The ultimate guide for your elopement in Florida
TIPS. VENUES & LOCATION IDEAS
Many couples dream of eloping in Florida instead of going through the tremendous burdens of planning out a big, traditional wedding.
Since there are many details that go into planning a typical wedding, they are choosing an elopement as a way to avoid the hassles that are in place with a traditional wedding. As a photographer and planner specialized in elopements for introvert couples, I really love the potential of Florida for an elopement.
Many couples see an elopement as the only way to go when they want to start spending their time as husband and wife together right away, and maybe that’s the case for you too! So, let’s dive into this guide and see how you can transform your dream into a reality!
Let’s dive in…
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
What is an elopement?
Elopements are intimate weddings planned by a couple to avoid planning a huge, stressful wedding day. They are mainly focused on what the couple wants, and emphasize the ceremony more than the whole fuss around a normal wedding day. Couples plan an elopement to avoid family drama and have a “just them” wedding day without being the center of attention.
Elopements don’t have to be “just the couple and no one else”, actually most elopements involve close family members and friends, and can go up to 20 guests in total. After 20 guests, the principle is the same but it’s called an intimate wedding.
How to elope in Florida legally
You will need to apply for your marriage license. You will be able to do this online for a fee of approximately $85. Since you will also need to schedule the official that will legally bind yourselves marriage, this will need to be completed and paid for too. Once you have this, you can pick the place that you want to get married and there are plenty of great places for couples to elope while they are in Florida.
Why you should plan an elopement in Florida
Yes, Florida is widely known for its warm, nice weather all-year long. You can enjoy the beautiful beaches and the warmth of central Florida pretty much all the time, so this is a great gateway destination for an elopement. So if you don’t know where to elope, Florida is an amazing destination that will allow you to exchange your vows in a warm, beautiful nature.
Florida’s history is as amazing as its landscapes. The art, architecture and culture are a mix of Timucuan, Miccosukee, and Seminole, Cuban and Haitian refugees, European explorers and freed slaves. So you can imagine that visiting Florida is like going back to the past and discovering something new everyday.
When we think about Florida, we mainly think about beaches. And yes, beaches are splendid and beautiful in Florida, and you can definitely elope on the beach in Florida. However, there is so much more than the beaches! You can hike in the Everglades, discover the Florida Keys, Sarasota’s Myakka River Park and Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, which all boast with amazing fauna and tropical flora!
The best places to elope in Florida
Florida is an exciting and exceptional state known as the Sunshine State. There are many places that you will find that will give you a fantastic experience.
Here are some of the great ways you can have an adventure elopement in Florida:
Pick Any Beach
The majority of Florida has beaches and couples are able to say their vows right on the beach. You can make it as dressy as you want or as casual as it goes. Even nude beaches allow couples to get married in Florida. There is no end to the choices that you will have!
Mallory Square or other parts of the Keys are great areas to have say your vows and become legally married. Just by visiting the Keys, you will find a spot that you want to call your own.
Getting married while scuba diving is possible when you are in Florida. You will most likely need to go to the Keys for this and enjoy all the rest of it while you are there!
Some couples enjoy tieing the knot in the Everglades. You can do so out on the boats that are provided there, or directly in accesible nature paths.wn.
There are TONS of amazing, beautiful and inspiring places to elope in Florida.
I have a long list of other places you might consider for your elopement in Florida!
The best time for an elopement in Florida
December and January are the coolest months in Florida, with temperatures as low as 10°C (49°F), but they can also go quite high. It is not rare to see a beautiful 24°C (77°F) in winter! Sunseekers start to go on the beach at the end of February. So if you’d like to elope to Florida while avoiding the crowds, winter is the best season for you as you will be able to hike freely and will avoid the tourists.
Clearly the best season to elope in Florida! March is dry and sunny, but be careful with the spring break week, when hordes of students are on the beaches everywhere! April ans May both are amazing months to elope in Florida, as the days get longer and brighter, and the temperatures rise as well, making it enjoyable to dip in the ocean and exchange your vows on the beach.
Try to avoid the month of June as it is the rainiest month in Florida. July and august mark the peak touristic season in Florida, so if you’d like to avoid the corwds, try to avoid eloping in Florida during summer. The month of August is the hottest month of the year, and temperatures can sometimes be unbearable if you’re not used to it.
