Answers to all your Florida Keys wedding questions

FAQ Wedding guide:

All the information to make planning your wedding simple.

Best destination weddings in florida

How are your weddings considered “Radically Different”?

The idea that people should step back from their “too busy” lives to be together in privacy for a few days is not just foreign, it is a radical idea in today’s culture. Your wedding event will be entirely different than any wedding you have ever attended. We have a better wedding concept. Ours is a slow, low-stress way of hosting a wedding; an updated version of a very old idea.The relaxed way we structure our destination weddings is the reason we have never had a “Bridezilla.” We think our reviews bear the feeling that both the couples and the guests share.

Who gets married here?

Couples wanting to share their love and joy with friends and family for more than a few hours select our venue. Some couples even call it their “Wedding Reunion” or “Familymoon.” We host the most private destination weddings in Florida. Our brides usually spend several days here in this magnificent location with their family and friends.

Who will help me?

You are not alone. You have a personal team to assist you as much or as little as you wish including a seasoned planner, decorator, chef, and event manager.

Are your weddings more formal or more casual?

We host beach weddings from the simplest to the most elegant. Formal can combine with casual here. Our tropical Florida Keys ambiance mixes with our traditional setting which allows tuxedos to mix with sandals.

What is the guest capacity for my wedding?

Weddings from 2 – 300 guests are comfortable.

Are there hotels nearby for my guests who can’t be accommodated directly on the venue?

Less than a mile away, our partner hotels offer great discounts to guests of Key Largo Lighthouse Beach. And no, you won’t need to guarantee room blocks with your credit card to get them their discounts. Your guests just use our discount codes to self-book online or by phone, with the assurance of the hotel’s best discount.

So, for the guests that will be staying at a local hotel, are they allowed to visit us on the venue before and after the wedding?

They are welcome to spend all day, every day with you.

When is check in and check out?

Weekend Weddings at both Hidden Beach and Coral Beach check in Friday afternoon and check out on Monday at 10 am.
Weekday Weddings – Coral Beach checks in on Monday at 4 PM and out at 10 am on Thursday. Hidden Beach checks in on Tuesday at 4 PM and out on Friday at 10 AM.

You can extend your stay subject to availability and for an additional cost.

What do we do if it rains?

First, please visit our Key Largo, Florida Keys weather page. You will learn that rain is a modest or minimal threat. But as a ‘’Plan B’’, there is a beautiful 1,500 sf main tent capable of seating up to 150 people installed. More capacity is available. The main tent is in many of the photos on our website. Please note: some of the pictures of our venue show the optional liner and leg drapes for added elegance, a $600 option.

Do you include chairs and tables?

100 white resin padded wedding chairs and 10 six-foot in diameter round tables are included and delivered to one location on the morning of your event. Setup is done by your decorator. It is straightforward and inexpensive to change to different table shapes and sizes or to rent additional chairs if needed. Changing the style and color of chairs and tables to match your decor is simple and affordable.

Tables do not include linens. Linens are part of your decor package. Your decorator has full details.

What time does the wedding end?

Short answer, you can stay up and party all night. This isn’t like a hotel or restaurant. It is your private wedding venue. There are no other guests. Nobody will tell you that the party is over. It is all yours and only yours 24 hours per day.

Are there noise curfews?

Let’s not scare anybody. Yes, there are noise curfews throughout all the Florida Keys and most places in the United States. 11 PM Fridays and Saturdays. Other days is 10 PM. The limit includes hotels, restaurants, and private homes. But that doesn’t mean you need to stop the party and go to bed. It means you have to be quiet enough that other people can. You are renting an enormous and very private wedding venue. You can play music and dance all night. Just turn down the volume, shut down the heavy bass and turn off the DJ’s microphone so the sound isn’t traveling for miles through residential areas and you won’t have any problems.

Just a warning. The police can and do close down parties and fine the renters if there are complaints.

What is the most cost effective way to have my Florida destination wedding?

One word, midweek. You get the same venue with the same amenities, the same everything but at a much lower cost, plus hotel rooms are less expensive. And the best vendors are more likely to be available. It is a great deal.

Is there a bus that can shuttle my guests to and from the hotels?

There are options for buses to pick up the guests before your ceremony and return them after your wedding reception. Nothing says that you love and respect your guests more than offering this level of security.

