Explore top choices for the best place to elope in Florida. From scenic beaches to secluded gardens, find your dream location for an unforgettable elopement.
Florida is the perfect place for couples looking to tie the knot in an intimate wedding setting. With its beautiful beaches and diverse range of wedding venues, the state offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a Florida resident or planning a destination wedding, you’ll find a variety of options to make your wedding day special. From the stunning backdrops of tropical gardens to the gorgeous sands of places like Key Largo, Florida is not just a great place for beach weddings—it’s an ideal location for any elopement ceremony.
So, if you’re searching for the perfect location to say “I do,” look no further. Florida offers a mix of beautiful places, from its famous beaches to gorgeous gardens, making it a great option for couples wanting a memorable and affordable elopement.
Why Choose Florida for Your Elopement
The Sunshine State Awaits
Florida isn’t just a vacation hotspot; it’s a dream elopement destination. With its year-round warm weather, stunning beaches, and a plethora of romantic spots, it’s no wonder couples are flocking here to tie the knot.
- Weather: Expect sunny skies and warm temperatures, perfect for an outdoor ceremony.
- Scenery: From beaches to gardens, Florida offers a variety of picturesque settings.
- Ease of Planning: Many venues offer all-inclusive packages, making the planning process a breeze.
Best Seasons to Elope in Florida
Timing is Everything
When it comes to eloping in Florida, timing can make all the difference. While the state is known for its year-round sunshine, there are specific months that offer the best conditions for your special day.
- Winter (December to February): Cooler temperatures and less rainfall.
- Spring (March to May): Blooming flowers and moderate temperatures.
- Avoid Summer (June to August): Hot and humid, with a risk of hurricanes.
Legal Requirements and Paperwork
Crossing the T’s and Dotting the I’s
Before you can say “I do,” there are some legal boxes you’ll need to tick. From obtaining a marriage license to understanding witness requirements, it’s essential to be prepared.
- Marriage License: Available at any Florida county clerk’s office for a fee of $93.50.
- Waiting Period: A 3-day waiting period applies unless you’ve completed a pre-marital course.
- Witnesses: Optional in Florida, but you can have two if you wish.
bEST place to Elope in Florida: 10 Top Picks
Choosing the perfect venue for your elopement is like setting a precious gem—it enhances its beauty. Florida offers a treasure trove of unique venues that can make your elopement truly special. Here’s our curated list of top 10 unique venues, complete with personal tips and detailed information.
1. Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
Why Choose Bahia Honda?
Bahia Honda State Park is a gorgeous state park located in the Florida Keys. It offers a serene setting with crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches. The park is a paradise for nature lovers, featuring native Florida plants, bird-watching opportunities, and even a butterfly garden. The beaches here are less crowded than other more commercialized locations, giving you the privacy you might desire for your special day.
The park also offers a lot of amenities like picnic pavilions, restrooms, and even a nature center. It’s not just a place to say “I do,” but also a spot where you can make a whole day of memories. Whether you want to relax by the beach after your ceremony or take a snorkeling trip to explore the underwater world, Bahia Honda offers a range of activities to make your elopement unforgettable.
Easily accessible by car and offers ample parking.
- Consider a morning ceremony to avoid the afternoon crowds.
- Check the tide schedule for the best beach spots.
Moderate, with a permit fee required for events.
- Offers a variety of natural settings, from beaches to small islands you can boat to.
- Excellent for sunset ceremonies.
2. Leu Gardens, Orlando
Why Choose Leu Gardens?
Leu Gardens offers a completely different but equally enchanting setting for your elopement. Located in Orlando, this 50-acre botanical haven is home to a wide variety of plants, including tropical species, flowering trees, palms, azaleas, roses, and much more. The gardens are meticulously maintained and offer a sense of tranquility and timeless beauty, making them a perfect backdrop for your ceremony.
The venue offers several picturesque spots for your ceremony, including a historic mansion and a rose garden that’s in full bloom nearly year-round. The gardens also feature seasonal events and garden tours, so you can make your elopement part of a larger experience. Whether you’re a nature lover or just someone looking for a unique and beautiful setting, Leu Gardens offers a magical environment to exchange your vows.
