Wedding bliss In FLORIDA
Barefoot on a Florida beach, the sun shining on shimmering waters and the person you love standing next to you – life get any better than that on your Big Day!
Whether you want to tie the knot on a picture-perfect white sandy beach or exchange your vows Disney style in an Orlando theme park, a wedding in Florida is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience. Few destinations can offer as much as Florida for wonderful civil ceremonies, vow renewals and glorious honeymoons!
Your wedding can be arranged on the beach, in lush gardens and in wedding chapels for as many guests as you wish – and for something very different, how about a wedding with Mickey Mouse as a guest? At Walt Disney World the bride can even arrive in Cinderella’s coach. Or you could get wed in a helicopter or hot air balloon and even exchange rings under water!
Couples wanting to get married in Florida can, if they wish, leave all the organising to someone else. Choose the date and one of numerous wedding companies will do the rest – from requesting the marriage license to ordering the cake and flowers.
Many travel companies also do wedding and honeymoon packages to suit all budgets. And there are plenty of extra perks available. Get married at Amelia Island Plantation Chapel and enjoy a spa day, golf day or rehearsal dinner. Fishing trips and excursions can be arranged for the wedding party.
Orlando’s theme parks – Disney, Universal and SeaWorld – are extremely popular with honeymoon couples – spend the day on thrill rides and then head out to party at Downtown Disney or Universal City Walk.
Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Coast is great for walkers and cyclists and Miami for ‘beautiful people’ who want a touch of the glamorous side of Florida. The gulf coast of Florida offers stunning white sandy beaches, natural islands and wildlife. Couples who want to sail further afield should consider a honeymoon cruise. Major cruise liners leave ports, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Port Canaveral, for destinations including the Bahamas and Caribbean Islands. Only one thing to do – say, “I do” to Florida!
A license can be applied for in person at a courthouse. Both the bride and groom must appear in person, or apply by mail before arriving in Florida. The cost is around £60. The license is valid for 60 days from the date of issue. Courthouses are open from Monday to Friday only so make sure you leave time when making travel arrangements.
Get married on the beach and you could be standing in a raised heart in the sand as warm water laps close by. Choose a garden and a flower-strewn garden gazebo can be the centrepiece for your wedding.
5 Things to do
Hire a car
And have a honeymoon on the road, driving from one beautiful beach resort to another as you discover all that Florida has to offer
- Over the amazing Kennedy Space Centre on the Space Coast and see the shuttle launch pads as you parachute to the ground from 18,000 ft.
Celebrate the sunset
Spend a romantic evening watching the sun go down from Pier 60 during nightly celebrations at Clearwater Beach
From the giant exploding volcano at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Universal City Walk, Orlando
Pick Sea shells
On Sanibel Island – known as one of the Shell Islands because of the perfect seashells.
The Florida Keys is a 113-mile long chain of islands linked by Highway 1, which takes you on a sensory overload journey over the ocean through the Keys. It begins at the southernmost tip of the Florida’s mainland and travels first to Key Largo and ends at charming and historical Key West. The Florida Keys offer natural beauty and some of the finest fishing and diving in the world – they are home of the only living Coral Reef in the USA.
Fort Myers, Sanibel & Captiva
White beaches, blue skies, Spanish architecture, lush greenery and world-class shelling are in abundance in southwest Florida where the Gulf of Mexico laps uninhabited islands which provide sanctuary to wildlife. Fort Myers is the area’s urban anchor, with shopping, restaurants and nightlife, whereas Sanibel and Captiva represent some of the best beaches with stunning natural beauty, sugar white sand and teal waters. Reached by a long causeway, the islands offer a welcoming village-esque sense of hospitality.
Miami is one of the world’s most popular vacation spots, which is not surprising as this vibrant city has plenty to offer – from the trendy nightlife of South Beach and the bustle of Calle Ocho and the high energy of Little Havana to the plush hotels of Miami Beach and its long stretch of white sand, and the historic hideaways of Coral Gables. There are plenty of shopping opportunities in modern, sprawling malls in contrast with the family-owned shops of Coconut Grove. Miami is also the world’s biggest cruise port.
The city of Orlando remains the theme park capital of the world. It offers attractive parks, lakes, world-renowned gardens as well as those beloved theme parks – Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Sea World and many others as well as the famous Hard Rock Cafe. But Orlando also offers world-class hotels, shopping opportunities for every budget, year-round golf courses and some of the most enticing dining opportunities on the planet.
St Petersburg & Clearwater
The area is made up of 26 distinct communities, each with its own flavor. St Pete/Clearwater is famous for award-winning beaches, including St Pete Beach, Caladesi Island State Park, Clearwater Beach and Fort De Soto Park. Outdoor recreation and natural attractions, from boating to biking to wildlife viewing are abundant throughout the year. The area also offers shopping, dining and entertainment.
The Everglades National Park is a rare and beautiful place. It’s a beautiful wilderness with rugged, subtropical landscape experienced by a relatively few adventurous souls each year. The best way to see the Everglades is on a guided tour by Airboat, when you can get up close to the spectacular wildlife. The Florida Everglades is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side, however, the symbol of this vast ecosystem is the Florida panther.