Florida Beach Wedding: Top Affordable Weddings on a Budget

Florida beach wedding lg

Every bride dreams of getting married in an exotic beach setting. But many couples can’t afford a lavish wedding on a faraway isle. So, where are the best destinations for Florida beach weddings on a budget?

The least expensive beaches in Florida for wedding ceremonies include Dania Beach or beaches in Panama City, which do not require a permit. The permit cost on Clearwater beach is only $25. However, only 1 wedding per day is permitted, and holidays are not permitted.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Florida beach weddings for your special day. If you are on a tight wedding budget, don’t worry. We will also discuss the best options to help you cut costs on your wedding day.

Let’s get going!

How much does it cost to have a wedding on the beach in Florida?

Even a small beach dream wedding includes everything you also expect at traditional ceremonies like a wedding reception, wedding planner, professional photographers, wedding guests, and naturally, your family members.

There are several affordable beach wedding packages in Florida from $699 to approximately $2,500, depending on the beach location. But the beach locations you choose to host your dream wedding ceremony also significantly affect the cost of a wedding on a beach in Florida.

You can also find wedding planners that offer affordable wedding packages in the Florida Keys at prices less than $1,000.

If you don’t want to spend much, know that one of the best ways to save money on your beach wedding ceremony is to simply limit the number of guests.

But here’s a basic breakdown of average costs for a wedding with 50 guests on the beach in Florida:

Type of Expense Total Average Cost
Beach City Permit $25.00
Marriage License $35.00
Someone to officiate $30.00
Wedding Cake $320.00
Reception Venue $7,500.00
Catered food/drink $1,500 (buffet)
Reception DJ $1,000.00
Flowers $700
Total $11,010.00

Of course, if you’re on a tight budget, skip the food/drink and reception venue altogether. Or get the caterer to just set up the reception right on the beach which will also save a lot of money.

But on average in Florida, most weddings cost $241 per guest in total. (source). And I didn’t factor in wedding dresses, tux rentals, or wedding rings.

Heck, you can even save money on wedding rings if you haven’t bought them yet!

In this recent article, I revealed 29 inexpensive wedding rings for under $500. I spent a long time researching the best and the most beautiful.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Can you get married on the beach in Florida for free?

It depends on the location.

There are several costs and permits that couples need to be aware of if they want to get married on a beach in Florida. For instance, you should know that while a South Beach wedding requires a permit, Dania Beach does not.

For smaller, intimate, and affordable wedding venues, you only need your officiant and your guests at a Panama City beach.

However, if you want a larger beach wedding with a wedding arch or lots of chairs, you will need a permit. These permit fees range from $60 to $320 and are more affordable compared to the fees of beachfront resorts.

Most permits in Florida are not free.

However, different cities have different costs and paperwork. Simply check beforehand while you’re working on your wedding plan.

Since the weather in Florida may not always favor you, you may need to make plans for another beach. So have a backup plan! You should also look out for vendors that offer inclusive wedding packages for beach weddings in Florida.

You can also apply for your marriage license at any county courthouse using a picture ID like a state ID card, valid passports, etc. If you complete the licensed Florida premarital course, your marriage license of $93.50 can be reduced to $32.50.

Not from Florida? It’s surprisingly inexpensive!

Check out this recent article where I detail all of the cheapest cities in Florida including some with great beaches! Just click that link to read it on my site.

Do you need a permit to get married on Clearwater beach?

Clearwater Beach is a famous beach that requires a beach wedding permit for couples to get married on the long stretch of the beach. This beach has only 6 spots that are authorized as locations for beach weddings.

Usually, the wedding permit gets approved within an hour’s time frame. Two hours are then used for the wedding set up, one hour for the main wedding event, and an extra one hour for the breakdown of your beach wedding setting.

On the weekday, the wedding fee is $25; however, holiday weddings are not allowed on the beach. Clearwater allows just one wedding to hold on each beach spot every day.

You should keep this in mind while you ensure that you make reservations for your wedding package early. The time used in processing your beach wedding permit varies depending on how backlogged the permit office is. However, this process may involve a few days, a week, or more.

Generally, every wedding in Clearwater beach needs a permit. This permit applies in the following cases:

  • Where the debt is generating income from attendees
  • Where there are more than 25 people 
  • Where chairs, a small arch, and a 10 x 10 tent allowed
  • Where there is amplified sound

In this case, all applications and permits should be submitted at least 14 days before the event.

How to save money on a wedding photographer

For a lot of couples, a good professional photographer is worth investing in because you want them to cover key facets of the event you want to remember for the rest of your life.

However, instead of spending over $2,379 to cover your dream destination wedding, here are some useful tips to help you save money on a wedding photographer.

#1. Choose a photographer within your budget

One of the best ways to save money on anything related to your big day is to have a practical budget. You also need to consider how much you are willing to pay for a photographer.

