Commonly asked Questions and Answers on "How to" plan a beach wedding in Florida
I have decided to have a beach wedding. What now?
Call or e-mail for date and time availability..
The most popular times of the year for a wedding on the beach in this area is April- October; although we do offer our services year round. The most popular months being May, June, July, September and October.
Keep in mind that Friday & Saturday sunset ceremonies are the first to be booked .
We will be able to provide you the sunset time for your date upon your inquiry.
Where are you located?
We are located in between Destin & Panama City Beach.
Our main service area is between Destin & Panama City, but we do service the beaches of Mexico Beach, Cape San Blas and St.George Island for a travel fee. Contact us for details.
We do not refer to ourselves as "Wedding Coordinators." We are a "Beach Wedding Service".
How soon should we reserve our date and time?
As soon as you decide on your date, we recommend putting down a deposit. You can always let us know exact location later, but we cannot hold a date without a deposit.
We no longer take bookings any further than 1 year in advance.
How do we book our wedding?
Once you've decided the time and date and the availability is confirmed through our office,
we require the appropriate deposit/ payment for the services requested.
There is a Request Form available on this site that can be printed to be filled out to be mailed with proper deposit/ payment. We accept personal checks and Money Orders.
You can also call the office to pay by debit/credit card.
A deposit must be paid to secure the date, and deposits are non-refundable.
Do you pick the location for the ceremony or do we?
We will give you the options for the ceremony location. Depending on which beach you are planning for, your options may be limited.
Can we get married at the location we are staying at?
If you obtain written permission from the hotel/condo/house where you will be staying, and there is direct beach access, along with proper parking available, we can do the ceremony where you stay.
Be sure to ask if there is an additional fee for the use of the beach for the wedding. This is your responsibility.
The couple is responsible for any “fees” that may be charged.
Are rehearsals included?
No. There is an additional fee of $400.00. These may only be scheduled for available afternoons.
Cost includes a coordinator from our company to come do run through with the bridal party.
What happens if it rains?
It is the responsibility of the Couple to have a "back-up" location in case of inclement weather. You may want to consider WEDDING INSURANCE
**The majority of Hotels/ Condos generally do not have any type of outside shelter
** If you are having a reception- it can be moved to that location with their permission.
** If you have only a few guests- it can be “postponed” until the next day- **time based upon our availability.
The couple makes the final decision.
Will there be other people on the beach?
YES. ALL beaches in the State of Florida are public beaches. We cannot “rope off” any part of the beach.
There are obviously certain times of the year when the beaches have more beach goers than others.
Even “in season” the Families are usually beginning to “pack up” and leave the beach around 4:00. Then there are usually couples going for strolls along the beach. Many of them “watch” from a distance. There are some areas that are less populated than others. In all of the weddings that we have done we haven’t had any interference with beach goers.
Who performs the ceremony?
Reverend Rika Smith-Owner of the Company and Ordained Reverend.
If you want a male officiant, we need to know at least 4 weeks in advance and there is an extra fee of $100.
Can we bring our own Officiate?
Certainly, as long as he/she is an Ordained Minister or a Notary for the State of FL.
**** We will NOT release our ceremony which includes the verses for the heart of sand, shell leis and the Blessing stones…
Only Officiates directly affiliated with Sunset Dream Weddings are provided this information with whom a confidentiality agreement has been signed.****
There will be no discounts for bringing your own officiant.
Can we write our own vows?
Yes, we encourage couples to be creative. We also send a packet of different vows/ ring vows to choose from upon receiving deposit.
Can we have a friend read a poem?
Yes, you can have a Friend/ Family member read a poem, sing, or lead in prayer.
Who takes the photographs?
Sarah Christian, is our in house photographer. She has been doing beach weddings exclusively since 2006.
Couples will get to choose the images they want for their 4X6 prints, the number of prints included varies by package. A photo CD is available for purchase.
We strive to provide our clients with quality photos... however weather conditions may affect the outcome. If you are scheduled for a sunset wedding and arrive more than 15 minutes late- we may not be able to take the amount of photos in package... there will be NO adjustment on costs.
During heavy seasons (May - October) pictures can take 8-10 weeks until they are ready to view.
Can we provide our own photographer/ videographer?
Yes! Most Companies DO NOT allow "other" cameras.
We have found that most of the guests come with a camera/ camcorder in hand. We do ask you do not get any “rear” shots of us.. Ha!)
*** Here's a Camcorder Tip for Friends and Family-****
Be sure to take your Camcorder equipment out of the A/C at least an hour prior to the ceremony... when you go from A/C into the heat- the dew condensation will not allow most camcorders to work. Also, tell them not to put it on "pause".. you can always edit it...
If you hire a professional photographer and DO NOT want any pictures included in the package from us we will be happy to deduct that from the package amount.
Can we bring our own decorations for the beach?
** Effective Immediately ***
Any person(s), companies or individuals, using Florida State Park Recreational facilities for weddings and/ or receptions must show proof of liability insurance. This includes, and not limited to, wedding decoration, tent/ chair rental companies, musicians, caterers, etc. For more information.. contact Fl State Park Recreational Services. ** Our insurance DOES NOT cover any decoration/ services other than our own**
This means that unless you can show proof of liability insurance you cannot set up any of your own decorations in State operated areas.
If you are staying at a condo/hotel that has given you permission you can set up your own decorations.
This is also the same for beach front rental properties.
***WE DO NOT SET UP ANY DECORATIONS THAT ARE NOT PART OF OUR PACKAGES!!***
If you are in an area where you can bring your own, please make sure you know who you will have set them up/take them down because we will not be responsible for these items!
Do you provide music?
Yes. Music is an a la carte item- the fee is $75.00. We will play “mood music” as the guests arrive on the beach, the processional, bridal march and the recessional, then put the mood music back on during the photos being taken. Some packages actually include the music option. You will get to chose the songs for the processional, bridal march and the recessional.
Do you provide chairs?
Yes, we do have chairs available on the ala carte list. However keep in mind that most of the guests will have a camera/ camcorder in hand and do not “sit” in the chairs provided. We NEVER recommend having a chair for each guest, it is a waste of money! Regardless of the total number of guests, we normally don't recommend having over 10 chairs for immediate Family or for any elderly guests or guests with health problems.
If you are wanting more than 20 chairs we have a third party vendor we can recommend.
How do we obtain the Marriage license?
Both of you must apply in person, together at any Florida Court House. Both of you must have a State issued photo ID (Drivers license)** make sure it is not expired- if you are not a FL resident there is NO waiting period, you will receive the marriage license the same day- Fl residents have a 3 day wait. The fee is between $93 and $100- it may vary by the county you choose. If either of you have been divorced within the past 6 months- you must bring a copy of your divorce decree. If it has been more than 6 months- you will be asked the County/ State and date the divorce was finalized.
What happens to license after the ceremony?
The following business day, the marriage license will be filed with the Court House from which the couple obtained it from. The Clerk's office will then mail the couple the certified copy.
If you need immediate copies, and don't want to wait for them to mail them to you, please inquire at the Clerk's office if you may return the completed marriage license yourself.
What happens if we have to “postpone”?
Any deposits/ payments will be applied to your new date.
What happens if we have to cancel?
All deposits are non-refundable. If you paid in full at the time of booking you will be refunded the difference of the appropriate deposit along with any other costs incurred of the amount paid in full.
If your wedding is cancelled within 30 days of the event, the full amount will be forfeit.
Do you handle the receptions?
No, we do not- however we are more than happy to refer you to area restaurants, caterers, etc.
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