Southwest Florida Beach Wedding - Tips From a Wedding Photographer
Sugar white sand, breath-taking sunsets over the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and a wonderfully mild tropical climate are just a few of the features that make a beach wedding in Southwest Florida magical.
Gorgeous beaches abound in Southwest Florida, starting at Marco Island and Naples to the south, and Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, and Sanibel and Captiva Islands to the north.
From the most intimate wedding with just the two of you, an officiate, and of course, your wedding photographer - to the most grand affair at one of the area’s luxury hotels – there really is nothing that compares to the beauty of a beach wedding.
The most popular way to have a beach wedding is to get married at one of the many excellent beach hotels dotting the landscape. Each one has a little bit of a different flavor, whether you want old Florida charm at the Naples Beach Hotel, to grand elegance at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort, to the feeling a being a world away at the very tip of Captiva Island at South Seas Island Resort.
Working with a hotel adds the convenience of having your reception just steps away from the beach. Most beach hotels have lovely reception rooms, able to accommodate bands and DJs, and plenty of experience with catering.
Another popular alternative, especially for smaller weddings, is getting married on one of the many public beaches available in Southwest Florida. For small groups of 20 or fewer, there isn’t even a permit fee. If you have more than 20 people or would like to provide chairs for your guests, there is a small permit fee at most of the beaches. Simply contact the city where you are going to get married.
The best time of the year for a beach wedding in Southwest Florida is during winter and early spring, from December through April. October, November and May, June are also popular, but there is still a higher risk of inclement weather. Dare I say hurricane season, which is technically June 1 - November 30.
Besides hurricanes, the chance of just good old-fashioned rain is very high in the summer months. It also starts to get very hot!
Saturday is still the most popular day to get married, and most popular venues book up quickly. If you’re having a destination wedding and your guests are traveling, you may want to consider another day of the week. The beaches are less crowded and many of the venues offer substantial mid-week discounts.
The time of day you plan your actual ceremony is also an important decision, as it will affect your wedding photography, as well as the comfort of your guest. The ideal time is about an hour and a half before sunset. This is the “magic hour” when the light is at its most beautiful. The light is quite harsh earlier, especially on the beach where it reflects off the sand. This makes it nearly impossible for you and guests not to squint. And nobody looks good squinting in photographs!
Starting an hour and a half before sunset allows ample time for your ceremony, but also for beautiful romantic photographs of you and your new spouse timed to coincide with the famous SWF sunset. Just ask your wedding photographer what time sunset is on your date or you can go to: www.sunrisesunset.com.
There is a modern, international airport in Fort Myers (RSW) that makes traveling for you and your guests quite convenient. It also makes it easy to jet away for your honeymoon, although many couples choose this location for both their wedding and their honeymoon.
So pack up your sunscreen and get ready to marry on one of the most beautiful beaches on Earth.
Shari Bare is a Naples and Fort Myers based wedding and portrait photographer who loves to photograph on beaches both near and far. She is available for weddings throughout Florida, the USA and the world.
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