You might want to go for a new photographer or a photography student rather than an experienced pro if your budget is tight. This is better than trying to convince a photographer that charges $5,000 regularly to cover your wedding for $1,000.

So, ensure that you choose a photographer within your budget.

If you’ll like a guide on how to budget money on a low income, be sure to check out a recent article. In it, I got into how to start a budget with no money and explained the 30-day rule. I even shared tips on how to save money on a low income.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

#2. Make an early booking

As soon as you have chosen your wedding date, you need to book your wedding photographer. It is advisable to consider wedding photographers that offer great deals on early bookings.

Even if you don’t get these discounts, some photographers still offer great discounts in practice.

If you book a photographer as soon as you get engaged or even months before your big day, you have a higher chance of not being affected by any price hike that may occur.

You can also consider making an upfront payment in full to get a possible discount.

#3. Consider digital options

Another way to avoid spending so much on a photographer is to inquire about their digital best package. Although digital options may seem more expensive for your photos, you will have access to a disc containing all your pictures.

The best part here is that you can print several of these pictures for your family and friends or even send them copies through email to print on their own.

How can I save money on my wedding cake?

We all love a show-stopping wedding cake as long as it is within our budget. However, we rarely come across that dream wedding cake that is within our budget.

Below are a few tips to help you save money on your wedding cake.

#1. Order a small display cake

As soon as you hire a baker, you can request that they make a single or double-tier cake for cutting and display, and also so you can serve the rest of the party. This can help you save around 20% of each cake slice.

#2. Keep it simple

Adding sugar flowers, champagne toast, tall tiers, tiki torches, and other reception packages can lead to additional fees. This is because the price of most cakes depends on the time and labor bakers spend trying to design the cake.

Now you know that there is so much that goes into baking a cake beyond the flour and eggs, look out for simple cake designs for your Florida beach wedding.

#3. Be resourceful with your cake display

While some couples would prefer to go all out renting and buying elaborate cake stands, these are not necessary. Moreover, your baker must provide a decorated baseboard that you can place on the table.

After getting your cake display, your next priority should be to add space around it using either fun linen, old family wedding photos, silk flowers, candles, etc.

#4. Choose naked cakes

You can also save money on your wedding cake by removing the outer layer of frosting. Not only are naked cakes gorgeous to look at, but they are also practical.

Generally, naked cakes are less expensive because they involve less buttercream and less time. To spice up your wedding cake, experiment with unique flavors and fillings.

How do you pay for a wedding if you’re broke?

From the best location for your Florida beach wedding, the reception venues, the white flowers, and even the guest count, there are several magical moments you do not want to miss out on.

However, there is the total cost of the wedding to think of. After all, the perfect place or pristine white sand beach won’t mean much if it takes you a decade to pay it off.

If you are looking forward to paying for your wedding even if you are broke, then read further for some of the best tips.

#1. Focus on what’s most important

To help you pay for your wedding even if you are broke, it is important to make a list. This list should contain the most important things you need for your wedding, those you are willing to do without, those you should spend less on, and those you must have.

For instance, you may consider the simplest decoration for a white sand beach instead of those elaborate live flower arrangements. You may also decide to have the wedding and the reception on the same beach to minimize costs.

Heck, you can even save money on wedding rings if you haven’t bought them yet!

In this recent article, I revealed 29 inexpensive wedding rings for under $500. I spent a long time researching the best and the most beautiful.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

#2. Give yourself time to save up

To do this, consider opening a savings account so you can take advantage of different affordable wedding packages and avoid high-interest rates of putting everything on credit cards. The more time you have, the more you can stockpile and just pay cash.

If you take a year and a half to save, putting aside $300/month you’ll easily cover half the total cost of the expenses I outlined above in the table.

#3. Sell

Selling is one of the best ways to recover the money you spent. You could sell some decorations. Some of the things that you can sell aside from the decorations include unused tableware, centerpieces, or anything that says “Mr. and Mrs.”.

Not only will this help you regain a few hundred dollars, but it can also help you plan your honeymoon in the perfect location. After all, a few hundred dollars can pay for a perfect venue and a part of the cost of the reception.

How to PLAN a Beach wedding Under $5,000 | VLOGMAS DAY 14


In the article, we looked at several ways to have a top affordable wedding on a budget. I always advise young couples to plan their dream wedding so that they do not overspend.

Having your dream beach wedding, reception, and honeymoon in the same city helps to reduce your expenses.

The permits needed to get married on the beach vary from about $25 to a few hundred dollars; however, this depends on the venue and size of your beach wedding.

If you’d like a guide on how to budget money on a low income, be sure to check out a recent article. In it, I got into how to start a budget with no money and explained the 30-day rule. I even shared tips on how to save money on a low income.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Image by Thanakorn laksanawaree from Pixabay

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