After the excitement of getting engaged and deciding on a Florida beach wedding, a bride’s best friend for the big event is knowledge of state, county and local rules and ordinances. While this might sound overwhelming, it’s not. No need to hire a wedding planner if you keep in mind the following as you plan for the big day
Marriage licenses are issued by county court judges or clerk of the circuit court under his/her hand and seal. Licenses are issued by counties and are applied for at any county clerk’s office. Once obtained, you can marry anywhere within the state of Florida within a 60 day period. Both bride and groom must be over 18 years of age and there is no waiting period for non-Florida residents. If you are a resident of Florida, you must wait 3 days, unless you have completed the Florida pre-marital course, in which case this requirement waived. For more information go to Florida Marriage Statutes.
Who is Allowed to Officiate
Ordained church ministers or elders in communion with some church can solemnize your wedding on a Florida beach as can other ordained clergy, and all judicial officers which includes retired judicial officers, clerks of the circuit courts, and notaries public. A family member or friend can become a Notary and save you hiring someone to officiate your seaside affair.
Where to set up the wedding
You must know what the local restrictions are for a Florida beach wedding in order to avoid major surprises before you set up that beautiful wedding arch in somebody’s back yard. In Florida, all beaches are considered public space and therefore available for use, however where the beach ends and private property begins can be a bit tricky to see unless you know the rules.
Are permits Required
Each county in Florida has different regulations regarding beach weddings. It is best to determine if the State of Florida or one of its counties controls the beach of your dream wedding and then call the Parks Department for that government agency directly. Be sure to have a list of questions prepared:
- If the beach is being accessed via a county or state park, are there hours of operation and/or enter/parking fees?
- How many guests without a special permit?
- If erecting a tent and/or setting up chairs is allowed and if so, what size and how many without a permit?
- Do you need to notify local law enforcement?
- Is a bonfire allowed?
- Are pets allowed on the beach and if so, what are the leash laws?
- Are there any other permits or regulations that I need to know about that beach?
If you play it safe and do a little research, you can breath easier knowing you have minimized the chance of surprises on your special day. Why risk the unknown as you start your new journey in life with your soul mate.