Located in the heart of Orlando, easily accessible by car.
- The gardens can get busy, so aim for a weekday ceremony if possible.
- Check in advance for any scheduled events that might coincide with your date.
Moderate to high, depending on the specific location within the gardens you choose.
- Offers a range of settings from rose gardens to tropical forests.
- The historic mansion can serve as a beautiful backdrop for photos.
3. Deering Estate, Miami
Why Choose Deering Estate?
Nestled along the edge of Biscayne Bay, the Deering Estate offers an idyllic setting for couples looking for a touch of elegance and history. The estate is a cultural asset and historic site that’s been preserved to offer a glimpse into Florida’s early 20th-century history. With its grand stone mansion and lush, expansive grounds, the estate provides a variety of picturesque settings for your ceremony.
What sets Deering Estate apart is its unique combination of natural, archaeological, and historic sites. Imagine exchanging vows under a canopy of ancient oaks, with the bay’s calm waters as your backdrop. Or perhaps you’d prefer the grandeur of the Stone House, with its vintage charm. Either way, the estate offers a rich, multi-layered experience that goes beyond the typical beach setting.
Located in Miami, the estate is easily accessible by car and offers on-site parking.
- The estate is large, so scout your preferred ceremony spot in advance.
- Consider hiring a local photographer familiar with the estate to capture the best spots.
High, but you’re also paying for a unique and luxurious experience.
- Offers both indoor and outdoor settings.
- The estate itself serves as a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos.
4. Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Palm Coast
Why Choose Washington Oaks Gardens?
Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a unique Florida venue that offers more than just beaches. Located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River, this park offers a variety of natural settings including formal gardens, coquina rock formations, and a canopy of ancient live oaks. It’s a venue that offers both oceanic and rustic woodland vibes.
The Formal Gardens are the heart of this venue, featuring a koi pond, a rose garden, and numerous artistic sculptures. The gardens were originally part of a larger estate and they retain that cultivated, elegant feel. For those looking for something more rugged, the park’s beachside offers dramatic coquina rock formations that are unlike anything else in Florida. Whether you’re looking for elegance or natural beauty, Washington Oaks Gardens offers both.
The park is easily accessible by car, located off A1A.
- The gardens are most vibrant during the spring bloom, but they offer year-round beauty.
- The beachside can be windy; plan your attire accordingly.
Moderate, with a permit required for events.
- Offers a variety of settings, from formal gardens to rugged beachside.
- The coquina rock formations offer a unique and dramatic backdrop for photos.
4. Sunset Key Cottages, Key West
Why Choose Sunset Key Cottages?
Sunset Key Cottages offer a luxurious island experience right off the coast of Key West. Accessible only by boat, this venue provides an exclusive setting for couples looking for privacy and high-end amenities. The cottages are situated on a 27-acre private island, offering unparalleled views of the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine saying your vows as the sun sets, painting the sky in shades of orange and pink.
The venue offers a variety of settings for your ceremony, from beachside to garden spots, each offering a sense of seclusion and intimacy. The cottages themselves are beautifully designed, offering a blend of comfort and luxury. Whether you’re planning a simple ceremony or a lavish affair, Sunset Key Cottages offer the flexibility and the setting to make your elopement as unique as your love story.
The island is accessible by a private ferry service provided by the venue.
- The venue offers a variety of customizable packages, so you can tailor your experience.
- Consider staying a few extra days for a mini-honeymoon; the venue offers a range of activities from spa services to water sports.
High, but the exclusivity and luxury amenities justify the price.
- Offers both beachside and garden settings for your ceremony.
- The private island setting offers a sense of exclusivity and privacy.
5. Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota
Why Choose Siesta Key Beach?
Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota is renowned for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a public beach but offers various secluded spots perfect for an intimate ceremony. The beach has been consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States, making it a popular choice for couples looking for a classic beach elopement.
What sets Siesta Key Beach apart is its versatility. You can opt for a simple, barefoot ceremony by the water or go all out with a decorated arch and chairs. The beach also offers stunning sunset views, providing a magical backdrop for your vows and photos. Whether you’re a local Floridian or traveling from afar, Siesta Key Beach offers the quintessential beach elopement experience.
