I’ve booked my wedding with Gulf Beach Weddings…now what? Most common questions asked and answered.
What if we cancel the wedding is the deposit refundable, if no, why not?
The deposit plus any fees spent on your behalf for items and/or services associated with your wedding are non-refundable. The deposit is paid to individuals, municipalities and companies to reserve the date, time, permits and services at the time of booking. This includes but is not limited to permits, flowers, cakes, supplies, outside deposits to specialty vendors (Officiate, Setup Crew, City / County Permit, Photographer, Videographer, Live Musician) Marketing, and Office Work, etc. to reserve the date, time, permit and venue on your behalf. The deposit is forfeited as part of holding the date, time and location.
We are able to postpone the wedding once, schedule permitting, moving the date/time/location out for up to 365 days without additional cost (except for permits & vendor deposits). Please consult us in this regard as we will need to move all vendors/bookings to the new date all at once and this is handled on a case-by-base basis. Within 90 days of the original booked date, the total amount is non-refundable – this includes all outside vendors. If cancellations are made within 90-days, the couple agree to hold harmless and release all further financial, legal, reviews associated, Chargebacks, PayPal Disputes, Gulf Beach Weddings LLC and its associates and ancillary vendors/employees from all further obligation. All wedding deposits and payments are non-transferrable. Vendor payments outside of 90-days forfeit a $150 deposit, inside of 90-days all payments sent to booked vendors are non-refundable. We encourage couples to purchase Wedding Insurance via Travelers Link (Rates Chart – Brochure). Event Insurance is also available when reserving the Affordable Banquet Reception Hall (Link).
Here is the link: Cancellation Policy
Any changes to the original registration date will incur a minimum of the following: $175 reschedule + the applicable permits associated. Please Contact Us in the event of postponing or changing the date/time.
What are your protocols for Physical Distancing, Guidelines, and Procedures for future events?
Please see our CDC Guidelines .pdf here: GBW CDC Guidelines as well as the current status of each of the Beaches we service: Beach Status. These are resources provided to clients to help in their decision making – as of early August, nearly every beach we service is open for weddings!
Are all of our guests required to be seated?
We require all guests not apart of the Wedding Party (Couple, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, etc.) standing up by the wedding arch to be seated for the ceremony. There are two primary reasons for this:
1) Simplicity and Overall Organization: This allows for an overall well organized event. We highly encourage guests to stand for the bridal entrance however, beginning 15 minutes prior to the ceremony start time and +5-10 minutes following to be seated at all times.
2) Line of Sight for all Vendors: This allows the Photographer & Videographer to obtain the best photos possible from all angles available. This is also the primary reason we use Bamboo Arches where the couple stand in front of the arch with the Officiant directly underneath. This allows space for the vendors to work the entire setup and ultimately their magic touch!
Wedding Package Sizing: (Tampa – Destin)
0 Guests: Intimacy Package
1-10 Guests: Simply Beautiful Package
11-30 Guests: Wedding Dreams Package
31-90 Guests: Perfect Package
91-120 Guests: Beach Celebrations
*We always encourage couples to book with the best of intentions (For Example: 30 Guests = Wedding Dreams Package). However, should the guest count increase/decrease we can manually make these updates accordingly. This is typically finalized during the 30-day call ahead. Additional costs and permitting will apply as these items are based on total attendance.
What if our wedding is canceled because of a natural disaster, Hurricane, Tornado, … can we get a refund? What if it rains?
Customer may have the choice to apply the fee to another date, time or location if a named Hurricane makes landfall at the time of your scheduled wedding, at the ceremony location. This date must be discussed and agreed upon to avoid conflicts with previous bookings. Please note additional costs may be incurred should the wedding need to be moved to a Pavilion (if available), Reception Venue provided by the Couple, or outside location not agreed to in the initial booking due to inclement weather. Please see our Weather Page for more information. We strongly encourage couples to have an indoor/covered alternate location reserved and mentioned to GBW at the time of booking, additional permission may be required.
Here is the link: Weather Policy
How does parking & traffic work?
All locations are subject to Public Parking. As the overall tourism economy improves, we expect Florida in particular to be busier than ever in 2021 and into 2022. Please plan accordingly for parking and unusual traffic patterns. Note: ‘The Sunset doesn’t wait on anyone’ and thus its always best to arrive early and stay in an air conditioned car as we start promptly on time!. Certain locations include the Entrance Fee (Henderson Beach State Park for example) however, we are not allowed to reserve parking spots. For this reason, we have recommended time frames for everyone to arrive: Ceremony Timeline. Further, we recommend avoiding the middle of the day on Saturday/Holiday weekends. Most locations have metered parking and can range from $1.50-4/hour or a flat fee for the day. Please Contact Us if you have specific questions in this regard.
