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Elopement to Florida

Hi all,


Recently got engaged in New York 😍 

Fancy a wedding for just the two of us, on a beach, in Florida. Anyone have any tips? Kinda don't know where to start!! 🙈🙈🙈 


Thank you!





  • Hi Becky,


    You'd be able to do one of two things in Florida - you could plan the entire thing yourselves without the use of a wedding planning - this may work out cheaper but will require a bit of work.

    All you'll need is to have your marriage license in order. Every one of this is issued by a country court judge or clerk. They're issued in county in the States. You can get married in any county in Florida - regardless of where you get your marriage license from. You'll need to take a drivers license or passport. In Florida the current cost is $93.50. It'll be valid for 60 days. There is also a 3-day waiting period - so you get your license and wait for 3 days!

    If you were to plan it yourself you would simply need an officiant and a photographer and then you can pick the location!

    However - Florida is a popular state for beach weddings (understandably! They're amazing!) so you should be able to find a package deal for under $1,000 - that would include the officiant, photographer (may be limited on number of photos), guidance on location etc. 

    My top tip for starting point would be Google Images - I know it sounds silly, but just Google Florida beach elopements, ignore the information, go straight to images. That way you'll see all the different options, inspiration and you can take it from there. 

    I think you'll find the planning quite easy though, and you'll be surprised at how quickly things come together.

  • Desert-bride covered most of the big topics, but I'll throw in a few other considerations as I'm stateside.

    Do your research on when the kids have their school holidays (spring/ Easter break, summer vacation, Christmas break) in whatever area you decide to wed in.  You will not want to go anywhere near a Floridan beach during any school holiday.  They are beyond packed with people, including thousands of families with screaming kids and thousands of drunken college students.  (The theme parks are also unlivable during these times of year, especially June - Aug.)

    If possible, stay at the resort or hotel you want to marry at in advance. I can't begin to tell you how deceptive the photos online can be, and the prices are not hint at what you're going to get either.  My OH and I stayed at a so-called higher-end resort not too far from the Disney parks two years ago and I was completely disappointed. The rooms looked amazing online and the reviews were great; in reality, the room were insanely small, outdated, and barely clean. 

    Florida is infamous for its humidity. If you sweat a lot or get frizzy hair or just in general hate humidity, you may want to wed in early spring or fall. The humidity isn't as bad then.

    Avoid hurricane season. That's a given.

    A lot of the hotels offer all-inclusive wedding packages. Those can be nice if you aren't too fussed about planning every last detail, and they really aren't that pricey for what you get.  If you want to plan all the details for yourself, you won't want to go this route.  Getting the same chairs, the same style/ number of floral arrangements, and the same arch to stand under on the beach won't suit you.

    Picking the right dress will be essential. The heat in FL can be intense so you'll want to avoid a tightly fitted mermaid gown or heavy fabrics like satin.  Unless you like chaffing and sweat running down your legs!

    Maybe do a planning thread, I'm sure everyone would love to hear about your plans :)

  • Becky129Becky129 Posts: 4

    Hi Desert bride and Kittyfiennes! 


    Thank you so much for your help, this is amazing!! 


    I am looking at something really low-key, so just the two of us! 

    Kitty Fiennes, what hotel did you book? 

    Desert Bride- what are you planning? 

    I think dress wise, I am thinking something very light and floaty... Haven't found anything ideal just yet...

    I was also wondering about a May wedding... Maybe in the morning before it gets too warm? 

    Will get my plan on!!!!! 😍😍😍😍

  • Hi Becky,

    I've opted for a sensible desert elopement in the August heat. But we're opting for a sunrise ceremony next to a lake (Lake Powell), some exploring of slot canyons and a sunset at horseshoe bend. So avoiding the hottest part of the day. We wanted something that formed part of our road trip, that offer scenery you can't get in the UK and to add a bit of an adventure to our wedding day! Thankfully, the desert is just hot and not humid.

    We have planned the whole thing ourselves without a resort, wedding planner etc. It's been much simpler then I expected given that we don't know the area (which could be quite the risk, but honestly, I trust nature!) plus - the packages available are stupidly expensive. 

    If I was you - I'd compare prices. And narrow down what you both want from the day :)

  • I can't remember for sure where we stayed...might have been Disney's Polynesian Village.  I just remember the rooms were insanely small, dated, and kind of gross.  Just do plenty of research and make sure to look at actual guest photos and not just what they show for pics on their own websites.  Be prepared to spend more than you would normally on a room and get less than you'd expect. FL is a "tourist trap" so £150 a night doesn't get you HALF as nice a room as £150 a night would get you elsewhere.  (This is also true in cities like Chicago, NY, San Fran, etc.)

    I'm not sure where in FL you're looking to stay, but if you plan to hit the theme parks, I don't recommend staying onsite at one of the resorts, unless you have a really large budget (and maybe you do). We aren't budget-conscious people by any means, but even we were appalled at the per-night cost of those hotels/ resorts. Just staying even a few miles away is considerably cheaper, and pretty much all of the hotels offer free shuttle buses to the theme parks. 

    May is already going to be hot and humid, for sure. But it's not a bad choice - because if you go in March or April, there is a slight chance you could hit a "cold" spell. We went in mid-April and there were a few days that being at the beach was borderline uncomfortable. It wasn't too bad just laying out, but there was no way we were going in the water. I would def shoot for early May though then (or even end of April) to avoid the uni kids; they typically get out of school the second week of May or so.

  • Maybe check out AirBNBs and hire a car? That's what we've done in Page, Arizona. All the hotels didn't live up to the price tag, for a cheaper price tag we've got a 2bedroom house for 3 nights. Like KittyFiennes says, it needs to be planned around SPRING BREAK WOOOP WOOP (etc. etc.) if you avoid that and UK school holidays for flight prices you should be able to get something decent.

    I'd have a look into a couple of nights / the whole time at an airbnb, especially if you're going theme parks. You might be able to bag yourself a bargain. Keep an eye on the cleaning and service fees though. Looking forward to reading more about your plans!

    Remember - try not to get overwhelmed :)

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