music such as the wedding march processional and recessional
  • Vases for a family sand ceremony (very much like a unity candle ceremony) usage of sand is necessary due to wind on the beach
  • Wedding sheet cake

You are going to be sending money to someone that you have never met and that you do not know. You will hope and then pray that they show up for your wedding. You know that your wedding will be a mess if the person you hired does not follow through with the agreed upon plans.

I know of someone that was a former client that had their wedding planner quit just three weeks before her event at the wedding. It was very good for the bride that she was fortunate as she did not lose the deposits that the planner had made to the vendors and it was not a total loss.

Having a wedding planner and using their wedding package can save you a lot of time and some money by not having to negotiate deals with multiple vendors for the special wedding day.

I have been assisting brides in planning and performing weddings since 2002. I have been performed and been involved with hundreds of weddings in formal as well as informal venues.

Let me see what I can do for your special wedding day.

Please call me at 561-964-5036 and ask for Chaplain Bob Walker


Call Jack at 1-561-533-5753

We are Palm Beach Weddings and our main area of coverage is the South Florida area of Palm Beach and Broward counties. From Jupiter, West Palm Beach to Ft Lauderdale and Hollywood with all the surrounding areas of coverage. Let me Plan and perform your beach wedding anywhere in South Florida and ask about our availability.

© Robert H. Walker

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Palm Beach Weddings, LLC

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Rehearsal dinner

How to have a successful rehearsal dinner here are a few things to ponder.

Most people have their weddings on Saturday evenings as bad as the time when everybody is off from work and available to be together for family gatherings and to enjoy each other’s company. I always suggest that you have your rehearsal dinner 1 to 2 days prior to the actual wedding. If you're going to have your wedding on Saturday midday is probably not a good idea to have your rehearsal on Friday evening. Wednesday or Thursday would be a much better choice in my opinion for the wedding rehearsal.

Make sure that everybody that is going to be in the actual bridal party is available and present for the rehearsal for your wedding. Obviously the bride and the groom need to be there and a wedding coordinator is very useful to have as well as they could line up the brides maids and groomsmen for their walk down the aisle. If the father of the bride is going to walk her down the aisle towards the arch of the altar he should be present as well. All the bridesmaids and groomsmen should be available also the ring bearer and flower girls should be there as well for the rehearsal. Anyone that is going to be involved in the actual ceremony needs to be present for the wedding rehearsal.

Whoever is going to be performing at the wedding ceremony be they the officiant, clergy or minister should also be available and by this time the bride and groom should have agreed on the vows that they're going to use for the ceremony. If you're officiant is experienced they are not at their rehearsal dinner to practice, but rather the bridesmaids and groomsmen are there to practice walking down the aisle.

Unless you have a large number of bridesmaids and groomsmen I believe that most people do not need a rehearsal prior to their wedding day. If it's just a bridegroom the officiant and maybe a maid of honor and best man then usually a five-minute walk-through on the day of the wedding event is sufficient. But if you have a dozen bridesmaids and groomsmen and they're going to be walking down the aisle that is when you need a rehearsal. I am experienced in performing rehearsals and I've done many of them, but if you're at a large hotel and they have a wedding coordinator then I strongly recommend that you use the wedding coordinator to line everybody up and let them know when they need to walk down the aisle.

Experience wedding coordinators that work at large hotels do this on a weekly basis and have a lot more practice than your officiant would. Besides you do not want the officiant to step on the toes of the wedding coordinator and try to run the show as their job is just to perform the wedding ceremony itself.

One of the big reasons why suggest you have your rehearsal dinner late on a work night is due to the fact that some people work and they'll be leaving work at 430 or 5:00 PM they will have to fight traffic at rush hour, get home and change clothes and shower and then run to your rehearsal dinner. If your reversal dinner is at six or 6:30 PM I can guarantee many people are going to be late and this is a waste of your officiant time. You are much better served to start your rehearsal at 7:30 PM when you know that everybody will be there.

