What Makes the Florida Keys Such a Popular Choice for a Beach Wedding?

It’s relatively easy to travel to the Florida Keys from just about anywhere in the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and are trying to avoid the hassles of traveling out of the country for your beach wedding, the Keys offer a fabulous domestic solution! Known as the America’s Caribbean–they have gained in popularity in recent years as the costs of air travel outside the United States have increased. When you can enjoy the same tropical climate, with sunshine almost year round–why not look to this area when thinking of a beach wedding or honeymoon?

Florida Keys Map

Main Areas of the Keys
The geographic areas of the keys consist of the Key Largo area, Islamorada, Marathon which is in the heart of the keys, the Lower Keys, and finally, Key West which is the southernmost tip of the Continental U.S.

4 Great Wedding Destinations in the Florida Keys

Cheeca Lodge and Spa in Islamorada
The only family owned and operated resort of its size in the keys, the Cheeca Lodge and Spa has been around since the early 1900’s when it was formerly called the Olney Inn. Currently owned by the Johnson family, it underwent a $30 million renovation in 2005 and is now the elegant resort that it is today. It is located in Islamorada, which is known as the sports fishing capital of the world, and has lots of watersports activities available at the resort including charter fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailboat trips, etc. Cheeca Lodge and Spa can accomodate from 10 to 200 people for an unforgettable beach wedding and reception. 1,100 feet of palm-infringed beach including Cheeca’s renowned “Leaning Palms”, make for an incredible backdrop for your barefoot oceanfront ceremony.

Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort in Marathon Key
A luxurious beach front resort located in the heart of the Florida Keys in Marathon, and offering two and three bedroom beach front homes, Tranquility Bay can accomodate weddings of up to 70 guests. It was was voted in 2008 and 2009 as the best place to have a wedding in Marathon. It’s a picturesque setting on the Gulf of Mexico and would make a great backdrop for your beach wedding. It has been featured on the Travel Channel with host, Samantha Brown, as one of the best luxurious resorts to stay in the Florida Keys.

Little Palm Island Resort in Little Torch Key
If you plan on having a smaller, more intimate beach wedding–Little Palm Island has wedding packages for up to 40 guests. It’s a hidden treasure in the Florida Keys and only accessible by boat or sea plane. There are no telephones or televisions and no guests under the age of 16 years. It has been an escape of choice for presidents and high profile celebrities as well as savvy travelers. With only 30 guest suites, consisting of thatched-roof bungalows and private oceanfront verandas, Little Palm Island has been hailed as “Florida’s most secluded and romantic retreat” by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

The Reach Resort in Key West
A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, The Reach Resort has just completed at $32 million renovation and, it boasts one of the most picturesque Key West lodging experiences as it is located on the only natural beach on the island of Key West. With 150 guestrooms and 76 suites, many with private balconies, The Reach Resort would make a great choice for your Florida Keys beach wedding.

Tranquility Bay

Tranquility Bay Resort, Marathon

Florida Marriage License Requirements

To have a legal wedding ceremony in the state of Florida, you will need to obtain a marriage license at any County Clerk’s Office within the state. A blood test is not required. A waiting period of three days applies to Florida residents only; there is not a waiting period for non-residents of Florida.
Proper identification is necessary, such as a valid Driver’s License or Passport. Copies of applicable divorce decrees are required. Both the Bride and Groom must be present to obtain the license. Fees for a Florida marriage license are subject to change without notice so, check with any county office for current license fees.

In the Florida Keys, the Monroe County Clerk’s Offices are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding holidays. Your license will be issued immediately and must be used within 60 days. More information may be obtained from the Monroe County Clerk’s Offices – Key West 305-292-3458 or Marathon 305-289-6027. They can also be reached on the web Clerk of Court for Monroe County.

Weather in the Florida Keys
Generally speaking, the weather in the Keys can be described as tropical almost year round. For a complete listing of average temperatures (highs and lows) as well as avearge rainfall, click on each of the areas below:

Key Largo Weather

Islamorada Weather

Marathon Weather

Lower Keys Weather

Key West Weather

Florida Keys Sunset

The Best Sunsets on the Planet can be found in the Keys. If you are easily romanced by the dramatic glow of the sun’s rays as it sinks down into the horizon, you won’t want to miss a single sunset during your beach wedding. I’ve got to say that, even after seeing the sun setting over the south rim of the Grand Canyon–and it was pretty amazing–there’s not a better sunset anywhere in the world than those I’ve seen in the Keys.

Florida Keys sunset at Key West

Sunset in Key West

Captain Robbies Marina

Captain Robbie’s Marina, Islamorada

Seven Mile Bridge

Seven Mile Bridge, linking Marathon to the Lower Keys

dock at Pigeon Key

The Dock at Pigeon Key


Your Must-Know Guide to Great Beach Wedding Pictures

Marissa Siebert photography Marissa Siebert Photography

Your beach wedding pictures are one of the most important parts of your wedding planning. You’ll treasure these images of your wedding day for years to come so, read through the following for tips and ideas on creating beautiful beach wedding pictures.

Selecting a Wedding Photographer

If you’ve decided upon a beach wedding at a resort, chances are there’s a list of wedding photographers for you to choose from. Some of the larger resorts that specialize in destination weddings even have wedding photographers on staff.

I’ve seen some beautiful wedding pictures taken by resort staff photographers. After all, how can they screw up a gorgeous beachside backdrop you might ask?

Well, it can and does happen if you end up with an inexperienced wedding photographer.

Be sure that you ask to see examples of the photograher’s work. You certainly want someone who specializes in wedding pictures such that they know exactly what poses should be taken.