How many cars can park on the venue?

50 cars can easily self-park. For 75 or more cars you will want someone to help direct cars for about an hour before the ceremony. We have parked 100 cars without much effort or ado.

What restrictions do you have?

There are numerous restrictions spelled out in the contract. Some included points are noise, no smoking in the beach house, the number of persons, parking, campers, boat trailers, no pets and more. We don’t believe any are onerous and we feel all is spelled out clearly. Seldom are there requests for clarifications or changes to the contract.

But what time do you suggest that the wedding should end?

All groups are different. Some play music and dance until sunrise. Some weddings are quite ready to turn off the lights before 11 PM. What is normal here? It is hard to answer. What is easy to say is that you can have your dream Florida destination wedding the way you think it should be.
Food for thought: We understand that a night out dancing usually means going out at midnight and coming home in the wee hours. But this is your wedding. Everybody has been busy all day. By 11 PM most of the crowd is tired. It is often said that there are only two types of people left at a wedding at 11 pm; the ones ready to go home and the ones that should.

Choose either a Midweek or a Weekend Package

MIDWEEK
Wedding Venue Package

4-day wedding

Sample Itinerary (Change to your needs)

This Schedule is for Coral Beach. For Hidden Beach everything shifts to one day later, Tuesday arrival, Friday departure.

  1. Monday afternoon arrival.
  2. Monday evening – Guests arrive.
  3. Monday night – Rehearsal and welcome party (Optional **).
  4. Tuesday – Wedding ceremony and reception.
  5. Wednesday – Brunch – relax on the beach (Optional **).
  6. Wednesday afternoon & evening relax on the beach.
  7. Wednesday departure for some guests.
  8. Complimentary late check-out Thursday morning – 10 AM.

WEEKEND
Wedding Venue Package

4-day wedding

Sample Itinerary (Change to your needs)

This Schedule is for both Coral Beach and Hidden Beach.

  1. Friday afternoon arrival.
  2. Friday Evening – Most of the guests arrive.
  3. Friday  – Your whole family spends a private afternoon with you settling in.
  4. Friday night rehearsal /welcome dinner (Optional **).
  5. Saturday wedding ceremony and reception.
  6. Sunday morning brunch – Guest send-off (Optional **).
  7. Sunday afternoon & evening relax on the beach.
  8. Sunday departure for some guests.
  9. Complimentary late check-out Monday morning – 10 AM.

Planning a destination wedding in Florida

Who helps me do the planning?

You can have the full attention of Cate Tenopir Events, the Florida Keys foremost wedding planner. Cate’s unsurpassed attention to detail and knowledge of the latest trends ensure a wedding you will be proud of.

$800 Free Credit

For a limited time, you can claim an $800 credit toward any of Cate’s planning packages during the first two weeks after booking your wedding dates. That means for as little as $160, you can enjoy the assistance of a renowned wedding planner. For Cate Tenopir Events’ current packages check out Florida Keys wedding planner.

What about Decorating?

How will your wedding be decorated? Most couples don’t know where to start. Every couple has a unique vision. It is the decorator’s responsibility to learn what your ideas are and fulfill your dream at a price you can afford.

Relax, it is so easy. You have full access to South Florida’s top wedding decorator Akalia Martin, and her company, Linens and More. Based on your photos or Pinterest boards, she will help you design a phenomenal wedding at an astounding price.

Can I hire an off-premise wedding consultant if I choose to?

You can hire any wedding planner or no wedding planner. It is your choice. Almost all wedding planners in South Florida have worked on our wedding venue at some time. There are Florida Keys wedding planners and wedding decorators who work on our venue every week. They know all local vendors. They can also help you control your destination wedding cost.

Can I bring some or all of my decor? Can I do my own decorating?

Bringing effects important to you is probably the single most effective way to truly personalize your wedding. But have the pro’s do the work. It is your wedding day. Neither you nor your guests should be distracted. Decorating is time-consuming and requires skilled people. Not everyone thinks that decorating is glamorous. Much of it is grunt work.

Where is a good place to rent a PA system with wireless microphone for the ceremony and dinner?

Our recommended DJ’s will provide it.

What do we do about tables/chairs/linens/decorations? Do we rent those or are they included?

