How to Plan a Perfect Pensacola Beach Wedding

destination weddings pensacola beach fl

Destination Weddings Pensacola Beach FL

Are sunsets, crystal clear waters and beach breezes in your wedding dreams? No need to catch a plane to some faraway land. With miles of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches right here in Pensacola Beach, we have spectacular venues to accommodate any style.

As they become increasingly popular, destination weddings have the potential to be more cost-effective and intimate than a hometown ceremony … with careful planning. Lucky for you, we’re here to help. As an added bonus, you won’t have to travel to begin your honeymoon.

Let us help you turn your wedding dream into a reality with these seven tips for a planning a perfect Destination Wedding from Smart Money.

Get a head start: Decide on your venue at least 6 to 9 months in advance, and even longer if you are planning your special day during the busy season. Your venue helps determine the mood, so think about whether you are looking for a rustic, beachy or sophisticated theme. Settle on the basics such as your budget and the size of your wedding party, and then give your guests plenty of notice – since they will need to make travel arrangements. Here at the Hilton Pensacola Beach, we offer some great options for your ceremony and reception – indoor and outdoor.

Time it right: Did we mention the busy season? April to October is prime beach time, so if a coastal June wedding is your heart’s desire, you may need to start planning early. However, many destinations are just as beautiful (if not more so) in the off-season of November to March. The weather is perfect for outdoor festivities, the beaches are quieter and the hotels are less crowded.

Research requirementsOnce your location and date are set, you will need to research marriage and potential permit requirements, as they vary by state and county. (Thank you, Google.) Some beach weddings and receptions require such things as a detailed list of all equipment you will be using. Check out these ceremony suggestions and reception basics for thoughtful tips.

In our area, both bride and groom must be 18 years of age, and proof of age will be required to obtain the marriage license.

In any Florida county, the bride and groom must apply for a Marriage License in order to be married here. In the immediate Pensacola Beach area, the closest location for this is:

Santa Rosa County Service Center
5819 Gulf Breeze Blvd
Gulf Breeze, Florida
Tel: (850) 934-8187

License Fee: $ 93.50

Local Rules:  There will be a waiting period of 3 days if either person is a resident of Florida. There is no waiting period for non-residents. If either party has been divorced within the past year, Santa Rosa County requires a certified copy of the Final Judgment or Decree. If it has been longer than a year, you need to furnish only the date your last marriage ended (month/day/year).

Love the localsWork with a bridal consultant, wedding planner or venue liaison in your chosen location. They will help simplify your process by guiding you through the maze of potential pitfalls, connecting you with area vendors and serving as your expert on all things the community has to offer.

At our property, we’ll happily connect you with our preferred vendors and guide you through arrangements such as flowers, photography, entertainment, beauty & spa services and place cards. We’ll be on-hand from the rehearsal dinner to your farewell brunch. With every detail taken care of, you and your family can relax and enjoy the warm ocean breezes, wiggle your toes in the sand and soak up the welcoming, luxurious ambiance of our resort.

Shop for specials: The simple fact is, a destination wedding is the best way to avoid inviting hundreds of people you barely know to share in your big day – which can amount to big savings. Hotels often offer group discount rates, venues may have special pricing in the off-season, and you should always check online for timely package deals.

Schedule a visit: The good news is, the distance can make you decisive. You will want to meet with your planner, enjoy a site visit and tour the hotel in advance of your wedding. This will help to minimize last minute surprises. Your pre-wedding stay is the perfect opportunity to schedule a hair and make-up trial run, have a spa day with your love or loved ones … or maybe indulge in some you time.

Guide your guests: Be mindful that those attending will be paying for their travel, meals and accommodations. Try to make it easy, fun and affordable for them, by negotiating group rates for hotel and travel options. List information for driving directions getting to and from the nearest airport, as well as your wedding venue. Have a welcome bag full of essentials in their room and a list of entertaining things to do.

Relax and enjoy: The very best reason for having a destination wedding and local planner is to minimize your stress, so let your planner work out those last-minute details. Arrive early if time and finances allow. Get your to-do’s done so you can take advantage of the local scenery and be calm, cool and collected once your family and friends begin to arrive.

Then, you can sail off into the sunset with your mind at ease.

– Ashley Kahn Salley
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels