Beach Weddings - Planning Info

Destin beach wedding tips from our experts

Beach Weddings in Destin Florida

How Our Wedding Planners Can Save You Time, Stress and Money

Take a glance at the step-by-step Destin Beach Wedding planning guide below and you might quickly realize that you need someone who has local connections and experience with planning beach weddings.

Here are the five top reasons to consider SunQuest Beach Weddings and our planners to help with your wedding:

1. Save time: A traditional destination beach wedding requires planning at least 8 months in advance but can be done in as little as 2 weeks with a wedding planner. Save time by going through one experienced company for all your Destin wedding needs. SunQuest Beach Weddings offers planning / coordination services, catering, flowers, rentals and more.

2. Save stress: The best gift you can give yourselves is a wedding planner so you can enjoy every moment of your big day. You can count on us to be your expert eyes before, during and after your wedding, offering a seamless experience from beginning to end. We will handle all the expected and unexpected details of your beach wedding, including inclement weather and back-up venues. We will also connect you and coordinate with reliable, experienced local wedding vendors for photography, wedding cakes, videography and more.

3. Save money: All our Destin Wedding Packages include the services of our experienced wedding planners. Our packages offer all-inclusive pricing with services fees and taxes so you know exactly what to expect. SunQuest Beach Weddings can also help with costs of other local wedding vendors, helping you identify the right ones within your budget that offer the best value and services.

4. Personalized Attention: Our wedding planners believe that each wedding should be as unique at the couple themselves. We have planned weddings with couples across the country, mostly over email or phone. We start with identifying the type of experience your envision. How do you want your guests to feel when they leave your destination wedding? What was the best memory they took away? We will creatively execute your vision and bring to light options that you might not have been aware of.

5. Exceeding Your Expectations: Our wedding planners are known for being readily available, having an intrinsic attention to detail, being flexible, planning for the unexpected, maximizing budgets and going above and beyond. That’s why we have been the recipient of review-based awards for 8 consecutive years, including the Knot and WeddingWire.

Beach Weddings in Destin Florida Planning Guide

Step-by-Step Florida Destination Wedding Planning Guide
1. SET THE DATE
  • Choose a Destin Beach Wedding Destination (read the next section below)
  • Determine your headcount and send out Save-the-Date cards with info to follow.
2. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER / COORDINATOR
  • Save yourself time, stress and money. After you make the massive to-do list for your Florida Destination Wedding, you might realize that this is too huge to take on yourself. Hire an expert wedding planner who is familiar with the area and knows experienced Destin wedding vendors to ensure a successful destination wedding.
  • Many unexpected things can occur at Destin beach weddings. Make sure your wedding planner has experience planning Destin beach weddings and knows how to handle the unexpected, i.e. special decor for beach weddings, back-up venues in case of rain, etc.
  • Wedding planning services should include a coordinator the day of your wedding who will handle all the logistics from the beginning to the end of the day with your outside vendors and ensure the day runs smoothly
  • We are different because we offer an all-inclusive experience for Destin wedding planning, catering, flowers, rentals and more. Contact us.
3. SELECT YOUR VENUE(s)

Decide a tentative number of guests and Research / Select your Ceremony/Reception Venue. Consider the following:

  • Determine your overall budget.
  • Check Pinterest or Wedding Magazines to decide on a theme, color scheme, etc.
  • Does your venue come with a full service wedding coordinator? If not, you should look into hiring a Destin wedding planner to pull off a flawless, stress-free event.
  • Ask your wedding planner to show you some all-in-one Destin wedding venues that can host all of your bridal events, including the rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception to save money on transportation and reduce stress.
  • Does your reception venue come with catering? If not, you will need to research and book a Destin Wedding Catering company.
  • Does your reception venue allow alcohol? Is that important to you? If so, do you need bar service? Does catering provide that?
  • Does your reception venue provide tables, chairs, linens, etc.? If not, you will need Destin Wedding Rentals.
  • Is your ceremony on the beach? If so, where and what are the current laws/requirements for that? Are there fees involved? If so, get these things handled so your date and location will be locked in. (see laws below)
  • What is the back-up plan in case of rainy / inclement weather?
  • Does your ceremony package include an officiant? If not, you’ll need to obtain one — talk with a LOCAL wedding coordinator.
  • Will you need Destin Beach Wedding rentals such as arches, chairs, etc.? Who will set up and clean up?
  • Consider having a microphone at your Destin Beach Wedding so your guests can hear you. The sound of the wind, waves and the general public will make it hard to hear.
  • Dreaming of a sunset beach wedding? Visit www.sunrisesunset.com/usa/florida.asp to find out what time the sun will set.
  • View some of our All-inclusive Destin Beach Wedding PackagesVenue Options or contact us to discuss others.
4. BOOK A CATERER / DETERMINE YOUR WEDDING MENU
  • Hire a Destin Fl Wedding Catering company if you venue requires outside catering.
  • Plan your wedding menu carefully with your wedding planner and catering expert. This is where most of your budget will be spent and special attention must be paid to serving portions, service fees, etc.
  • What alcohol and drinks will you serve?
  • What rentals does your caterer provide, i.e. linens, plates, glasses, silverware, etc.?
  • Will you require a wait staff?
  • View some of our Destin Wedding Catering Packages or contact us to discuss other options.
5. BOOK A FLORIST FOR YOUR WEDDING FLOWERS
  • Bring your wedding theme / color ideas when meeting with your Destin Florist.
  • Is your florist experienced with Destin Beach Weddings? What types of flowers won’t wilt?
  • Will your florist come set up? Are they experienced with setting up flowers on the beach that
    will be secure in case of wind?
  • Do they offer rentals like colored linens & other decorative items such as plate chargers,
    centerpieces, furniture, etc?
  • View some of our Destin Wedding Flower Packages or contact us to discuss other options.
6.BOOK A PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Choose a reliable Destin Florida wedding photographer with Destin Florida Beach Weddings experience.
  • SunQuest Beach Weddings has reliable connections with Destin wedding photographers to meet any budget. Contact us for recommendations.
7. BOOK A DJ
  • A must-have for a successful, fun reception.
  • Plan your music selection and timeline with your wedding coordinator. Your wedding coordinator will make sure the correct songs are played at the right time for your first dances and reception.
  • SunQuest Beach Weddings has reliable connections with Dj / entertainment options to meet any budget. Contact us for recommendations.
8. TRANSPORTATION
  • Will you need transportation to and from events?
  • Make sure to provide accurate addresses / directions for your guests for all bridal events, i.e. rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, etc.
  • SunQuest Beach Weddings has built long-standing relationships with reliable transportation companies. Contact us for recommendations.
9. CHOOSE YOUR DESTIN BEACH HOTELS / ACCOMMODATIONS

Sometimes this can go hand in hand with your ceremony/reception venue (especially if it is a beach ceremony)

  • Block rooms for your guests if applicable.
  • Work with your wedding planner on accommodations in close proximity to your wedding and reception.
  • Consider accommodations that offer private rooms / ballrooms to use for your wedding.
  • SunQuest Beach Weddings has local connections with a variety of accommodations to fit any budget and group size. Contact us for recommendations.
10. SEND INVITATIONS
  • Send at least 6 weeks in advance, months in advance if planning a Florida Destination wedding.
  • Make sure you prepare your guests by letting them know that your wedding is in the sand –
    include helpful items in their welcome bags.
  • Include specific directions, accommodation recommendations, etc.
  • Create wedding web site with all info for your guests on the area, things to do, itinerary, etc.
11. SAY “YES” TO THE DRESS
  • Start “pinning” pictures of color schemes, themes, etc.… that you like so you can coordinate with your bridesmaids and have things to show your florist, wedding planner, etc.
  • Allow time for alterations when ordering your dress.
  • Get bridesmaids measurements and order dresses; consider time for alterations.
  • Contact us for recommendations.
12. CHOOSE YOUR REHEARSAL DINNER VENUE
13. BOOK HAIR/MAKE UP
14. BOOK A BAKERY FOR WEDDING CAKE
15. IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS
  • Shop for things like guest book, flower girl basket, party favors, out-of-town guest baskets, bridal party / parent gifts, etc.
  • Visit Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or work with your wedding planner
  • Destination wedding info: Info on area, things to do, itinerary
16. CONFIRM TIMELINES, GUEST COUNTS AND FLOOR PLANS WITH YOUR WEDDING COORDINATOR.
17. OBTAIN A MARRIAGE LICENSE AND BEACH WEDDING PERMIT IF NECESSARY (see below)
18. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY EVERY MOMENT BECAUSE IT WILL GO BY FAST!
Beach Town Options

Our wedding planners give you an insider view into the difference between many our Destin beach towns, all offering a beautiful backdrop for romantic beachside weddings as well as the convenience and natural beauty of state beach parks. (listed in order from west to east) :

    • Fort Walton Beach (Okaloosa County) – Cute and busy beach town. If you like laid back with a little hustle and bustle of the local marketplace, this is your destination. Offers variety of hotels, some condos and few beach houses.

 

    • Okaloosa Island (Okaloosa County) – The Island has it all! With several hotels and condos located right on the beach, it makes a laid back beach vacation a breeze. Local restaurants, bars, and activities for the kids make Okaloosa Island a family friendly destination.