100 white resin padded wedding chairs and 10 six-foot in diameter round tables are included and delivered to one location on the morning of your event. Setup is done by your decorator. It is straightforward and inexpensive to change to different table shapes and sizes or to rent additional chairs if needed. Changing the style and color of chairs and tables to match your decor is simple and affordable.

Tables do not include linens. Linens are part of your decor package. Your decorator has full details.

Linens: I would like to upgrade the decor to include a cake table and some cocktail tables. What is the best way to do that?

The options are nearly infinite. Your decorator has all the answers of what’s available, what works best, and what it costs. For more information, we recommend contacting your decorator.

Could you give me an estimate of how much your DJ’s run?

Great question. You have an instant $200 credit toward any of our in-house Florida Keys DJ’s. Our in-house music director charges $900 after your $200 discount. It’s a great price. All of our in-house Florida Keys Wedding DJ’s listed here.

How much do flowers cost?

Some options from our wedding decorator are listed here. There are also several good Florida Keys Florists worth exploring. This is an excellent article, “Beach wedding decorations on a budget“, that includes the types of flowers that work well for a beach wedding.

Florida destination wedding packages

Are we required to purchase your published Florida wedding packages?

No. In almost all cases our chef will design something especially for you. The packages are more a price guideline to know about what prices to expect.

Can we hire our own caterer or do we have to hire yours?

You are free to choose any vendor you wish. * There is no extra charge to hire any outside vendor for any service. (Insurance is required, see below. *)

Do you upcharge the vendor’s services?

You just hit on something important to us. We call it, “The dark side of the wedding business.” What happened to integrity?

“Key Largo Lighthouse Beach is one of the few major wedding venues that does not charge or share revenue with the vendors. Let’s explain that in another way. Every service that you buy at most venues is up-charged somehow. Some examples, if you buy a $100 bouquet at many venues, the florist receives $50, and the venue receives $50. If you hire a caterer and the meal is $80, the caterer pays your wedding venue $30 and keeps $50. You hire a DJ for $1,300. The DJ pays the venue $300. You don’t see it, you don’t hear about it, but it is happening right under your nose. And you are paying the whole bill!

That harms you in two ways. First, you are paying the venue more than agreed. Second and worse, your venue decided that their first obligation is no longer to find you the best vendors; it is to find the slipperiest. You are not receiving the best value. Your wedding venue sold its soul and broke its trust with you.

Key Largo Lighthouse Beach is different. Everything is disclosed. There is no dealing under the table. We charge you one price with no hidden anything. The vendors never share their revenue with us. You are free to hire any vendor you wish* without any shady markups. You can save thousands.

The next time you visit a venue with an “exclusive” group of vendors, you can bet that those vendors aren’t on that list because they are the best available. They are the group willing to kick back the most to the venue. Our vendors aren’t asked to be part of that. Key Largo Lighthouse Beach won’t compromise our obligation to our clients because we want you to receive the very best value.”

Suggestion: This is a list of Florida Keys wedding vendors that serve our venue regularly and are known by us. They all have insurance certificates on file. You can negotiate your best deal and rest assured nothing shady is occurring. No vendor ever shares their revenue with Key Largo Lighthouse Beach.

Do you cook onsite?

Yes. Something unique and highly unusual for an outdoor wedding venue is that the chefs cook everything on site. Your food is prepared next to the dinner area. All of these catering packages are cooked onsite and guaranteed fresh from the kitchen and presented as you expect at a fine restaurant.

If we select your preferred vendor’s food, beverage and decor packages what are the large items not included?

The main items not priced on our website are a Florida Keys wedding DJ and a Florida Keys wedding photographer.

Can we customize catering packages?

Yes. 90% of our couples personalize all menus. The caterers publish the packages only as guidelines. And while the packages are accurate, they are seldom sold as published. Feel exhilarated. Treat your guests to something special. Create something personal.

Is the food plated or buffet style?

We can serve in any style you like. I asked Chef Andrew recently for his advice on when guests should be served buffet style, or with food stations, or seated (plated). Andrew gave some practical and insightful guidance in this brief article on deciding how to serve his dinner packages.

