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By: Jenny Agress

Make the wedding of your dreams a reality in Greater Miami & Miami Beach. Whether you’re planning a wedding on a budget or the sky’s the limit, you’ll find plenty of options for your special day in Miami.

Worried about the details? Don’t be. Read on to learn about the logistics that go into planning a wedding in Miami, such as how to get your marriage license, who can perform the ceremony, where to shop for rings and a dress, and how to find the perfect venue that matches your style as a couple.

The First Step: Getting a Marriage License in Florida

Before your ceremony can take place, you’ll need to get the paperwork taken care of. You must first obtain a marriage license – and luckily, Miami makes it easy to do.

First, all applicants must complete the Marriage License Bureau Online Pre-Application. After you complete the pre-application, you’ll have 90 days to make and attend your in-person appointment. All appointments are scheduled online. The in-person portion will take place at the Marriage License Bureau in Downtown Miami (601 Northwest 1st Court, Suite 1900) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Both partners must be present at the appointment. Find more information about marriage licenses in Miami-Dade County.

The marriage license is valid anywhere in the state, so if you’re a Florida resident, you can apply for and attend your in-person appointment in your hometown, then get married in Miami. Each of you will need to show a photo ID with your correct legal name, birth date and signature, such as a U.S. driver’s license or passport, a U.S. military ID, an alien registration card, a state identification card issued by any state in the U.S., or an original naturalization certificate. All U.S. citizens and residents must also provide their Social Security number. Any non-U.S. citizens who don’t have a Social Security number can provide an alien registration card, a U.S. state-issued driver license or a passport number instead.

The cost of a marriage license is $86, but it’s reduced to $61 if you both take the four-hour Florida premarital course. Couples who take the premarital course will have an active marriage license immediately upon issue. Couples who don’t take the premarital course will need to wait three days from the date of issue for the marriage license to go into effect.

Beach wedding
Plan the ceremony within 60 days of getting the license

Who Can Officiate Your Marriage Ceremony in Miami?

Once you have your marriage license, your wedding ceremony must take place within the next 60 days. If short, sweet and “without a fuss” is your style, a brief civil ceremony can be performed by a Deputy Clerk at the Miami-Dade County Clerk’s office. Due to COVID-19, these ceremonies are currently limited to the couple only. You can, of course, meet up with friends and family for a celebration afterwards.

Not planning on having your marriage ceremony performed at the courthouse? You have plenty of other options for an officiant. In fact, all regularly ordained ministers of the gospel or ordained clergy, judicial officers (including retired ones), clerks of circuit court judges and notaries public of Florida may perform your ceremony. If you want a family member or special friend to perform the ceremony, they can easily become a notary in Florida. The service is available online, and the person will just need to fill out the paperwork and have their official notary documents mailed to them.

The Rings

Now, let’s focus on the fun stuff: the rings. You can find a beautiful engagement ring or wedding band in Miami that suits your taste and budget.

Downtown Miami’s Shopping District is a hub for in-the-know diamond shoppers looking for the perfect ring for that special someone. The stores don’t always have the glitz and glam of boutiques or more traditional department stores, but you’re sure to find a good deal and very knowledgeable, often multi-generational diamond dealers who have helped hundreds of couples before you. Head to the Seybold® Jewelry Building. It’s the largest jewelry center in Florida and has more than 300 jewelry experts. Another popular location is Kirk Jewelers, established in 1947, which has perfected the art of finding you the right ring for your other half.

Miracle Mile
Don't miss the shops on Bridal Row

Wedding Fashion

Downtown Coral Gables and Miracle Mile is considered “Bridal Row.” Walk down these Mediterranean-style streets and you’ll find boutiques carrying the most beautiful wedding dresses, accessories, shoes, bridesmaids’ dresses and more.

Start at Coral Gables Bridals, which has been “making brides’ dreams a reality since 1982.” It’s best known for its collection of mantilla veils, headpieces and jewelry accessories, but don’t skip over its stock of beautiful, gauzy wedding gowns from Spain, Italy, Australia, Turkey, Russia and the U.S. At Chic Parisien, you’ll find ornate, handmaid gowns by big-name designers such as Berta, Inbal Dror, Monique Lhuillier and Ines Di Santo. Not sure what you want? Make an appointment at David’s Bridal to try on dresses by a variety of designers.

These aren’t the only places for wedding shopping in Miami. For everything from hair accessories to a tux for the groom, check out the small boutiques at Mary Brickell Village, the mega-luxury brands in the Miami Design District, the exquisite designer names at Bal Harbour Shops or the hundreds of stores at Dadeland Mall or Aventura Mall.

Betsy Wedding
Have a picture-perfect ceremony at The Betsy's Ocean Front Deck

Venues

Whether you want a toes-in-the-sand wedding, an extravagant blowout or a quiet, romantic evening at a historic waterfront estate, Greater Miami & Miami Beach offers wedding venues for every couple’s style and interest.

For a fancy Miami Beach wedding right on Ocean Drive, enjoy an intimate, indulgent affair at The Betsy - South Beach. This luxury boutique hotel has 12 unique and dazzling venues, five-star service and a talented catering team led by James Beard Award nominee, Laurent Tourondel. For a backdrop you can’t resist, have the ceremony on the Ocean Front Deck, with sweeping views of the beach, followed by a glamorous rooftop reception under the stars.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is steeped in European extravagance. If you want to have an enchanting, romantic wedding, Vizcaya’s Renaissance-inspired villa and 10 formal gardens, all right on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, is just the place. Be sure to take photos in the garden – it’s laid out like Versailles and has classical statues, manicured shrub mazes and a fountain imported from Italy.

Head down to Palmetto Bay and you’ll find another historic Miami wedding venue. Deering Estate, once the 1920s-era home of wealthy industrialist Charles Deering, is spread across 444 acres of waterfront property on Biscayne Bay. Going there feels like discovering a hidden gem in Miami. Explore its 1922 Stone House (a Mediterranean-style home filled with cherished tapestries, paintings, books and antique furnishings) as well as its Richmond Cottage property, tropical hardwood hammock, rare pine rocklands and exotic gardens. Have your ceremony by the water or under the white lights in the stone courtyard, and you’ll fall in love all over again.

Ancient Monastery
Consider a Medieval setting at the Ancient Spanish Monastery

Not enough history for you? Consider getting married in a monastery that was brought over from Spain, stone by stone. Enjoy a traditional church wedding in a jaw-dropping venue when you plan your big day at the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami Beach. Stained-glass windows, hand-carved statues, colorful cloisters, carved ceilings and a bell tower take you back to Medieval Europe, while beautiful gardens, a whimsical courtyard, ivy-clad walls and stone arches set the stage for a wedding fit for a queen.

Visitors to Miami don’t always think about the destination’s rural side, but South Dade and Homestead offer a rich farming history and miles of groves overflowing with tropical fruits and vegetables. If the idea of hosting your wedding at the southernmost winery in the Continental U.S. sounds intriguing, check out Schnebly Redland's Winery. This expansive venue has a beautiful tropical courtyard and romantic waterfalls.

Right in the heart of South Dade, Redland Farm Life is the perfect venue for those looking for a rustic wedding. Its authentic, two-story wooden barn offers an ambiance of relaxed luxury, while five acres of surrounding tropical plants, a butterfly garden, a koi pond, waterfalls and a working farm create a beautiful backdrop for the rustic wedding of your dreams.

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