Easily accessible by car, with ample public parking available.
- Weekends can be crowded; consider a weekday ceremony for more privacy.
- Check the tide schedule to choose the best time and spot for your ceremony.
Low to moderate, depending on how elaborate your setup is.
- Known for its powdery white sand and clear waters.
- Offers stunning sunset views for evening ceremonies.
6. The Moorings Village, Islamorada
Why Choose The Moorings Village?
The Moorings Village in Islamorada offers a blend of luxury and natural beauty, set on a former coconut plantation. The venue features 18 West Indies-style homes spread across 18 acres, offering a sense of privacy and exclusivity. With over 1,000 feet of pristine white sand beach, it’s a venue that combines the best of both worlds: luxury accommodation and a stunning natural setting.
The venue offers various spots for your ceremony, from the beach to more secluded garden areas. The property is dotted with palm trees and features a beautiful pier that extends into the ocean, offering additional photo opportunities. The Moorings Village is more than just a venue; it’s a destination where you can extend your elopement into a luxurious honeymoon.
Located in the Florida Keys, the venue is accessible by car.
- The venue offers on-site accommodation, making it convenient for you and your guests.
- Consider a sunset ceremony on the pier for something truly magical.
High, but the venue offers various packages that include accommodation.
- Offers both beach and garden settings.
- The private homes offer a sense of exclusivity and luxury.
7. Dry Tortugas National Park, Key West
Why Choose Dry Tortugas National Park?
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote and unique national parks in the United States. Located about 70 miles west of Key West, the park is accessible only by boat or seaplane. Comprising seven small islands, it offers an unparalleled sense of adventure and seclusion. Imagine exchanging vows on a historic fort or a secluded beach, surrounded by turquoise waters.
The park is known for its coral reefs, marine life, and the 19th-century Fort Jefferson. It’s a venue that offers both natural beauty and a touch of history. Because of its remote location, it’s best suited for couples looking for a small, intimate ceremony without the trappings of a more commercial venue. If you’re an adventurous couple looking for an off-the-beaten-path location, Dry Tortugas could be your dream venue.
Accessible only by boat or seaplane, adding to its sense of adventure and exclusivity.
- Plan well in advance, as permits and logistics take time.
- Consider staying overnight for a unique “camping” experience.
Moderate to high, mainly due to transportation costs.
- Offers a sense of adventure and seclusion.
- The historic Fort Jefferson provides a unique backdrop.
8. The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
Why Choose The Ritz-Carlton, Naples?
If you’re looking for a venue that offers luxury and elegance, The Ritz-Carlton in Naples is a top contender. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the hotel offers a range of settings for your ceremony, from its pristine beach to its beautifully landscaped terraces. The Ritz-Carlton is synonymous with luxury and their wedding services are no exception, offering personalized service to make your elopement as unique as you are.
The hotel offers various packages that can include everything from your ceremony setup to a romantic dinner. The property itself offers numerous amenities, from a world-class spa to golf courses, allowing you to extend your elopement into a luxurious honeymoon. If you’re looking for a venue that offers a complete, high-end experience, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples could be your dream venue.
Easily accessible by car, located in Naples, Florida.
- Take advantage of the hotel’s amenities for a mini-honeymoon.
- The venue can be busy; book well in advance to secure your preferred date and setting.
High, but the level of service and amenities justify the price.
- Offers both beach and terrace settings.
- Known for its high-end, personalized service.
9. Anna Maria Island, Manatee County
Why Choose Anna Maria Island?
Anna Maria Island is a barrier island on Florida’s Gulf Coast, known for its sugary white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. The island offers a laid-back vibe, making it perfect for couples looking for a relaxed, yet stunning, beach setting for their elopement. The island is less commercialized than other Florida beach destinations, offering a sense of tranquility and natural beauty.
The island offers several beach spots that are perfect for a sunset ceremony. You can also opt for a ceremony on one of the island’s historic piers for a unique touch. Local vendors offer various elopement packages, from simple to elaborate, allowing you to customize your experience. If you’re looking for a beach venue that offers both beauty and a relaxed atmosphere, Anna Maria Island could be your ideal spot.