For small groups, he recommends plated dinners because it is more intimate. Further, he finds that stations or buffets appear empty and unappealing. For large groups, his only concern about plated (seated) serving is that it requires a lot of staff so everyone can be served at about the same time. It isn’t necessarily more difficult but is more costly than either buffet style or food stations. He finds buffet style is the most cost effective and efficient. But he emphasized that if you want to add more excitement and really don’t like seeing your guests standing in a buffet line, choose food stations. The variations are endless.

What are the food and beverage minimum?

None. But most packages have an extra cost per person for groups less than 30.

What is the minimum fee per person?

None.

Is the bar per person/ per hour/ or consumption?

The bar packages quoted are for 5 hours. Additional hours can be added at a small additional cost.

We read reviews where people brought their own liquor. Can we bring our own alcohol? Do you have bartenders for that?

Yes. In fact, that is exactly what about 75% of our brides do. Our “Expert Bride” bar package is what you are looking for. Why do so many brides choose this package? Well, you and your guests will be partying at our venue for a number of days. That implies your favorite wine, beer, and hard liquors will already be on site. Just let us do all the heavy lifting on wedding day – All the ice, coolers, soda, juice and the equipment required for a bar; and of course the bartender(s).

Our couples say they save a ton.

Do you allow outside catering?

Yes. You can choose any outside caterer if you wish. Most of the top Florida caterers have worked here and are intimately familiar with the venue. (See insurance/licensing restrictions below*.) Have your outside caterer also provide the bar. The published bar packages are not available unless you also purchase the food package because of licensing and insurance.

Is there a set gratuity amount and if so what is it?

Customary is 15% on our bar packages, and 20% on our food packages.

What is your tax rate for food and beverage?

7.5%

I have some friends and family with special dietary needs. Do you have a dinner option to accommodate them?

Our caterers can handle most requests. Food allergies make food station wedding menus more attractive. Your guests can select the food they prefer. This article about Wedding Food Stations may interest you.

What do we do about tables/chairs/linens/decorations? Do we rent those or are they included?

100 white resin padded wedding chairs and 10 six-foot in diameter round tables are included and delivered to one location on the morning of your event. Setup is done by your decorator. It is straightforward and inexpensive to change to different table shapes and sizes or to rent additional chairs if needed. Changing the style and color of chairs and tables to match your decor is simple and affordable.
Tables do not include linens. Linens are part of your decor package. Your decorator has full details.

Can we bring in a wedding cake?

Yes.

Do you provide wedding cake?

Cake and dessert are included in many of the catering packages, or you can have one of the very talented local wedding cake bakeries create something new and original.

Can we have catering on nights other than the wedding?

Yes. Almost every wedding does. Cater all your parties. Ask about a rehearsal party and even brunch. The caterers would be glad to discuss options and prices.

Can we bring in outside food in addition to the chef’s menu?

Absolutely!

Could any food be brought in and cooked in the kitchen?

Yes. You can also cook on the gas grill just outside the kitchen next to the pool. But beware, the kitchen is designed for use as a home, and not equipped as a commercial kitchen. The appliances are not sufficient to contemplate cooking for a large party. That is best left to a caterer.

Are staff members included in the rental fee? Any additional staff recommended or required?

You will see many staff members here every day, but especially the morning and day of your wedding for general cleanup and maintenance.

Are set-up and tear-down fees included? Is there a clean-up fee?

Your rental includes recycling, garbage, cleaning and maintenance, and delivery of the included chairs and tables to the area they will be used. The decorator does charge for set-up.

Are there restrictions about which vendors I can hire?

Yes. All vendors need to have proof of insurance on file to protect you as the renter and us as the owner of the property. Understand that if a worker is injured, and the vendor does not have insurance, by Florida Law, you could be held liable for their expenses and maybe far more.

* Restrictions concerning wedding vendors, not on our list.

Vendors listed in our Florida Keys wedding packages already have proof of insurance on file with us. All other wedding vendors of any type must present insurance certificates* at least 30 days in advance of your event. If they are serving your bar, a liquor license is also required. It is for your protection as well as your guests.

