FAQ’s or commonly asked Q&A on how Wedding Bells and SeaShells can help you plan the perfect beach wedding in South Florida!
What areas do you serve?
We will travel throughout the East Coast and southern Florida to help make your dream beach wedding a reality! From Cocoa Beach down through St. Lucie County, through the Palm Beaches including: Jupiter, Juno Beach, Singer Island, Palm Beach, Ocean Ridge, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, and finally Boca Raton. We also cover all of Broward, including; Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Hallandale Beach. Finally, we also cover all of Miami Dade down through the Florida Keys, so if you want to get married on Key Biscayne, North Miami Beach, South Beach, of Key Largo on south, just let us know.
If you would like to have your wedding at a different location other than one listed, please let us know, I’m sure we can make it happen for you!
How soon should we reserve our date and time?
If you choose a Friday or Saturday sunset, we suggest putting a deposit down as soon as you have decided to hold the date.
Can we meet with you when we get to town?
Due to the busy nature of our business, we are rarely in the office – it is difficult to catch us and hard for us to make appointments to meet you. As you will see when we begin the planning process, we are very accessible and easy to communicate with on important details. We invite you to come out to any of the weddings that take place…we can coordinate dates and times for you to come see us in action! This is the best way to meet us prior to your wedding.
How do we book our wedding?
Once you’ve decided the date and time, you can book your event! We require the appropriate deposit/ payment for the services requested. After you submit your form, you can choose to pay your deposit immediately by credit card on our website or mail in your deposit check or money order. Please be aware that we cannot hold your date until your deposit is received, so we recommend putting the deposit on your credit or debit card immediately upon submitting your request form. Once payment is received, a Service Agreement and a wedding information sheet will be emailed to you. These documents contain important information regarding your wedding. You may call or e-mail as much as you’d like and ask as many questions as you’d like. When you arrive in town for the wedding, we ask that you contact us.
Can we bring our own decorations?
Unfortunately, we cannot allow any decorations other than ours to be used due to liability insurance restrictions. This insurance is not valid on other decorations brought to the wedding. This does not apply to wedding bouquets, wedding supplies (such as ring bearer chests or flower girl baskets, or other items that may be used in the ceremony.) This solely applies to actual decorations that are to be used on the beach.
Also, we are often asked if we can set up “third party” supplies that are brought to our weddings, such as chairs or tents. Wedding Bells and SeaShells cannot handle any decorations or supplies that are not our own. There are no exceptions.
**** Do not bring anything to the beach that is not biodegradable**** We are very eco-friendly and take pride in removing every single thing we bring to the beach to leave the beauty for someone else to enjoy. NO silk rose petals are allowed!
If we are contracted to do just the Officiating and/or photography (no package is selected) and you provide your own decorations, you must comply with the same rules and regulations for the beach or we cannot provide our services.
Do you pick the location for the ceremony or do we?
The location is your choice. We go to County and State Beaches or Parks, any beach allowed by the governing municipality, as well as, hotels, condos, and beach houses.
There is an additional travel fee for “out of the area”. The fee is based upon the services requested and the distance needed to travel. Some of the locations do charge a fee for the use of the beach as well as a “Special Use Permit”…these fees are NOT included in any of the Wedding Bells and SeaShells’ Packages. If you choose one of these locations for your wedding, you must send in the permit fee at the time of booking with a separate check and we will mail it in with the permit application, or you will be sent a link with information to obtain a permit depending on the area.
We have a list of Florida Locations for some of the available areas, and information about permits and fees.
Can we get married at the location where we are staying?
Yes, as long as you obtain permission from the hotel/condo. Be sure to ask if there is an additional fee for the use of the beach for the wedding. The couple is responsible for any “fees” that may be charged.
Are rehearsals included?
No. There is an additional fee of $225.00. Rehearsals must be scheduled no later than 2 hours prior to sunset. Also, rehearsals and the Wedding Ceremony Coordinator must be scheduled and paid for at the time of booking for scheduling purposes.
What happens if it rains?
It is the responsibility of the Couple to have a “back-up” location in case of inclement weather.
You may want to consider WEDDING INSURANCE
**The majority of Hotels/Condos generally do not have any type of outside shelter
** If you are having a reception – it can be moved to that location
** If you have only a few guests and minimal setup, it can be “postponed” until the next day. Time based upon Wedding Bells and SeaShells availability, but the couple makes the final decision.
Some of our setups may not be able to be used in an indoor location, but we will do our best to decorate your chosen backup location. We are not responsible for the weather.
Will there be other people on the beach?
Yes. All beaches in the State of Florida are public beaches. We cannot “rope off” any part of the beach. There are obviously certain times of the year when the beaches have more beach goers than others.
Even “in season” the families are usually beginning to “pack up” and leave the beach around 4:00. Then there are usually couples going for strolls along the beach. Many of them “watch” from a distance. There are some areas that are less populated than others. In all of the weddings that we have done, we haven’t had any interference with beach goers.
Who performs the ceremony?
Florida Notary Public or Ordained Reverend, male and female Officiants.
What will the Officiant wear? Can we request them to wear a certain outfit?
Our Officiants wear outfits that are appropriate for your wedding. They are normally dressed in Wedding Bells and SeaShells shirts and linen slacks. Please keep in mind that our Officiants must wear clothes that are comfortable for the heat. For this reason, we cannot take requests for our Officiants to be in suits or other outfits that would be too hot.
Can we bring our own Officiant?
Certainly, as long as he/she is Ordained or a Notary for the State of Florida. We will deduct $75.00 from the Package you choose.
Can we write our own vows?
Yes, we encourage couples to be creative. We also include in this package a selection of different wedding/ring vows to choose from. When couples write their own vows, we suggest using “Message in a Bottle Vows.” When you write your own vows to one another, they are very personal and do not sound right being repeated after an Officiant. When you add on “Message in a Bottle Vows”, we place your vows on parchment or tropical paper and place them in bottles by your feet. When it is time to say your vows, we have you take them from the bottle. “Message in a Bottle Vows” are an additional $35.00, and you get to keep the bottles along with a keepsake copy of your vows. If you do not add “Message in a Bottle Vows”, then your vows will be repeated after the Officiant. Beach-side/Oceanside vows are read to each other and not repeated after the Officiant. We prefer to receive your vows via email.
Can we have a friend read a poem?
Yes, you can have a Friend/ Family member read a poem, sing, or lead in prayer.
Who takes the photographs?
All of our packages include photos by free lance professional photographers that shoot for Wedding Bells and SeaShells. All of the photographs on our website have been taken by our photographers.
Although the photographers take lots of shots, we will pick the best photographs from the collection. As with professional photographers, we do not guarantee that you will receive every picture that they take. If there are specific poses that you will want, please let us know prior to the development of your photos. Knowing ahead of time what photos are important to you will help us make sure that you receive the ones you want.
We strive to provide our clients with quality photos… however weather conditions may affect the outcome. If you are scheduled for a sunset wedding and arrive more than 15 minutes late, we may not be able to take the amount of photos included with your package… there will be no adjustment on costs. Photos are generally mailed within three to four weeks after your ceremony, a week or so longer if you include reception photography.
Can we provide our own photographer/videographer?
Yes. You can hire a professional photographer.
If you hire an outside photographer:
We will deduct our fee from the cost of the package. (In order for this fee to be removed, we must know at least fourteen (14) days prior to your wedding that you are having your own photographer. If you hire someone else as your main photographer and our photographer shows up on the day of your wedding, there will be no money refunded and no photos taken by our photographer.) Also note that if you hire another photographer, we still retain the right to take photos for our purposes. Make sure the other photographer is aware of this.
If you hire both us and a professional photographer:
Your hired photographer will be running the show! We will act as a secondary photographer and take shots around your hired photographer so not to interfere in his/her work. Also, remember all Florida beaches are public and there will be other people on the beach and in the water. Most people are very respectful of you and your wedding. Some photographers try to move these people out of the way. We cannot allow this to happen.
*** Here’s a Camcorder Tip for Friends and Family-****
Be sure to take your Camcorder equipment out of the A/C at least an hour prior to the ceremony… when you go from A/C into the heat- the dew condensation will not allow most camcorders to work. Also, tell them not to put it on “pause”…you can always edit it.
Do you provide music?