The heat starts to cool down a little bit in September, and the crowds start to disappear after Labor Day. October and November are amazing months for an elopement in Florida since they are still warm and dry (November is the dryest month of the year) while still offering plenty of light in crowdless places.
What to wear for your elopement in Florida
You can elope in style and put of lot of thought into what you will wear, your bouquet and the decor of the site of your elopement.
Eloping in Florida doesn’t necessarily means laid back and casual. If you’d like to be elegant and beautiful on your wedding day, you can do as you want!
Elopement dresses are a little bit different from classic wedding dresses as you will tend to hike a lot in them. Try to pick them flowy, lightweight and easy to put on, since you might need to put it on during the hike to the site of your vows exchange. Don’t forget the weather is very hot in Florida, so try to avoid huge, princess-like dresses with a lot of tulle, as you will be hot in them very very quickly!
Walking in the sand is not a piece of cake, so if you’re planning on eloping on a beach, maybe going barefeet might be the best idea. However, if you’re more into an adventure elopement and would like to hike to the site of your elopement, choosing comfortable hiking boots will be the best way to go. Don’t forget you’ll need to be very comfortable in your shoes as you will wear them all day long, and if you wear a long dress, they will be invisible anyways!
Light linen suits are always a great option for men, as they are light enough to elope in Florida and not end up in sweat. Like the dress, you need to be comfortable in the suit you will choose, and able to walk in it, at least to the site of your elopement. If you choose something too tight or with many pieces, you might be hot and/or unconfortable and that will ruin your elopement experience.
Other things to consider
Mosquitoes and sun are two of the biggest annoying things when you elope in Florida. So don’t forget to pack a backpack with all the essentials for your hike: water, snacks, first aid kit, emergency battery charger, mosquito repellent, a blanket, sunscreen, and a pouch of water for your bouquet!
What is the cost of an elopement in Florida?
HIGH – END ELOPEMENT
Travel to and from Florida: $1 000
5 nights in a high-end accomodation // $2 500
Elopement photographer // $7 000
Private chef or full board // $1 000
Officiant // $500
Florist // $500
Rentals // $500
Wedding dress and accessories // $4 000
Suit and accessories // $1 000
TOTAL FOR A HIGH – END ELOPEMENT IN FLORIDA :
Travel to and from Florida: $1 000
5 nights in an airbnb // $1 000
Elopement photographer // $5 000
Food // $250
Officiant // $250
Florist // $200
Wedding dress and accessories // $2 500
Suit and accessories // $500
TOTAL FOR A BUDGET ELOPEMENT IN FLORIDA :
Eloping in Florida – your checklist
Think about where you’d like to go
Florida is huge and will offer different ambiances when it comes to the general region for your elopement. If you’re all about culture and history, choose the city of St. Petersburg for example! If you’d like to experience the best beaches around, head to the Florida Keys and their natural teal blue waters. If you’re more of an adventurer and would love to discover something truly unique, then the Everglades National Park will be perfect for you!
Pick a date
Like I mentionned before, the best months to celebrate your elopement in Florida are May, October and November. They are warm, crowd-less, sunny and beautiful. So once you’ve picked the place you’d like to elope to, pick your date and mark it down!
Book your accommodation
Accomodations vary widely in Florida and you will want to pick the perfect one for your needs and budget. AirBnB, Booking.com, Kayak and TripAdvisor are all great ressources to find the best deals and check out other traveler’s reviews to pick the perfect place to relax after your elopement.
Book your photographer
Since she/he will be the one to accompany you on this awesome adventure, choose your photographer wisely. You will want to pick someone used to shoot in the sun and warmth of Florida, and who will be able to suggest tons of tips and places to exchange your vows (just like me!). your photographer will be the main source of help to plan your elopement in Florida!
Find a place to exchange your vows
And this is where your photographer will help you at first. Finding the perfect place to exchange your vows is not an easy task as you need to take into account the sun and how/where it sets, shadows, light and many other factors that will totally make (or ruin) your wedding photos! Finding the best place to exchange your vows is truly one of the most important part of the planning process, so be sure to choose wisely!
Book your other vendors
Depending on how stylish you want to make your day, you can book a florist, a makeup artist/hairdresser, an official, some decor rentals, a private chef for the evening…your photographer will help you find the perfect vendors based on what you’re dreaming of for your elopement in Florida!
Live your dream elopement
Finally the big day has arrived! Enjoy it to the max!
Are you eager to start planning your elopement in Florida? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!