Checklist of Beach Wedding Pictures

You’ll not want to forget some of the following must-have poses for your wedding album:

Before the Wedding Ceremony

  1. You and any bridesmaids, flower girls, or ring bearers getting ready
  2. You and your maid or matron of honor
  3. You preparing to walk down the aisle
  4. A full length of the back of your wedding dress
  5. Your bouquet
  6. Your groom and his groomsmen getting ready
  7. The wedding ceremony location prior to anyone arriving

Wedding Ceremony Photos

  1. Guests arriving
  2. Ushers seating guests
  3. Parents and grandparents being seated
  4. The groom walking down the aisle or entering
  5. Closeup of the groom as you walk down the aisle
  6. The wedding party watching you walk down the aisle
  7. You walking down the aisle
  8. Flower girls or ring bearers walking down the aisle
  9. You and your groom exchanging your wedding vows
  10. Your first kiss as husband and wife
  11. You and your groom leading the recessional

Portraits following the Wedding Ceremony

  1. You and your groom
  2. You and your groom with the wedding officiant
  3. You and your groom with your side of the family
  4. You and your groom with his side of the family
  5. Signing of the wedding certificate
  6. Your hands together displaying your wedding bands

Reception Photos

    1. The wedding cake
    2. The reception site
    3. Guests awaiting your arrival at the reception
    4. The banquet stations
    5. First dances
    6. Toasts to you and your husband
    7. Guests dancing
    8. Cutting of your wedding cake
    9. Feeding each other the cake
    10. The bouquet toss
    11. The garter toss
  1. Your departure from the reception as husband and wife

A Tropical Setting to Say “I Do”

Most little girls dream of a magical fairytale wedding day when they will wed their Prince Charming. However, over the past couple of decades, the cost of a large traditional ceremony has almost gotten out of reach for many people! The old tradition of the bride’s parents paying for everything, has become financially impossible for a lot of families and, most engaged couples are now sharing in the expense.

If the thought of high expenses makes your head spin, a beach wedding ceremony at a seaside destination might end up being a less expensive alternative to a traditional hometown ceremony. By having a simple beach wedding ceremony somewhere other than your hometown, you may not feel the same sense of obligation to invite a large number of people. In other words, you can have a more intimate gathering with fewer guests, resulting in lower overall costs.

Even better still — and much lower costs — if only the two of you are in attendance!

Within this website, you’ll find information on…

  • Finding the perfect location
  • Deciding on a ceremony that fits with your style
  • Choosing a wedding dress that is most flattering to your body type
  • The 5 MUST haves for Wedding Night Intimate Apparel
  • What’s new in cake designs
  • How to keep your catering costs low by choosing fun beach-style foods
  • The latest fashions in engagement rings and bands
  • How a diamond ring is valued
  • Hosting a reception that guests will talk about long after your special day
  • How many bridesmaids and groomsmen should you have
  • And…you’ll even be able to read stories from other brides-to-be and share stories of your own planning

If you’re like most brides who begin their planning a year or more in advance, you’ll benefit from receiving my newsletter–it’s packed full of ideas and helpful information!

Destination Weddings

Questions You Must Ask When Deciding on the Best Beach Wedding Locations

What’s my budget for a beach wedding?

Finances play a major factor in which beach wedding locations you’ll be considering. Take a look at your finances–maybe you’ve already set aside money for your wedding or, maybe you’re one of the few lucky brides whose parents are able to cover your wedding expenses. If you and your groom are footing the bill, it’s a good idea to sit down now and decide just how much money you’ll have to spend.

  • What month of the year do I want to get married?

When we got married, we chose December as we wanted a cool-weather wedding and honeymoon. However, if you prefer vacationing (which is what your honeymoon really is) in warmer weather, you should choose a warm-weather month or a warm weather beach wedding destination to exchange your vows.

  • What type of wedding ceremony do I want?

Since you’re planning to exchange your wedding vows on the beach, you may want a really casual wedding ceremony– one where your wedding officiant is dressed in beach attire and conducts a simple ceremony covering just the basics…like your vows and blessing of your wedding bands, etc.

Or, just because your wedding venue is by the sea, doesn’t mean you can’t opt for a more traditional wedding ceremony complete with music, a large wedding party, guests, etc.

If you’re thinking of a very small romantic beach wedding location, you probably wouldn’t choose a beach known for it’s party atmosphere such as, South Beach in Miami, FL.

You get the idea here…the beach wedding location you choose will have the same “personality” as your ideal wedding ceremony.

  • What beach destinations have I always wanted to visit?

Now’s your chance! If you’ve dreamt of vacationing on a tropical beachsomewhere and being served drinks with little umbrellas while basking in the noonday sun, this may help to narrow the scope of your search for the perfect beach wedding destination. For example, if you’ve always wanted to visit the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and your wedding finances are in order, then tying the knot there makes perfect sense!

  • What size wedding party would I like to have?

My first wedding (yes, I’ve been through what you’re about to go through twice) I had six bridesmaids and six groomsmen. Why?Because, like you’re about to find out, it’s hard to leave out “cousin Martha” or your husband-to-be’s sister (even though you’ve only met her once). Or what about all of the guys whose weddings he was best man at or, all of the women whose weddings you were a bridesmaid (and still have the tafeta dresses to prove it!)?

So, that said, you really have to do some deep thinking on just where to draw the line.

You may find that, a beach wedding location farther away from your hometown may provide you with the perfect opportunity to scale down to a bare minimum number in your wedding party.

Or, if you’re truly dreaming of a large beach wedding party filled with high school and college friends as bridesmaids and groomsmen, or perhaps you come from a big, close family and want them all by your side as you exchange your wedding vows, then, you may decide that a beach wedding location closer to home would be the best choice for your beach wedding.

Sandals Whitehouse now Sandals South Coast