*If you choose a vendor not on our list to provide any service, a certificate of their general liability insurance, minimum $1,000,000, Florida workmen’s compensation insurance, and liquor license must be presented to our Key Largo Lighthouse office a minimum of 30 days before your event. We will make the request for the certificates on your behalf if you ask us to. In almost all cases the insurance company sends us a “Certificate of Insurance” in a few days and nothing more is needed. If you hear that there is a charge for the “Certificate of Insurance”, someone is misinformed. Certificates of Insurance are provided free by Florida law.

New vendors will also be instructed to meet us for a venue orientation prior to their arrival. Please, please, please just let us know if you are hiring vendors off the list to avoid problems on your wedding day. We will take charge of the communication if you wish. Just ask us. Have your vendors send their certificates to: Sunset Beach Weddings, Inc. 2 Thurmond Street, Key Largo Florida 33037 or email to [email protected]

Does a friend or relative helping me need insurance?

If you are not paying them, no. Their actions are as guests.

Do you have your own photographers/videographers or do you make recommendations for professionals in the area?

We have great recommendations for Florida Keys photographers and Florida Keys videographers in our Florida Wedding Packages.

Florida beach house destination weddings

These are some common questions about the beach houses. Each venue is slightly different.

In-depth information and photos for:
Coral Beach Accommodations
Hidden Beach Accommodations

What is the accommodations capacity in the beach houses?

Either venue has a beach house and a guest house. And either venue can accommodate 20-24 guests in comfort. Both venues have 8 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms. (6 bedrooms with one king bed in each and 2 bedrooms each with double queen beds in each. Two queen sleeper sofas also included.)  Additional guests can self-book using our discount codes at one of our 4 partner Florida Keys hotels in all price ranges less than a mile away.

What are check in/check out times?

Check in is 4 PM and check-out is 10 AM.

Do you have Wi-Fi?

Yes. Free unlimited service in both beach houses.

Do you allow pets?

We love pets. We understand the attachment to pets, but sorry, no. For several reasons, we have a ‘no pet’ policy.

What consumables do you provide?

Food items like sugar and salt are not provided. Most non-food items are furnished including bar soap, sponges, dish soap, coffee filters, laundry soap, toilet paper and paper towels for your arrival. Depending on how much you use, there may not be enough for your entire stay, but there is an ample amount to get you started.

What is included? / The bedrooms in the pictures have bedding/sheets – are they included? / Do you charge any extra fees?

There are no extra fees. The beach house is fully furnished for your family to move in. Things like dishes, bedding, towels, washer/dryer are of course included. Many other thoughtful additions like iron and ironing board, clothes steamer, soap in the bathrooms. You move in like at most hotels.

 

Is daily maid service included?

We can arrange maid service as you require. Two people can be scheduled for a total (for two people) of $30 per hour. These are the same people who will clean your beach house before arrival. That means they know the beach house and are very trustworthy.

What is included in the kitchen at either property?

The spacious modern kitchen is typically a focal point at meal times. They are complete with cookware and service for 16 persons. There are ample and very comfortable living and dining areas. There is also a gas grill next to the pool.

KITCHEN – GENERAL ITEMS LIST
16 dinner plates, bowls, cups, salad plates.
16 Drinking Glasses.
16 Wine Glasses.
16 Mugs.
8 Plastic Drink Glasses.
6 Plastic Beer Glasses.
Set of 16 silverware.
Cutlery.
Garbage Can.
Measuring cups and spoons.
Can Opener.
Wine Opener.
Wooden spoons.
Spatulas.
Pepper and salt shakers.
Funnel.
Oven mitts.
2 Juice jug.
Drip coffee maker.
Salad Spinner.
Casserole dish.
Containers to store leftovers.
Pots: (all with lids)

  • 10 qt. stock pot
  • 8 qt. stock pot
  • 5 qt. Dutch oven
  • 2 qt. saucepan
  • 1 qt. saucepan

Frying pans.
Mixing bowls.
Cookie sheets.
Baking pans – only if you like to bake.
2 Cutting boards.
Cooking Utensils.
Set Knives (paring, bread).
Dish drying pads.
Dishcloths.
2 Bread Toasters.
Blender.
Hand mixer.
First Aid Kit.

Do you have an iron/ironing board and steamer?

Yes.

Hotel accommodations in Florida Destination weddings

Will our guests that are staying at hotels nearby be allowed to spend every day with us on the venue before and after the wedding?

They are welcome to spend all day every day with you.