Unless included with one of our packages, all music is À la carte. The fee is $85.00. We will play mood music prior to the ceremony, the processional and recessional, and music while the photographs are being taken. We can also recommend “live” music from a harpist, violinist, bagpiper, guitarist, and steel drummer.
Can we bring our own music or CD player?
We do not allow you to bring your own CD player/music system. When you add music as an À la carte item or it is included with your package, we provide the amplifier, music on ipod, and a staff member of Wedding Bells and SeaShells to run the music. Our staff members know what songs to play and exactly when to play them per your instructions that you will detail on this wedding information sheet. It flows more smoothly this way.
Do you provide chairs?
Yes, we do have chairs available on the À la carte list. Some packages do include chairs, please review our Packages page for more details. If you are want to include chairs for all of your guests, you might want to consider only having chairs for the immediate family, elderly, or guests with health issues. We can provide up to 150 white garden chairs and 100 bamboo chairs per wedding.
How do I get a marriage license?
Florida residents have a waiting period of 3 days. Brides and grooms of Wedding Bells and SeaShells that live outside of Florida, the state has simplified the process by eliminating the waiting period. Out-of-state residents can obtain a license the same day – they just have to make sure they arrive in time to visit the courthouse during regular working hours, which is Monday through Friday, times may vary based on county and location.
Couples can obtain a license from any county in the State of Florida. Both the bride and groom must apply in person, together, at the Clerk of the Court. Both must be 18, or have a parent with them to sign consent, and both must have a valid (not expired) State issued photo ID (driver’s license). If either the bride or groom has been divorced within the past six months, they must bring a copy of their divorce decree. If it has been more than six months, the clerk will want to know the County/ State and date the divorce was finalized. The State of Florida does charge a fee for the marriage license ($93.50), but no blood tests! Phew!
Here is a link to a complete list of the Florida Clerk of Court Offices –
Just in case we missed anything –
Florida Marriage License Express (for non-Florida residents)
Why can’t you get my marriage license for me?
Florida law requires that the couple appear together in person. For this reason, we are unable to handle this for you. However, if you would like to procure your marriage license before your arrival in Florida, you may do so using an approved Florida vendor. We highly recommend using Florida Marriage License Express.
What happens to the license after the ceremony?
The license is then brought to the ceremony and the Officiant for Wedding Bells and SeaShells can take it with him/her, sign it, and Wedding Bells and SeaShells will mail the marriage license back to the court for you. If we file the license for you, we recommend taking a picture of your marriage license for your records. The Clerk’s office will then mail you a certified copy. This can take anywhere from four (4) to seven (7) weeks. If you have questions about this, you will need to call the Marriage License Department where you applied.
Can we turn the marriage license back in?
Yes, if you would like to take the marriage license with you after the ceremony, just let your wedding coordinator know that you want to take the license
We ask that you allow us to mail the marriage license back to the court. Marriage licenses are only valid for ten (10) days after your ceremony and they need to be handled immediately. We find that couples generally have so much on their minds when they first get married that it is best for us to handle this.
We are not responsible for the license if you choose to handle it yourself.
What happens if we have to postpone?
Any deposits/payments will be applied to your new date. Deposits/payments are applicable for up to one (1) year from the originally-scheduled ceremony. After that, a new deposit and service agreement are needed. If you need to reschedule, please call us for date and time availability.
What happens if we have to cancel?
ALL DEPOSITS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE. If you paid in full at the time of booking, and you cancel two weeks prior to your scheduled wedding date, you will be refunded the difference minus the appropriate deposit minus any other costs incurred.
Do you handle the reception?
Yes, we would love to assist you with your reception and overall wedding planning. Please call us for more details.
Do you offer a cake cutting or champagne toast on the beach?
Yes, we can offer these services. Please call for more details.
Can we bring our own cake?
Yes. You will also need to bring all of your own supplies, such as a cake table, cake riser, cake cutter, napkins, silverware, etc. You will be responsible for this set up.
Can we bring our own champagne and toasting glasses?
Many beaches in Florida do not allow alcohol, and none of them allow glass on the beach. Please call us to discuss.
Where can we get invitations for our wedding?
We are proud to have partnered with Basic Invite to provide our clients with a 20% discount off their invitations. Go to their website, customize and design your wedding invitations, then use the coupon code ‘Bells and Shells’ at checkout to receive the discount.