By Gayle Liteheart, Founder of Weddings On a Whim


March 13, 2024

What to Expect

Are you considering saying “I do” on a gorgeous Florida Gulf Coast beach; but you don’t know what to expect? If you’ve been dreaming of a Florida beach wedding and wondering how to make it come true: we’ve created a short video montage for you. Here’s a quick peak of what happens: What Happens at a Florida Beach Wedding Short Video

We hope you liked it. Now, let’s take a stroll down the sandy aisle and paint a picture of your picture- perfect Florida destination wedding by the beach.

Pre Ceremony Preparations

To take care of the necessary paperwork, the Groom meets with the Officiant a half hour before the ceremony begins. This includes legalizing the license. Weddings On a Whim provides marriage license guidance before the wedding day. The State of Florida requires most couples to apply together and in person for their license. A few counties, such as Hillsboro County, now offer couples a new means to apply for the license via Zoom. After applying in person or online, Florida Residents have a 3 day wait period before they may can get married. All other couples can get married in Florida the very same day they apply (AKA “on a Whim”).

Groom Greets Guests

If you’ve booked an affordable beach wedding package that includes an arch and chairs, guests are encouraged to arrive and get comfortable 15 minutes prior to the ceremony. By then, our Groom has completed the paperwork with the staff. He waits on the beach and greets guests as they arrive. We encourage him to be prepared for handshakes, pats on the back and the all-in-fun warnings, such as, “Are you sure you want to go through with this?” And, “It’s not too late to run away!”

Wedding Party Arrives

The Wedding Party (i.e. the Attendants, the Groomsmen, Flower Girl & Ring Bearer) arrive at their beach entrance 5 minutes prior to the ceremony start time. The Bride & her escort arrive then too. The Officiant greets the Bride & her Wedding Party; then makes his or her way to the beach; and escorts the Groom to the altar. Meanwhile, our staff lines up the Wedding Party at the entrance to the beach. When the music (chosen by the couple) begins to play, this group (called the Processional) is directed by the Whim Team to make their way to the wedding site on the beach.

Here Comes the Bride

As the clock ticks, the big moment finally arrives! It’s now time for the Bride to make her grand entrance. Most often she is escorted by her Father or Mother; however, children, special friends & other relatives are also popular. Whether it’s a wedding with many guests or a simple Florida elopement for 2, everyone shares the joyful anticipation as it fills the air.

Capturing Memories

As the bride makes her way to the altar, the photographer swings into action, capturing all the parts of her ceremony. 20 years from now, it’s doubtful our Bride & Groom will recall much of the ceremony; so these photographs will provide the opportunity to refresh memories and relive their wedding forever.

The Ceremony Unfolds

At the altar, our Groom and Officiant eagerly await our Bride. As she approaches the runway, the couple lock eyes for the first time today. And everyone is made glad. Arriving at the altar, our Bride & Groom are instructed to stand hand and hand. The Officiant leads them through the ceremony. The Officiant officially begins the ceremony with a warm greeting and oftentimes a prayer.

Our couple has chosen their ceremony content from heart felt ceremony and readings we provide. The many options include: beach and other themed ceremonies, along with Bible passages, poems, blessings, and acknowledgements. They may choose spiritual or non-spiritual references.

We offer Stepchild and other Children Acknowledgements, along with a mention of the Dearly Departed Loved Ones, “who are with us in spirit.” From prayers to other reading options – such as a Unity Sand or shells blessing – every detail is tailored to reflect your Love Story.

Some couples invite a few family members or friends to share a reading or blessing (such as an Irish Blessing). A favorite reading from our selection is called, “How is a Good Marriage Created.” It starts with, “You’re never too old to hold hands.” Then, “Be sure to say I love you every day.” It is fun to invite different guests to read each piece of advice separately. And it’s especially cute when a child acts as sage and addresses the keys to a good marriage.

Exchange of Rings & Vows

Before our Bride and Groom exchange vows: the Officiant asks each of them this question, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded husband? And, “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedding wife?” We call these the “Do you’s.” Then the Groom and his Bride take turns placing a ring on one another’s finger. They are given repeat-after-the Officiant Vows and an opportunity to speak from the heart. These are called Personal Vows.

The Bride and Groom often read a letter to one another. It usually includes: first impressions of each other, what their journey has been like, and why they have chosen to marry one another. This creates memorable, touching and often humorous experiences for everyone present (including The Whim Team).

The Ceremony Ends

A closing blessing is now given during his tropical wedding ceremony. The Apache Marriage Blessing is a favorite among our couples. It begins with “Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. And ends with May you days be good and long upon the earth.” Benedictions have become popular too, such as “The Lord Bless you and keep you. The Lord make His Face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His Countenance upon You. And give you, His peace.

Pronunciation of the Bride & Groom

With your vows exchanged & new rings on your fingers, the Officiant pronounces you Husband and Wife. The long anticipated magical moment – when you get to seal it with a kiss – has finally arrived! Then the Officiant invites your guests to stand and honor you with a standing ovation. Now it’s time for you to walk down the aisle and into your married life!

Smile for the Camera!

Delighting in the occasion of the ceremony’s end, the photographer captures your first moments as a married couple. Then he or she takes the reign, directing you through your post ceremony photos session with family members, the wedding party and other groups.

Happy Trails to You

With thanks, the Officiant says goodbye and wishes you a long and happy life together, Guests follow suit and bid farewell, departing for your reception location. You two finish your photo shoot with spontaneous and posed photos along the water’s edge.

Weddings On a Whim’s Gulf Beach Weddings occur any time of day; however, the most stunning, world-famous sunset photos take place a half hour prior to the sun hits the horizon. This provides the photographer with the perfect backdrop for your picture-perfect day. As you are basking in the glow or your newlywed bliss, your photographer departs.

Your Dream Beach Wedding Can Become Reality

We hope this glimpse into a Florida beach wedding in the bay area of Florida has sparked your imagination and eased any uncertainties. To share other couple’s experiences and locations, please visit Our YouTube Channel.

Weddings On a Whim’s mission is to Get You Hitched Without the Hassle.

Ready to tie the knot with an inexpensive beach wedding package and the support of Weddings On a Whim? Contact us today, so we may kick start your wonderful wedding! 727-581-3446