Are there hotels nearby? For my other guests that will be staying at hotels nearby, what is available and is there special pricing for my guests?

Your guests have special discounts from these major Key Largo hotels in all price ranges. Our four partner hotels are less than a mile away

Certainly, you want your guests to get the best hotel rates. But you also want hotels that are clean, modern and comfortable.

We did the hotel shopping for you. Your guests will receive special discounts from major hotels in all price ranges including Marriott, Courtyard, Holiday Inn, and Marina Del Mar,  located less than a mile from our venue and are next door to one another. Your guests receive specially negotiated rates by using our discount codes.

But be warned, just like airline tickets, book early. Price and availability change rapidly.

 

How do we make reservations?

Your guests can call an 800 number or book online. By using our discount code they are assured of getting 15% off the best Internet rate. (Some holiday and event restrictions apply.) You don’t need to do anything except pass this information along to your guests.

I don’t understand. Am I guaranteeing a block of rooms for my guests? What if they don’t take all the rooms? Am I responsible for paying for unused rooms?

No. No. And no. You are not guaranteeing anything. You are not liable for anything. You don’t even need to guess how many rooms you need or at which hotel your guests will stay.

There is no need to guarantee a block of rooms to get a great rate as a Key Largo Lighthouse bride. We have simplified the process so you can focus on other parts of your important day! Your only responsibility is to get the word out to your guests. You can post the hotel links/phone numbers to your wedding website and social media sites to make it more user-friendly. Your guests decide which property they want to book with. And they book directly with the hotel by using the links/toll-free numbers provided. Rates are based on availability, so we encourage you to have your guests book as early as possible.

Florida Beach Destination Weddings

Can we tour Key Largo Lighthouse Beach?

We would love to meet you. Do you know that we can get started with a simple-to-schedule Facetime personal video tour? We can arrange your personal video tour on almost any day but Sunday.
We aren’t like a hotel or restaurant. Our venues are private which means we can’t schedule in-person tours when the venues are being used by other couples. When demand for tours is high it can be difficult to get a slot for an in-person tour. Happily, most couples switched to the convenience of video tours.

Do couples usually tour before booking?

No. Most of our couples book their dates before their first visit to our venue. Destination couples know that getting a venue reservation secured early is all important. Our couples tend to schedule their tours on our venue some weeks or months after booking. We arrange special venue tours for couples who are already booked to accommodate their schedules. Your venue tour should include meetings with the planner, the decorator, and the chef, and maybe others. It is not unusual to have most of your wedding planned before you leave.

What is the deposit required to reserve our date?

$1,800 locks in your wedding date. Your rental is not due until 6 months before your arrival.

How far in advance should I book my dates?

You can’t book too far in advance.

The question is really how attached are you to an exact date, or month or time or year. If you want an exact date, the farther out you can book the better.
There is something important to notice. You only pay the deposit now. You don’t pay the rental until 180 days before your arrival. (Or you can take advantage of our payment plan.) So, no matter how far you book in advance, the rental payment is due at the same time. By booking early, you get the exact date you want, and you lock in today’s price. There is no downside in booking early.

Are there different rates for different times of the year?

Our venue has the same rates all year except slightly higher for New Year’s Eve.

How does the booking process work?

Booking is simple. There are only three things needed, and all can be done online in minutes.
1. We will send you a request for your billing information.
2. A completed rental contract will be returned to you by email. You can sign it online with your mouse.
3. Last, you will receive an invoice for the security deposit of $1800. You can pay by credit card or check.

How do your payments work? Are there multiple installments?

The actual venue rental is not due until six months before your arrival. Or pay 12 equal monthly installments ending the month before you arrive with no interest and a one-time $300 fee.

Do you have a written refund policy?

You can cancel at any time, but deposits are not refundable. Your rental is fully refundable up to 6 months prior to your arrival date. Within 6 months of your arrival date, your rental is only refundable if there is an evacuation recommended or mandated for our immediate area, and in that case a full refund of the deposit and rental is given. The contract lays out the exact details.

When are hurricanes likely?

