There are many different great websites and magazines giving you advice on your wedding. While their advice is often great, bear in mind not everything you read applies to you. Planning a wedding in Florida is much different than planning a wedding in Chicago or New York.
I hope these tips can help you with your planning for your wedding day in Florida!
1. June is not the most popular month to get married in Florida
Nationwide, June has notoriously been the most popular month to get married (17% of couples nationwide choose this month to get married). However, in Florida, the more popular months are often March and October, when the weather is almost perfect.
2. Traffic is unpredictable
As you know, driving in Central Florida can be very unpredictable, especially when it comes to some of the major roads such as I4 and the Florida Turnpike.
If you have a wedding where guests need to travel from the ceremony to reception, try to account for this. Especially with Friday weddings, avoid introducing your guests to rush hour traffic.
Another thing that can add delays is the tollbooth plazas. Although, you can zip through the sun pass lanes, not all of your guests will have that option.
A good rule of thumb is to drive the route and double that time as an estimate for how long it will take.
3. Weather is unpredictable
We are so fortunate to live in Florida where we can have weddings year round due to our warmer climate.
However, our wedding can be quite unpredictable. There has always been the adage about Florida — if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. It is not uncommon to have a major lightning storm in one part of town, where just down the road, the sun is shining.
Account for this, especially rain, when you are meeting with your locations, as it is always good to have a backup plan.
4. Plan for heat
Even in early November, I’ve seen days where the temperature hit 90 degrees. If you are having an outdoor wedding, it’s a good idea to plan for ways to make your guests feel more comfortable.
Some good suggestions for this include – fans to cool themselves, cold water bottles to stay refreshed, and an air-conditioned option for guests to duck in to.
5. Pick the best time of day
The time of day for an outdoor wedding makes a big difference. If you are having an outdoor ceremony, check to see what time the sun will be setting, and more importantly where the sun will be facing.
Having a wedding an hour before sunset can be beautiful. But, if half the bridal party is staring directly in to the sun, it can be very uncomfortable.
Your wedding photographer is often the best person to talk to, to help make suggestions with scheduling key moments of the day.
6. Plan for humidity
Not only does Florida get quite warm, it can also be extremely humid throughout the year.
Consult with your hair and makeup artist to make sure you will be prepared to look beautiful throughout the day. A little extra hairspray can help keep your hair manageable. The makeup artist can also give you some “weapons” to prevent shiny skin.
7. Plan for out of town guests
Another great thing about a Florida wedding is that it’s not hard to convince out of town guests to come to this part of the country. We have so many fun things to offer your guests – great weather, theme parks, golf, beaches, etc. Many of your guests will make a vacation out of your wedding.
For your out of town guests, most hotels will offer a promotion if you book a block of rooms. It’s also key to try to book rooms near your reception site. If your reception is at a hotel, even better!
It’s fun to put together a “Welcome to Florida” basket for your guests with Florida citrus, waters, snacks etc. so that they feel more at home. Feel free to stick in some information about things to do while they are in town.
8. Check for other events
There’s always something going on in Tampa and Orlando. If you can, try to do some research beforehand to find out what will be going on around your wedding day.
Going back to traffic, if there is a major sports event going on at the Citrus Bowl, that could definitely affect traffic.
If you pick a park to go to for some photos after your wedding, make sure that other activities aren’t also going on at the same time.
9. Remember comfortable and appropriate shoes
There are so many gorgeous places to go to for photographs – the 18th hole of a country club, along the shoreline of the beach, through the streets of downtown, etc.
It’s very likely that the shoes that you wore to your wedding, may not be the most comfortable shoes to walk that little stretch to take those photos. If they aren’t, plan on bringing a spare pair of shoes to wear when going from Point A to Point B. You can always change back to your bridal shoes.
You may even want a third pair of shoes that you’ll be hitting the dance floor in at your reception.
10. Be upfront about a dress code
It’s Florida. It’s not uncommon to see guests in shorts and a tee shirt at our nicest of restaurants. The warm wind makes people think that a Tommy Bahama shirt and flip-flops are “fancy clothes”.
But, if you want your guests to be a little more dressed up, spell it out in the invitation. Otherwise, you’ll have some guests that look (and feel) out of sorts.
Along the same vein, if you are going for a casual “beachy feel”, tell your guests too. That way, your uncle won’t feel out of sorts in his three piece suit.