I just booked but my location is no longer available?
The Location and Time Booked is not guaranteed. We are subject to different Municipalities, Cities, National Parks, County Parks, Local Government, and State Parks – we make every effort to ensure the original location is reserved as quickly as possible, however, this is an active calendar and last minute bookings can occur. Further, other events may take precedence (Festivals, Concerts, Food Rally’s, etc.) and we are subject to cancellation. We ask that couples remain flexible as we always work in their best interest to find a suitable alternate location and date in this rare event.
What happens if it rains the day of the wedding?
Typically the weather out at the beach is very favorable in Florida – if there is going to be inclement weather, we will be keeping an eye on the radar and know this ahead of time. We will be in contact with recommendations the morning of – ultimately it will be the decision of the couple on what their preference is. In the evening towards sunset, the weather is often very nice, even if there were storms earlier. There is a constant breeze out on the beach which tends to keep any storm clouds moving and tends to move in ‘rain bands’ and intense/brief in nature.
Unfortunately, we have no control over the rain and our vendors have been paid, reserved the date / time for your wedding months in advance. We will work with you in changing the time, date or location when possible to accommodate your wedding (additional costs apply). There are a limited number of nearby shelters or pavilions on the beach that would be a reasonable option to hold the ceremony. If there are any breaks in the weather, we will head out on to the sand for more pictures and celebration. Keep in mind some require reservations at an additional cost. Here is the link: Weather Policy – Tampa Beach Ratings – Destin Beach Ratings
*Please note Vendors, Setup Crew, etc. are scheduled for certain time frames in advance of the ceremony. Should the wedding need to be moved into a Pavilion and it is available, this option is an accommodation and may not include all the setup materials originally included with your wedding package. There will be no ‘discount’ in this event as we will do our best to setup as much as we can accordingly. In all cases, we are not responsible for weather related events and their potential risks associated. We advise couples in advance, weather can be unpredictable and often involves wind, lightning, and rain associated. Please proceed with caution.
Chairs and seating – How many do I need? Does the bridal party count?
We recommend all guests are seated for the ceremony to provide the best line of sight for the photographer, videographer, and coordination. Chair seating refers to the total number of guests that will not be up front (Wedding Party) and involved in the ceremony. Please note permitting is based on ‘Total Attendance’ (including bridal party and vendors) whereas chair seating in our packages is for seated guests only.
When is the balance for my wedding due?
The final balance is due 30-days prior to the wedding date. We will finalize all the wedding details (final chair count, confirm updates/changes, etc.) and take care of the balance at that time.
How do we go about getting our Marriage License?
You may obtain your Florida Marriage License in one of two ways:
Option #1) Obtain ‘in-person’ at the local Clerk’s Office or Courthouse: Florida Marriage License (*please note you may obtain in ANY Courthouse in Florida)
Option #2) Out-of-state or international residents may use our Marriage License by Mail option which is handled entirely through mail/email and does not require the couple to physically go into the courthouse.
*Some couples are already married and have a marriage license which is perfectly fine, we will perform the ceremony just the same except there is no paperwork!
Marriage License vs. Marriage Certificate: The Florida Marriage License is an official document that is certified by the Clerk of Court’s Office (Stamp and Ink signature @ bottom of Certified Copies). This document is ultimately recorded with the Department of Vital Statistics and carries reciprocity across the Country and overseas (depending on jurisdiction). A Marriage Certificate is simply a print off with notary seal, but holds no weight in terms of being a legal document. Oftentimes, it’s just the name of the document that gets confused.
If we book our wedding (Officiate, Setup Crew, Photography, Videography) and then cancel specific vendors after the date – is this money taken off the balance or refunded?
Vendors that are reserved on your behalf and deposits left at the time of booking may be subject to forfeiture. Keep in mind when we reserve the date on the calendar, these vendors forego future bookings and hold the date for us.
May we customize our wedding ceremony and include family, friends and children in the ceremony?
You are more than welcome to customize your ceremony as you prefer (combine two ceremonies, add custom readings, include children in the Unity Sand Ceremony) at no additional cost. In the past, couples have had friends/family come forward to perform readings, sing using our PA system with microphone and even include their pets in the ceremony (only at certain locations). We do ask that you provide us with a copy your custom ceremony two-weeks prior so we can give it to your officiant. Please send in a Word document – we will review and make any updates. There is no additional charge for custom ceremonies.