Of course rehearsals are only useful for large weddings and nowadays with the present state of economic affairs and with unemployment the way that is many people are opting for small intimate romantic weddings. This way when you cut down the guest list you are trimming the costs involved for having your wedding. Most people do not have $20,000-$25,000 to blow on one night's party and many young couples would be better served to save that money and use it as a down payment for a house so they can start their life and live together in marriage. Or take the same money and spend it for the honeymoon vacation and maybe have a trip of a lifetime, maybe even take a cruise.

If you are having a wedding at a beach Park and it's very small event then you will probably not need a rehearsal except for maybe if 10 or 15 minutes prior to the actual wedding I will get together with the bride and then afterwards the groom and go over the ceremony that they picked for their nuptials.

Photography of Palm Beach

Have a successful wedding rehearsal

Order of events:

  • The wedding officiant or clergy shall be the first one to walk down the aisle forward towards the arch or altar, followed closely by the groom. The officiant shall face towards the family and friends of the bridal party of the bride and the groom.

If this is a beach wedding, the officiant or minister shall generally have his back facing towards the ocean and the water. The bride or the wedding photographer may have a different idea, depending upon the angle of the sun or the direction of the wind and may ask for a different placement of the officiant.



  • The groom shall generally stand on the left hand side of the officiant, in a Christian wedding ceremony. In a Jewish wedding ceremony, the groom would stand to the right of the rabbi or officiant.

The groom shall be right behind the wedding officiant while walking down the aisle towards the arch or the altar for the wedding. The groom and the officiant can either make an entrance as they walk down the aisle together or they can be waiting at the altar / arch as the guests are being seated.

  • The best man can follow the groom or walk down together with the maid of honor and split off when they come to the arch. The best man stands next to the groom on the outside. The maid of honor stands next to the bride on the outside and will hold the brides flowers during the ring exchange and give the bouquet back to the bride after the first kiss as husband and wife.

The ushers are to seat the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom in the first and second rows to chairs or at the front of the ceremony if no seating is available.

  • The ushers direct the wedding guests into their seats. The ushers can then place the guests into standing room in rows or a semi-circle or horseshoe shape around the arch or altar of the place of the wedding ceremony venue site, if no chairs are provided.


Maybe it would be a good idea to bring a rake to pick up any seaweed or trash for an outside wedding on the sand by the beach. The Atlantic Ocean may bring seaweed as a gift for your beach wedding.


  • The groom shall stand towards the bride and they should face each other for the ceremony. The bride and groom should hold hands as they exchange vows during the ceremony.

Have the bride and groom glance at the officiant as they say “I do” and continue to look at each other. The bride can hold the bouquet of flowers during the ceremony and then as it is time for the ring exchange, she can pass of the flowers to the maid of honor.

  • This placement of the bride and groom facing each other during the wedding ceremony allows the wedding photographer to get good pictures as they have a good angle for photography.


Any groomsmen and bridesmaids can walk together and split off and walk to the outside of the ceremony area.

  • The maid of honor can walk down after the bridesmaids walk and she should stand close to the inside of the ceremony area close to the bride and officiant.

The ring bearer will walk after the groomsmen and bridesmaids.

  • The flower girl(s) will throw any flowers just prior to the bride and father walking down the aisle.

The father and bride will walk down the aisle last and the father should be on the bride’s right hand side.

  • The father can pass her off to the groom and then take a seat in the front or the father can stand and wait for the officiant to ask who gives this woman to be married to this man, or who gives their blessing to this marriage…her mother and I do…

The bride and groom should face each other and be about less than an arms length away. She, the bride can hold on to the flowers for pictures during the ceremony and pass off the flowers to the maid of honor at the time of the ring exchange or the bride can pass off the flowers right away and get the bridal bouquet back after the ring exchange and the ceremony is over before the bride and groom walk down the aisle as husband and wife. Allow me to introduce for the very first time Mr. and Mrs. husband and wife.