We don’t know. In our 17 years, we have never had an evacuation, and never experienced even $1 in property damage. Last year, for instance, there was one hurricane that passed us and hit the Carolinas, but we had a wedding both on Tuesday and Saturday that week without a worry. It is fair to say that a hurricane is never likely. A tornado seems more likely in many parts of the US than a hurricane is in the Florida Keys. But nobody would select a wedding date based on the probability of a tornado. You should know that, statistically, hurricane season is June to November. September and October have had more hurricanes than the other months over time.

Destination weddings in Florida

Who will marry us?

A good suggestion is to hire a Florida Keys wedding officiant from our list. There are people of all persuasions who can help you with your vows for a moderate fee.

How can I have music during the wedding ceremony?

The DJ usually provides this function. Many couples opt to include some live music during the ceremony and cocktail hour like a steel drummer, or guitar, or violin. Our Florida Keys DJ can give guidance.

What time should I have my wedding ceremony?

Most couples prefer a late afternoon/evening wedding, which means most brides are concerned about light, time of day and how it affects their photos. Your wedding photographer can advise what time is best for your wedding ceremony to end, and therefore dictates when the ceremony should begin.

When the wedding ceremony ends, the photographer typically begins work on your portraits, arguably your most important wedding photos. The photographer wants the best light possible. And the best light is during the “Golden Hour”.

Wedding photographers refer to the last hour before sunset as the “Golden Hour”. When a wedding venue has a clear west view, the sun sets low and late. That causes the sunlight to change to a more golden color in the last hour. Optimally, your photographer will want the wedding ceremony to end about one hour before sunset so that all your portraits are bathed in this beautiful, natural light. If the wedding ceremony is timed incorrectly or runs behind schedule, the photographer is put in a difficult position. The “Golden Hour” is lost and the wedding photographer needs to resort to artificial light.

Before I bought Key Largo Lighthouse Beach with its beautiful west view, I owned another well-known wedding venue. It had an east view. Photographers would tell me that our wedding portraits weren’t the very best because we didn’t have the direct sunset light.

I always thought it was photographer double-talk for “I will make this excuse for my inabilities and baffle her”. But on our very first wedding at Key Largo Lighthouse Beach, I could feel the photographer’s excitement about shooting the sunset photos. And when I saw the finished product I was astonished. There was a color and richness I had never seen in the same photographers’ work at my eastward facing wedding venue.

Marriage License

Florida State Requirements:
Wedding licenses are available to both Florida residents and non-residents. Licenses are valid for 60 days and issued immediately. Photo ID is required (valid Driver’s License or Passport). No Blood test is required. For out of state, Canadians and international visitors, there is no waiting period or counseling required. You must both apply in person. For Florida residents only, there is a three-day waiting period or 4 hours of premarital counseling is mandatory.
Fee:
Marriage License Fee is $93.50 payable to the local County and can be obtained at any Florida State County Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. Our local Florida Keys county clerk is about 10 miles from our venue.

Top Destination wedding locations

Will the sand be a problem?

This is probably the most asked question. You might be in for a surprise.

Let’s start here: NOT ALL SAND IS CREATED EQUAL. Most beaches have the wrong sand for weddings. Why is our sand better? It packs down pretty hard. You can walk on it, drive or park your car on it, sit in a chair on it, play games on it, and best of all, it is great to dance on. You won’t find it sticking to your ankles like deep sugary sand.

What about heels?

Women walk in heels at almost every wedding. I even have a video of ladies dancing in spiked heels. The real question is whether it is comfortable or practical. Shoes with some heel are right for the ceremony. It is more elegant, and there is a boardwalk all the way to the seating area. Comfortable heels will be good for cocktails and dinner. I recommend platforms or high heels. But for dancing, especially after a drink or two, it is great fun to dance in bare feet or flip flops.

Can you please confirm that you are on the beach and if we have access to it?

Our wedding venue is directly on the beach, and it is all yours! Toes in the sand and drink in your hand!

Top Florida destination weddings

What airport do we use?

Miami International is one hour away. Ft. Lauderdale airport is about one hour 30 minutes.

I want to send packages before my arrival. How can I handle that?

UPS will receive and hold your packages for you. If you are wondering why you can’t simply send your package to our address, you are asking a great question. The problem is that the venue is not normally vacant which means your packages will be received by another bride.

UPS made it easier for you to have your packages held for convenient pickup at the following locations: The UPS Store® or nearby UPS Access Point™ location.
 