Here is the link: Ceremony & Vows
Typically, you will have a better idea of the final guest count and details 30 days prior to the ceremony. Ideally, this is the best time to confirm wedding details and take care of the balance.
Custom Locations: Beach House, Private Property, Location not Listed?
There are several options as it relates to where we can setup. In short, we can setup just about anywhere with permission and access within our market boundaries. There is an additional cost of $250+ for any custom location plus the additional permit (if applicable). This covers the additional work load to setup, organization and site planning, potential additional setup crew for the added labor needed to setup.
Written permission from the Owner/Owner representative or Rental Agency, Custom Location Waiver, and any applicable permits must be obtained by the responsible party. Because this is a custom location, these are obtained by the couple directly or the property owner.
Is there an additional fee to include unity sand, blessing stones, etc?
This is more personal preference and there is no additional charge for any of these as they are included with the ceremony
Is there an additional cost for Weekends/Holidays or a Discount for Weekday Weddings?
There is no additional charge for weekend ceremonies except for the Intimacy Package (Friday-Sunday) – we simply work on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, certain times of year (All Major US Holidays and their Weekends – $250+ including: New Years Eve & Day, MLK Weekend, Easter Weekend, George Washington’s Bday, St. Patrick’s Day (weekend if applicable), Cinco de Mayo (weekend if applicable), Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July & Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, Columbus Day Weekend, Halloween, Veterans Day Weekend, Thanksgiving Friday/Saturday, Christmas Friday/Saturday). Certain ‘Custom Locations’ ($250+) also require additional setup time/preparation and are subject to ‘Custom Location’ costs, permits, premium and/or fees associated. The reason is to adequately prepare for the popularity of the date (Incentive Pay to Team Members) and Additional Preparation (Setup Timing, Traffic, Parking, etc.) and therefore subject to reasonable additional costs associated.
*Easter, Christmas Eve & Day, and Thanksgiving Day our Offices are closed and weddings unavailable.
*Please note Holiday weeks/weekends are normally very busy and something to consider when choosing the ideal date for your wedding. Several locations have ‘Blackout Dates’ associated within certain municipalities.
Can our pets be included in the ceremony or wedding party?
Technically, No. Almost all locations do not allow pets/dogs/etc. however, there are specific location exceptions for well-behaved registered Service Animals. Please contact us to arrange.
What is the Tent Option?
While we do offer a Tent Option, this may not be what you expect as it is not a full reception. We recommend this for couples looking to have something simple (Cake Cutting and/or Champagne Toast) for about 20-30 minutes following the ceremony towards Sunset. This would not involve a caterer, additional tables/seating, or function as a backup in case of rain as we are limited to the size of 10×10. Keep in mind only certain locations allow this and additional fees apply for permits and/or additional time. Further, any food put out…the local wildlife (birds) will be joining you. The Beach Locations that allow the small Tent Option are often the most crowded sections of beach as they tend to be able to accommodate larger gatherings. We have found, the best solution is to have the ceremony at a remote, more private location and the reception nearby (within 5-15 minute drive). Most of the guests coming into town for the ceremony will be renting a car, carpooling or using a ride-share option! We do not provide alcohol or engage in any alcohol related activities associated with our Beach Wedding Ceremonies. The Champagne Toast we provide is an alcohol removed substitute in this regard.
We do offer a Wedding + Reception Packages at our reception facility on St. Pete Beach (6655 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach, FL): www.affordablebanquet.com. This is arguably the best options since it has a built-in back up plan in case of inclement weather!
Please Contact Us via email or call (727) 475-2272 for more options!
Can we have singers and music during the ceremony?
Yes – we can provide a PA System with the appropriate 1/4″ microphone jacks.
Are Tips Required?
Tips are certainly not required, however very much appreciated. Please note there are several vendors accordingly on-site that make your Big Day special. For Example: Officiate, Photographer, Setup Crew, etc.
There are no ‘hidden fees’ here! Several of the locations we service require Travel for each of the Vendors (Officiate, Setup Crew, Photographer, Videographer, Live Musician, Coordinator, etc.) as they must commute to your specific Ceremony Location (For Example: You can book a Destin Local Photographer direct however, they typically require a 4-hour minimum = $1,500 Shoot). We strive to provide affordable wedding services to our couples which allows us to recruit quality talent from a larger geographic area, with the willingness to do one-hour sessions, etc.
The Permit is paid to the City, County, Municipality, State, or NPS based on the location of the ceremony – these vary based on the Total Attendance, time of year, and are automatically added during checkout. *Both the Travel & Permits are updated as you make your selections on one of our Wedding Packages pages or the Beach WeddingStudio upon booking. Please Contact Us if you have specific situations/circumstances or just have questions!
