Miami Beach Weddings are not as easy, breezy to plan as you might think.
Here is the call I get all…the…time…
Hi, I would lie to know about getting married on Miami Beach. I want to do a small wedding on the sand. Just a ceremony and dinner for 20-30 guests. In my mind, I am thinking “here we go again, disappointing another destination bride with dreams of dancing all night on the sand, and an oceans side Miami Beach wedding….man I should really just write a blog post on this and direct them there 🤔”
So here it is, finally, the 7 things you must know about planning a wedding on Miami Beach. No, not what the magazines show you, or what you saw on tv. The actual facts from a wedding planner that is a Miami native and has been planning weddings here for 12 years. Here we go:
1. The beach on Miami Beach is public property and they are very particular about that.
The beach is run by the city. No, not just one area, all of it. Even the oceanfront hotels do not have control over what happens on the beach behind them. They can pull a permit for you from the city. And they do have connections to make things happen faster. But, the city has the ultimate say and they are very strict.
2. Wedding ceremonies are allowed on the beach.
However, you are limited to one arch, chairs, three 10 x 10 tents, 5 folding tables, and one aisle runner. No food or beverage allowed. In order to have your ceremony you must get a “Ceremonies and Team Building” permit from the city here. It is currently $129.00. And do not get overwhelmed by the need to send them a site plan. Here is a blog post I did on easy steps to do that.
Disclaimer: You can actually have an entire ceremony and reception on the sand. But the permits alone will run you a couple of grand. I only recommend going this route if you have close to a 7-figure wedding budget. No, I am not kidding. It’s that expensive.
3. The beach is wide, and far from the main street
Below is a screenshot of Miami Beach on Google Maps. I placed a star on the area where ceremonies are allowed. Even on the narrowest areas of Miami Beach, you need to go over the walkway and the emergency vehicle lane to get to an area for ceremonies. Guests don’t seem to mind, but the vendors setting up your chairs do. Make sure you hire someone that knows Miami Beach wedding setups well.
4. Public beaches are public, gawkers included.
There are many things that will be out of your control. Tourists in tiny swimsuits that decide to snoop in on your ceremony is only one hazard. I have had a lifeguard truck blare their sirens and loudspeaker during a couples vows. Then there are the airplane advertisers, the stalking seagulls, and of course the weather.
5. There is no plan B for your ceremony during bad weather
Because you are only allowed three 10 x 10 tents, there is no plan B for bad weather like rain on extreme wind. You will have to commit to holding your ceremony under any circumstance. Great metaphor for the marriage you are entering.
6. The sand is the the coral kind
The good news, is that the sand easily brushes off shoes and dresses. It is not that baby powder-like sand that sticks to everything. The bad news is that you easily sink into this sand. Heels and chairs particularly love to dig themselves deep. I always recommend having a shoe valet area, where guests can trade their shoes for flip flops. Now the area where this happens is pretty far from the area of the ceremony. Make sure you have someone that will remain at this shoe area the entire time. This is a public beach after all.
7. The sun sets behind you
Make sure to look up sunset times on a website like NOAA. The sun sets to the west, behind the buildings. Therefore, you want to time your ceremony right before sunset to ensure you don’t have a ton of shadows in your photos.
If you address these points above, you can have an amazing wedding on Miami Beach. For more information, or guidance on planning your beach wedding, contact our expert team.