 

    • Destin (Okaloosa County) —The best of both worlds, the central point of activity. Destin is a historic, laid back, beautiful beach town with resorts, hotels, and beach houses all convenient to the beautiful Harbor Walk Village, Destin Commons, and gorgeous white sand beaches. Easy to access the famous “Crab Island”, an underwater playground with live music, inflatables and more.  Destin is busy yet beachy and has it all for all ages!

 

    • Miramar Beach / Sandestin (Walton County) – Beach houses become more frequent in Miramar Beach. Still offering hotels and condos, but beach houses become more prevalent along the city’s beachside scenic Hwy. 98. and the all-inclusive Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. With the many public beach accesses, private beaches and beach homes right on the water, this area makes it easy to coordinate beach weddings, bonfires, and more. Also home to great shopping, dining and entertainment options with Silver Sands Premium Outlets and Grand Boulevard at Sandestin Town Center.

 

    • Santa Rosa Beach (Walton County) —Stunning and laid back beach town. Not as many condos and hotels in this area. It is flooded with beach houses along the beautiful emerald coast.

 

  • 30A (Walton County) – Upscale beach highway home to beautiful beach homes and gorgeous, quant, beach towns. Very artsy and music driven, home to mom and pop shops, no commercial franchises here. If you are looking for a quiet, eclectic, yet whimsical experience, this is the place for you!
Airport Overview
    • PNS (Pensacola Airport) is a 50-mile drive from Destin, offering American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta, Silver Airlines and United.

 

    • VPS (the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport) is a 15-mile drive from Destin, offering American Airlines, United, Delta and more.

 

  • ECP (Northwest Florida / Panama City Beach Airport) is a 50-mile drive from Destin, offering Delta, Southwest and United flights.
Beach Wedding Permits & Maps

The Destin/30A area spans two counties and both have different laws related to Beach Wedding permits. In either County, beach wedding ceremony permits are based on availability and availability is limited.

Walton County Beach Wedding Laws

Walton County Beach Wedding Laws: Walton County includes the areas of Miramar Beach, Sandestin and all of 30A. The laws have recently changed regarding Public Beach Weddings in Walton County. These laws do not apply to private beach houses or condos that allow beach weddings.

If you plan to have your beach wedding ceremony on a Public Beach Access in Walton County, please consider the following:

Previous to Spring 2017, Public Beach Wedding permits were $50 across the board for those with weddings of 50+ guests. Walton County has recently changed the fee structure for Public Beach Wedding Permits and the fee structure is as follows:

  • $50: less than 10 people
  • $150: for 10 – 30 people
  • $250: for 31 – 50 people
  • $500: for 51-75 people
  • $1,000: for 76+ people

Also, only one permit is allowed per day at each public beach in Walton County. If the talk of the ever-changing permits laws make your head spin, hire a local wedding planner so you can relax and enjoy your experience.

Okaloosa County Beach Wedding Laws

Okaloosa County includes all the Destin areas west of Miramar Beach, including Okaloosa Island and Fort Walton Beach.

  • If you plan to have your Destin beach wedding on a Public Beach Access in Okaloosa County, please consider the following:
  • $0: for 49 or less guests
  • $200: for 50+ guests ($100 of that is a security deposit that the County will return to you if no damages to the beach)
  • If your beach ceremony is at a “City of Destin Public Beach Access Location”, neither the city nor the county requires a beach permit at all.

The whole point of getting married at the beach is to have a romantic, perfect experience. Hire a local wedding planner to handle the hassles like the ever-changing beach permit laws.

Florida Marriage License

Florida residents are required with a minimum 3-day waiting period, unless they have completed the premartial course.

Out-of-state residents can get married the same day they obtain their marriage license.

The ceremony can be performed anywhere in the state of Florida and the license is valid for 60 days of issuance.  Florida residents are required with a minimum 3-day waiting period, unless they have completed the premartial course. Out-of-state residents can get married the same day they obtain their marriage license. The ceremony can be performed anywhere in the state of Florida and the license is valid for 60 days of issuance.

You must bring:

  • Each person will need one valid form of ID – State ID Card, Valid Driver’s License, Military ID card, or Valid Passport.
  • Non-residents or residents who have not completed the premarital course – $93.50 fee
  • Residents who have completed the course – $61 fee
  • No blood tests or physical exams required.

A marriage can not be officially recorded until the license is returned to the Clerk. It should be returned with 10 days after the wedding. The party who performed the wedding is responsible for returning the completed license.

A marriage license may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office at any of the courthouse below:

Okaloosa County Courthouse     

  • 101 E. James Lee Blvd Room 10
  • Crestview, FL 32563  850.689.5000 ext. 3

Walton County / South Walton Clerk of Courts

The Clerk of Courts has two offices in Walton County and in South Walton at the South Walton Courthouse Annex. Call 850.267.3066

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