Do you charge extra for rehearsal services? When is this offered?
We do offer rehearsal services. The cost for a rehearsal is $250 for all beach locations (+$50 for Travel outside Okaloosa & Pinellas Counties). This pays for the Officiant’s and/or Coordinator’s time and travel. We will conduct a full rehearsal with all the Wedding Party, etc. and go through the typical ‘Day-Of’ events for the ceremony. Typically, however, this is not necessary unless you have a very large wedding party (more than 8-10) as we are able to go over everything the day of the ceremony when you arrive at the beach. Keep in mind the Wedding Dreams Package and above includes the dedicated ‘Wedding Coordinator’ at the ceremony who will direct and coordinate your guests and ceremony. Beach weddings are typically more casual and the ceremony is very straight forward in terms of its coordination. Here is the link to our Online Templates: Ceremony/Vows
May we use our own officiate?
You may use your own officiate for your wedding if you prefer. This will not discount the price of the package. We do require that you fill out an Officiate Waiver Form. We are happy to answer any questions your officiate may have and go over how we typically conduct our ceremonies if they need some direction. Please keep in mind that if you use your own officiate they are ultimately responsible for every aspect of the ceremony wording & flow, filling out the bottom portion of the Marriage License and filing of the Marriage License with the Clerk’s office. In Florida, to legally preside over a ceremony and sign the license you must be a Florida Notary, Licensed Minister, or Attorney/Judge.
Do the Rabbi and Priest charge the same fee as the notary and minister?
No – The fee for the Rabbi and Priest is to be discussed and paid directly to them. Typically, this is a much higher amount as pre-marital meetings may or may not be required. Further, Priests typically require to be married within the Catholic Church and therefore almost never marry on the beach.
Do you allow outside vendors and/or direct booking with your own vendors?
You are more than welcome to use your own vendors. We are however, not responsible for any service provided by outside vendors, booked or paid for directly.
We booked a photographer/videographer/live musician for my ceremony, what does that include?
The services for the vendors (photographer, videographer, and live musician) that you book with your wedding package include a total of 1 hour. The photographer and videographer’s services will begin at the wedding start time and end an hour later (if couples show up late this will cut into their time). They will both photograph and video the entire ceremony from start to finish, then afterward take a large group shot, different family/friend portraits by the setup, followed by intimate shots at the shoreline! Our photographers, videographers, and live musicians are available for additional time ($250 each additional hour) either before the ceremony while getting ready or after the ceremony at the reception. The final edited images are sent via an email link and can be downloaded right to your desktop to be shared on Facebook, emailed to family/friends and printed off – there is no copyright as you own the photos. Video’s are also sent via downloadable email link). Approximate turn around time is 4 weeks following the ceremony for final edited images/video (+1 week).
Content produced by hired vendors are released at the discretion of Gulf Beach Weddings and not the vendor direct. This includes: pictures, video, music, etc. that can be recorded and/or used for promotional purposes. In special circumstances, photos and video can be withheld for non-payment, slander, or damaged reception property as means of a security deposit until resolved. The live musician (guitarist, saxophone, violin, steel drummer, etc.) will begin playing 15-20 minutes prior to the ceremony as your guests are arriving and being seated. They will perform all of the songs for the ceremony (bridesmaids/flower girl/ring bearer. They will also play for an additional 15-20 minutes after the ceremony while you and your guests are taking pictures and enjoying the beach! Our live musicians can learn custom songs for your ceremony – please give us at least a months notice so they can learn the new songs if they do not know then already. There may be an additional charge ($5 per song) for them to buy the actual sheet music for your custom songs as well. Our live musicians are also available for additional time ($250 each additional hour) to play at your reception if you prefer.
Here is the link: Vendors
How do we get the pictures/video/ recorded music?
Images & Video are sent via Email Link for download. Content produced by hired vendors are released at the discretion of Gulf Beach Weddings and not the vendor direct. This includes pictures, video, music, etc. that can be recorded and/or used for promotional purposes. In special circumstances, photos and video can be withheld for non-payment, slander, or damaged reception property as means of a security deposit until resolved.
Are flowers included with my package?
The floral decorations that are included with the wedding packages are made of a high-resin plastic foam that is very realistic and placed inside the tiki torches, Arch Décor, and Aisle Way. We do not use real flowers for the decorations as they do not weather the elements well (Sun, Heat, Salt Air). Only Real Rose Petals are allowed for the Rose Petal Aisle way and is restricted to certain locations, as they are biodegradable. Artificial Rose Petals are strictly prohibited from all Beach Locations!