Accessible by car via a connecting bridge from the mainland.
- The island is popular for its sunsets; consider a late afternoon ceremony.
- Local vendors can help with permits and setup, making planning easier.
Moderate, depending on the package and setup you choose.
- Offers a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.
- Less commercialized than other Florida beach destinations.
10. The Breakers, Palm Beach
Why Choose The Breakers?
The Breakers in Palm Beach is an iconic luxury resort known for its Italian Renaissance-style architecture and opulent design. The venue offers a range of settings for your ceremony, from oceanfront locations to Mediterranean-style courtyards. The Breakers is more than just a venue; it’s a historic landmark that offers a sense of grandeur and timeless elegance.
The resort offers a range of wedding packages that include everything from floral arrangements to customized menus. The property also features numerous amenities like a spa, golf course, and multiple dining options, allowing you to extend your celebration into a luxurious stay. If you’re looking for a venue that offers both luxury and a range of options for your ceremony, The Breakers is a venue that can make your elopement truly unforgettable.
Easily accessible by car, located in Palm Beach, Florida.
- The venue offers both indoor and outdoor options, providing flexibility in case of weather changes.
- Take advantage of the on-site wedding planners to make your planning process seamless.
High, but the venue offers a complete luxury experience.
- Known for its opulent Italian Renaissance-style architecture.
- Offers a range of luxurious amenities to extend your celebration.
Consider a Elopement Package or Service
Navigating Your Options
Eloping doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the special touches that make a wedding memorable. Elopement packages can offer a simplified yet meaningful experience, but it’s crucial to know what to ask, what to look for, and what to avoid. Here’s a guide to help you navigate your options.
What to Ask When Inquiring
- What’s Included?: Always get a detailed list of what the package includes, from the ceremony setup to photography and officiating.
- Customization: Can elements be added or removed from the package?
- Hidden Costs: Are there any additional fees, like permits or travel expenses for vendors?
What to Look For
- Reviews: Always read reviews to get a sense of the provider’s reputation.
- Transparency: Look for providers who are upfront about costs and what’s included.
- Flexibility: A good package will offer some level of customization to suit your unique needs.
Things to Avoid
- Vague Descriptions: Steer clear of packages that don’t provide a detailed list of services.
- High-Pressure Sales Tactics: Avoid providers who try to upsell you on things you don’t need.
- Lack of Communication: If the provider is slow to respond or unclear in their answers, it might be a red flag.
- Budget: Have a clear budget in mind and make sure the package aligns with it.
- Legal Requirements: Ensure the package aligns with the legal requirements for getting married in your chosen location.
- Timing: Consider the time of year and any seasonal challenges that could affect your plans, like hurricane season in Florida.
By being informed and knowing what to look for, you can find an elopement package that makes your big day both special and stress-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
Eloping can bring up a lot of questions, especially when you’re planning from a distance or are unfamiliar with Florida’s specific requirements and offerings. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:
1. What is the best time of year to elope in Florida?
- Answer: The best time to elope in Florida generally falls during the dry season, from November to April. However, each season offers its own unique beauty and challenges.
2. Do we need a Florida marriage license, and how do we get one?
- Answer: Yes, you’ll need a Florida marriage license to make it official. You can obtain one from any county clerk’s office in Florida. [Insert link to Florida marriage license requirements]
3. Can we include family and friends in our elopement?
- Answer: Absolutely! While elopements are generally more intimate affairs, many couples choose to include close family and friends. Just make sure to check with your venue for any guest limitations.
4. How far in advance should we book our elopement package?
- Answer: It’s advisable to book at least 3-6 months in advance, especially if you’re planning to elope during peak season or at a popular venue.
Your Dream Florida Elopement Awaits
If you’re searching for the best place to elope in Florida, look no further. The Sunshine State offers a variety of stunning backdrops, from its world-renowned beaches to its enchanting botanical gardens. Whether you’re a local or coming from out of state, Florida has something to offer every couple. So take the plunge—your ideal elopement location in this beautiful state is just waiting to be found.