You can now redirect your packages for no additional charge* to The UPS Store or UPS Access Point location!
  •  For individual packages, choose “Change Delivery” from your UPS My Choice® email alert and choose “Pick up my package at a UPS® location”.
  •  To automatically send all your packages to The UPS Store or another UPS Access Point location, go to My Settings and set an alternate delivery location.
 
 
 
Did you know that you can…
  •  Have your UPS My Choice alerts sent to multiple email addresses?
Select Add a Recipient and enter email and sent to name information.
  •  Enjoy all the convenience of UPS My Choice features while on the go with the UPS Mobile app.
 

Thank you for being a UPS My Choice member

 

To access UPS My Choice My Settings, log-in with your UPS User ID

Can we have a fire on the beach?

We have a portable fire pit that meets local fire requirements. Open bonfires are never permitted.

What are the rules about sky lanterns? Are they practical?

The wind needs to be light and in a direction away from buildings of course. For a majority of our nights throughout the year that is the case. State law (Florida Statute 379.233) prohibits the release of 10 or more sky lanterns, or lighter-than-air balloons, within a 24-hour period unless they are certified biodegradable; violators can incur $250 fines.

Suggestion: Do sparklers. Sparklers get everyone involved and are relatively safe.

How can I obtain a fireworks permit?

Fireworks permits must be obtained from the fire marshal at Monroe County Fire Rescue 90 days prior to the event. Contact the Fire Marshal at (305) 453-8726 and complete the Fireworks Permit Application. I should warn you that the restrictions will dictate that you probably need to hire a licensed professional.

Are there Catholic Churches in the area?

There are two. Both are about 7 miles away but in opposite directions; San Pedro and Saint Justin’s.

What is the difference between Key Largo and Key West?

They are really a world apart but both are located in the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys is a 100-mile-long island chain running mainly East to West. The East end is close to mainland Florida. That is the Key Largo end. Key Largo is 60 miles from Miami. If you drive West from Key Largo for another 100 miles through the Florida Keys island chain, the last island you reach is Key West. Key West is a fun party town. It has lots of carnivals and events to keep the clubs and hotels hopping all night. Back at the other end of the Florida Keys island chain, here in Key Largo, you find an atmosphere that is far more sports, nature and outdoor activity minded. I think most would agree Key Largo has a more family friendly atmosphere while you also lower your destination wedding cost.

Florida Keys destination weddings

Key Largo is like a giant water-park. Key Largo Lighthouse beach venue is centrally located to most water activities. Key largo is the most popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination in the world. Yes, in the world. We boast the last living coral reef in North America. And our clear deep ocean waters are called the sport-fishing capital of the world. Key Largo is one of the great ocean destinations. But then, many people never leave the venue and prefer to enjoy the privacy here. Some just catch rays and enjoy the family. The more adventurous fish and snorkel and swim right around the venue in our crystal clear water. They enjoy the many tropical fish, lobsters. Dolphin and manatee are regular visitors.

What are some other area attractions and things to do in the Florida Keys?

We will have some people coming in several days before. We would like to help you and we encourage enjoying the unusual activities we have in the Florida Keys. This is the fishing and diving capital of the work. We can arrange fishing trips, snorkel trips. I would suggest a couple kayaks or paddle boards be brought to the venue. It is interesting to explore right here near Key Largo Lighthouse Beach. Just ask us. We can help.

Are watercraft available? (Boats, jet-skis, kayaks)

Yes. Everything can easily be rented locally at additional cost. And you can dock in our large, private, well protected marina.

Florida Destination wedding

Tell me about the weather in the Florida Keys. What is the best time of year with regards to weather?

You can host your Florida destination wedding here year around. Florida Keys weather is not like the rest of Florida. We enjoy a different climate. Your Florida Keys wedding will have drier and cooler weather than the rest of Florida in summer and warmer in winter. Key Largo has half the rain of Miami and more sunshine than Los Angeles. Our record temperatures are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than almost anywhere in the U.S. All this is because the Florida Keys really are tropical islands. Learn more about Key Largo Florida Keys Weather. Something useful to know is that the summer months offer the warmest water temperatures. To many guests that is the most important because our beautiful coral reefs are a main attraction.

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