The bridal/bridesmaids bouquet, as well as groom/groomsman boutonnière (real flowers), are not included with the wedding packages. We leave this to the professionals (florists) as they are better equipped to meet your preferences and tell you what type of flowers are in season and go best with your wedding colors. We are happy to recommend florists in each of our beach locations that we have worked with for years and done a great job for our couples.
Here is the link: Florists
Gulf Beach Weddings Recommendations on Timing, Beach Location, Seating, and Public/Private Beach Locations?
Over the course of 12+ years and over 8,500 Weddings performed on the beach – we have learned a few things. We make these recommendations available here in the FAQ’s section, via phone/email support, or meeting in person. More importantly, we have learned what ‘not to do’! For example, Saturday mid-day or even early afternoon is not the best time for a wedding (beach goers, parking, traffic, etc.). We instead recommend before 11am or after 4pm to avoid the busiest time of the date. If you will be in town for the week, we highly recommend Monday – Thursday (non-holiday weeks)! Further, the only way to have a completely private location would be on Private Property facing the Gulf of Mexico (this typically requires the homeowner/management company to obtain the permit).
We recommend all guests seated during the ceremony. There are several reasons for this: Line of Sight for the Photographer and overall organization of the event/ceremony. Therefore, if you are expecting 20 Guests = 20 Chairs. Children would be personal preference and we recommend ‘Beach Wheelchairs’ which can be booked direct through an outside vendor for elderly guests or those not able to walk on the sand.
Certain locations are more private than others – we do our best to represent these here (Tampa Beach Ratings – Destin Beach Ratings). The Permit obtained does not guarantee us a location, allow us to rope off the beach/reserve parking, block off the boardwalk, and/or guarantee any amount of privacy. All of the locations we service are located in Public Beach & Neighborhood Access points, therefore not Private Beach. If you have specific questions regarding this, please don’t hesitate to call/email us anytime.
What is Beach Wedding Studio™?
Our Wedding Packages are designed to be All-Inclusive in Nature. The Beach WeddingStudio allows you to completely Customize Your Beach Wedding Ceremony specific to your style and taste!
Please Check out the Interactive Beach WeddingStudio™: www.gulfbeachweddings.com/dream-wedding-builder
Is the Website / Beach Wedding Studio™ Accurate?
All of the pictures were shot in a live-studio and/or depict actual setups, product, packages, beach locations, materials, and colors. We are constantly updating our flower decorations, options, offerings, etc. so our customers have the best possible beach wedding experience. Please note that your wedding can be affected by weather, colors and options do change from time to time – therefore, the pictures may not be exact at the actual event. We reserve the right to make these updates as new options and materials become available. We receive many calls from customers whose expectations are surpassed and find our Beach Wedding Packages better than anticipated. We have done our best to represent each item accurately as possible on our website, but we do consider each of our items unique and handmade, subject to variations. Due to lighting in pictures, custom nature of the materials and hand application accordingly, beach location background, and shades of colors – there are some slight inherent differences. While we make every attempt to make sure your Wedding Day is perfect and beautiful, your computer’s monitor settings or the browser used may affect the appearance, color, texture, or depth perception that appear on the screen.
What is the best time to start the Ceremony?
We highly recommend customers reserve a morning ceremony or the recommended time frame: 1 hour prior to Sunset in Tampa Locations, 1.5 hours prior to Sunset in Destin Locations. *Please note Gulf Beach Weddings has reserved vendors on your behalf: Setup crew and permitting designed for the exact setup, start time and takedown of the ceremony. There is an obvious 15 minutes +/- window in terms of flexibility however, the trouble is when couples and their guests do not arrive until beyond the 15 minute grace period. GBW reserves the right for reasonable fees associated with additional setup crew time, additional vendor (Photo, Video, Live Musician, Officiate, etc) costs, and permit fines that may be incurred.
What are and why do I see ‘Travel Fee’ added?
Due to the cost of just about everything going up (Gas, Materials, Insurance, Hiring & Training, Travel associated) we have seen our costs rise dramatically since the beginning of 2021. Across the board, everything we do has increased 10-50% in some instances. Further, many of the setup crew, coordinators, and vendors do not live directly on the beach (this is particularly True in the Destin area as many come from within a 25 mile radius). Therefore, to offer the same high-quality personnel/experience at a fraction of the hotel and competitor rates – many of our Team Members travel in. We simply pass this savings on to the customer directly, only adding a small travel cost associated to your wedding. This is automatically updated as you make selections during checkout (i.e. no hidden fees!). Just another way Gulf Beach Weddings has found a way to offer the best to its clients!