How to Elope in Florida

The Sunshine State is a very popular elopement destination thanks to its year-round good weather, World-famous beaches and tropical scenery.
Outline map of Florida

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Why is Florida great for an elopement?

Florida is one of my favorite elopement destinations! With its beautiful tropical and subtropical climate, palm tree-lined streets and gorgeous blue water beaches, you are sure to find an amazing location for your wedding. For those who want something with more buzz and excitement, there are busy locations such as Miami with its bustling nightlife or the thrilling parks in Orlando. Or the daredevils may choose an alligator-spotting boat tour in the Everglades. Florida really does have something to offer every couple looking to elope.

Unsurprisingly, the Sunshine State has good weather all year-round. However, Spring is the most popular time of year to get married in Florida due to its warm (but not too hot) weather, and the lower chance of rain than the Summer months.


All states require a marriage license, so you need to ensure that you understand all of the requirements very early in the planning process. Luckily, it’s fairly straightforward in most cases as long as you meet the criteria and follow the state requirements.

Here is what you need to know about getting a marriage license in Florida.

Is Same Sex Marriage Recognized?

Yes! Same sex marriage is recognized in all states, and at a federal level, under the Respect for Marriage Act which was signed into law in December 2022.

Will I Need to take a blood test?

No. Blood tests have been abolished as part of marriage license applications in all 50 states, so don’t worry if you’re afraid of needles!

Who Issues Marriage Licenses in Florida?

The County Clerk issues marriage licenses in Florida.

Do I Need to be a Resident of Florida?

You do not have to be a Florida resident to apply for a marriage license.

Is there a waiting period to get married?

There is a waiting period of 3 days to marry in Florida for residents who have not completed a pre-marital course. There is no wait time for residents who complete the pre-marital course, and the waiting period also does not apply to non-residents. Those completing the premarital course can also receive a discount on their application fee.

How long will my marriage license be valid for?

Marriage licenses in Florida expire 60 days after their date of issue.


Individuals must be ages 18 years or over to apply for a marriage license. Those aged 16 and 17 may apply for a marriage license with parental consent.


Valid photo identification is required. Options include: passport, driver’s license, state ID card or military identification. You may also be required to present your social security number and a certified copy of your birth certificate.


The standard marriage license fee is $86 in Florida, which can be reduced to $61 if the couple attends a premarital class and can provide proof.

On Your Wedding Day

Once you’ve gotten the admin out of the way, you can get to the part you’ve been dreaming of: the wedding ceremony!

As you’d expect, each state has different requirements to make a marriage legal. Make sure you follow the guide below to get your marriage legally recognized.

Will i need witnesses to the marriage?

There are no witness requirements to marry in Florida.


An officiant is required for weddings in Florida, which can be a minister of any faith including those ordained online. It is best to check the exact requirements with the local County Clerk, as some places do not require any check on officiants whilst others may require ministers to present their ordination credentials.

Ideas For Eloping In Florida

When To Elope In Florida

Most of Florida has a humid, subtropical climate with long hot summers, and milder winters that has rain. The southernmost part of the state is considered tropical. The summer months usually see brief, but heavy, thunderstorms and rainfall.

  • December and January offer relief from the intense heat, and typically sees fewer crowds, which can provide a more peaceful setting for your ceremony
  • March is pleasant, but coincides with Spring Break, so costs are usually higher and venues more crowded
  • April – May strikes a nice balance, with longer days and comfortable temperatures; perfect for outdoor ceremonies
  • June brings rain, so it’s advisable to have a back up indoor, or covered, venue
  • July – August see the peak months for tourism, meaning your ceremony may lack the intimate atmosphere due to larger crowds.

Hurricane season spans June – November, but despite this, September and October are appealing months to elope in Florida due to the milder weather. Just make sure you have a backup plan in place for inclement weather and monitor forecasts leading up to the day!

A bride and groom dance under a tree in Florida

What To Wear

With the weather and temperatures sometimes being intense, picking the right outfit for a Florida elopement will help you to enjoy the day while also being prepared. Comfort is crucial to relax and create beautiful memories, so plan your elopement attire carefully!

