Get Married on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Yes, you can get married on Fort Lauderdale beach - free
What could be more romantic than a wonderful beach wedding? I live in Fort Lauderdale and I have to tell you that the beach here is the perfect location. Truly perfect.
If you're looking for a wonderful place for your destination wedding then beautiful South Florida will provide a beautiful setting and it's a fabulous place for your honeymoon too. There is no charge to marry on the beach - no fees at all - and you don't even need a permit. Even if you're eloping or planning a last minute wedding, Fort Lauderdale has everything you need. Read on!
The best time for your ceremony is, without doubt, dawn. Imagine exchanging vows as the sun climbs over the horizon. Our area has the most incredible sunrises and Mother Nature provides you with the perfect backdrop for this most romantic occasion. There no need to go to the expense of hiring a beautiful location and expensive décor; it's right here - and it's all free.
A sunrise is the dawning of a new day - a new beginning. And when you get married, that's just what's happening - it's a new beginning for the two of you as a couple. Holding your ceremony on the beach is symbolic of this new start, when the sun rises to start a new day and shines on you as you embark on married life.
Imagine this as the backdrop to exchanging your vowsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Get married by the ocean - the details
- I mentioned this above but I'm saying it again because it's important - there is no fee to get married on our beautiful sands. You don't even need a permit.
- The beach is perfect for a romantic wedding with just a few close friends. If you have other guests, that's no problem either. Just remember that you're not allowed to rope off a section of the beach which is a public area.
- At dawn, the chances are good that you'll have the shoreline almost to yourselves. Sometimes there will be a few fishermen, you might find a few people jogging or getting their daily exercise but they will be respectful of your privacy.
- If you wish, you can take chairs to the location for your guests. Normally the sand is firm and relatively level. Folding chairs are a good idea as they save space.
- You can also take a bridal arch with you for your ceremony. Do be aware though that you aren't able to use any sort of stakes to pin it down. If you're concerned about the stability of the arch, you can use sandbags to secure it. (Just take the bags, the sand is there already!)
- There are notaries that will perform your wedding at short notice. Just check Google or the local Yellow Pages. If you're eloping or suddenly decide to get married, it's no problem. These can be either civil ceremonies or religious - the choice is yours.
- There are plenty of hotels to choose from that are right on the beach. These are a lovely place to stay both before and after your ceremony. Many have facilities for a lovely reception too.
- This is because you won't be able to have your wedding reception on the beach but there are some wonderful locations nearby.
- Do bear in mind that the summer is the rainy season. However, it's quite unusual to have rain at dawn even at that time of year.
- Tiki torches are a great addition to your ceremony, especially if your celebrant begins the service just before the dawn.
Be sure to record the day
Isn't this a lovely photograph of the bride and groom right by the ocean? There are many local photographers available who will be happy to record your day.
Nature will provide the ultimate décor for your special day but a few accessories can be used as wedding favors (starfish) or for practical reasons such as lighting (tiki torches). If you're having a formal arch it's a great idea to decorate it with fishing net for a nautical touch.
After your ceremony
There are so many places to enjoy nearby. And if you plan to have a budget wedding, it's good to know that many of these are free or incredibly inexpensive. After a dawn marriage ceremony why not go to Las Olas Boulevard, definitely the area's most romantic street, for breakfast. There's everything from a quirky American diner to a romantic colonnaded dining patio in an historic hotel.
If you're looking for a place for a photo shoot to commemorate your day, Colee Hammock Park is lovely and is right on the river.
Our city is known as the Venice of America and nothing could be more romantic than travelling through the area by boat. You can charter a yacht for yourself and your guests or, if you're on a tight budget, choose one of the many tours in the area. Try the Carrie B or the Jungle Queen.
If you are planning to have a reception, there are so many places to choose from both on land and on water. My favorite? The grounds of the Stranahan House - the oldest building in the city. It's an inexpensive venue and is right on the romantic New River.
More tips for the perfect day
- Make sure that someone is able to take photographs with a cell phone and upload them to social media. This way, friends who aren't able to attend can follow the ceremony in real time.
- Early in the morning, parking is rarely a problem in the area. If you have several guests though, it may be better to hire a people carrier so that there's only one vehicle to park. Remember to have quarters or nice flat dollar bills for the meter!
- Do make sure that your guests know that your ceremony will be on the beach. Very high-heeled shoes just aren't going to work!
- It's a good idea to have an attractive cooler with bottled water and slices of Florida oranges for your guests. Although it's not hot at that hour, it's nice to offer simple refreshments.
- Try to have someone who is designated as clean-up person. You don't want to spoil the beach by leaving debris and it's a lovely idea to ask someone to make sure that you leave the area in the same beautiful condition in which you found it.
- There aren't many gulls or other birds on Fort Lauderdale beach but a beautiful flag blowing in the breeze can ensure that no birds bother you. It can also be a lovely part of your wedding décor and also forms a marker for when guests arrive 'just look out for our flag'.
- You need only the simplest décor. The sunrise and the ocean provides your backdrop. If you want a formal arch, these can be rented locally but it's the beauty of nature that provides the real décor.
What if it rains!
The chances are low, but it could happen. If it's just the two of you, then you have a couple of choices. You can postpone your wedding until the next day or you can go ahead with it and have fun! Sometimes, the best memories can be created by things appearing to 'go wrong'. Your wedding officiant will work with you. If you're staying in a hotel, they'll have some huge umbrellas that you can borrow which will make for some great fun photographs to look back on.
If you don't have those options, the chances are that your hotel will be able to accommodate you and your guests in one of their function rooms or on a covered patio where your ceremony can take place.
Remember too that beach hotels are accustomed to their guests having weddings and they may have an easily erected canopy that they'll be happy to let you use.
If you have to rethink your plans and change location, many local parks have gazebos that can be used for your ceremony, although unlike the beach, there is often a fee. To find out more, call 954-828-PARK.
Because so many events take place in this beautiful area, simply take a look in a search engine for rental items. You'll be able to find many place where you can hire a tent or canopy.
See more of the beauty of Fort LauderdaleClick thumbnail to view full-size
All photographs by Andy Royston and used with written permission.