Choose light fabrics to help with Florida’s heat. Airy materials such as chiffon, lace, or silk, will help to keep cool throughout the ceremony. I always recommend going with flowy styles to embrace the relaxed beach vibe and allow for easy movement. As for the men, go for breathable fabrics and lighter colors that will keep you cooler than a dark suit and help with the relaxed look.

For your shoes, you must prioritize comfort! If you’re holding your ceremony on a beach, then select something like sandals or flats. If you must wear heels, wedges will give you some added stability. Another option for beach ceremonies is going barefoot. Many couples ditch shoes altogether for a beach elopement, letting you get closer to nature and creating a more laid-back feel to the day.

Location Ideas:

Florida has so many great elopement location ideas that I couldn’t hope to name them all. However, here are a few of my favorite locations that I’ve photographed over the years.

West Palm Beach Area

Riverbend Park:

If you’re feeling adventurous, check out Riverbend Park in Jupiter. It’s a beautiful park that is fitting for ‘boho’ couples. Over 7 miles of horse trails and 10 miles of shell-packed trail ways for bikers and hikers. There’s so much beauty in this park, it’s the perfect place for an elopement.

Jupiter Beach Resort:

If you’re looking for something with a little more ‘pizazz’ for a romantic sunset elopement, then you should check out the Jupiter Beach Resort. They have an amazing, intimate sand dune overlooking a beautiful beach. There are also dining options including an oceanfront restaurant, a lounge, and a poolside bar. And the highlight being a spa if you two wish to treat yourself and relax!

The Pelican Club:

If you have been to Jupiter, Florida, then you know this iconic view: The Jupiter Lighthouse! It certainly doesn’t disappoint in real life, or in the photos. From the crystal clear turqoise water, the swaying palm trees and the warm ocean breeze, it’s no wonder so many couples are choosing the Pelican Club to have their wedding. Nestled along the Loxahatchee River and Jupiter Intracoastal waterways where the aqua blue waters of the Gulf Stream infiltrate at high tide. You can have your ceremony on the deck or inside and catch the beautiful views in your photographs.

The Jupiter Lighthouse in Jupiter, Florida

Key West Area

There are certain milestones in life that deserve a first-class celebration that will forever remain in the hearts and minds of all who were there to witness your special day. Tying the knot on the calming Gulf waters of Key West Harbor with a gorgeous sunset backdrop is about as amazing as it gets. Just imagine yourself dressed in your bridal best, surrounded by friends and loved ones as you embark on the journey of a lifetime. There’s no better way to say ‘I do.’

Catamaran Cruise:

You can hire a 65′ sailing caramaran which features:
  • Seating Capacity of 127 Passengers
  • Shaded Lounge Area
  • Fresh Water Rinse
  • Seated Sun Deck
  • Large Sun Deck
  • Two Bathrooms
  • Complimentary Beer, Wine, Champagne & Soda

But you can go simpler if it’s just the two of you and book a tour house cruise on the water. This is perfect for either a large destination wedding, or an intimate elopement.

If you’re looking for a Key West beach location, there are some limitations. There is only one public beach suitable for weddings that doesn’t have a site fee or permit. Smather’s Beach is a thin stretch of beach with palm trees and white sand which makes for beautiful images. Since it is one of the few beach options, there may be several weddings happening at the same time. For weddings at Smather’s Beach, I recommend weekday ceremonies and picking a date that does not collide with holidays or in busy season.

Waves crash on a Florida beach

Dry Tortugas:

Want to go as intimate as you can? The Dry Tortugas may just be the perfect location for you. For those who have not heard of the Dry Tortugas, it’s a small set of islands 70 miles west of Key West. It is one of the most unique and secluded spots in the Florida Keys, in fact, it’s only accessible by boat or seaplane.

The park’s main attraction, boasts 16 acres of beautiful architecture and 16 million bricks. If you want something unique, secluded, intimate and utterly charming, then it could be the perfect place to hold your elopement.


So that’s it, everything you need to know about eloping in Florida. And if you think that it could be the place to host your special day, why not give me a call to chat about your wedding? I’m an experienced elopement photographer, and an ordained minister, so in most cases I can be your officiant too!

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