Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if I am unsure of my guest count?

Estimate the number of guests you think will attend. A manager will contact you 30 days prior to the wedding to confirm your final headcount.  Any adjustments can be made at this time.

How will my guests know where to go when they arrive at the park?

Your guests will be issued a map event card upon entering the park.  This card will highlight the route to where your event will take place.  These map cards help the out-of-town guests find where they need to go in the park.

Do guests have to pay to enter the park?

The beach ceremony fee includes your guests and vendors entry into the park and their parking for up to the number you have prepaid for in your contract.

What happens if it rains and I did not reserve a pavilion?

We do our best to coordinate the ceremony on the beach, but in the event of foul weather/rain, we can adjust the ceremony time around the rain.  You may also reserve a pavilion in advance, for a fee of $106.00.

What if I go over my prepaid guest count?

If you exceed your prepaid guest count, the fees will be deducted from your deposit.  If you exceed by 1-4 guests/vendors, a $3.00 per person fee will be deducted from the deposit.  If you have more than 5 extra guests/vendors attend your event, you will need to pay the difference between the contracted prepaid fee and the next group fees.  For example, if you have paid for 1-30 guests/vendors, the fee is $375.00.  If 34 guests/vendors attend, that is an extra $12.00 ($3.00 multiplied by 4 extra guests).  The $12.00 will be subtracted from the $150.00 deposit, which means the deposit due back to you would be $138.00.  If 40 guests/vendors attend the event, then you will be in the 31-50 guest/vendor category.  Since it is $375.00 for 13-30 guests/vendors, and $475 for 31-50 guests/vendors, you will have to pay the difference of $100.00.  This will be deducted from the $150.00 security deposit, and you will be issued a $50.00 refund.

Do I have to include vendors (photographer, officiant, catering, etc.) in my overall guest count?

Anyone attending or participating in your event at the park, must be included in your overall count.  We are a state park.  Anyone admitted into the park must be accounted for, and fees must be paid to the state.  This includes officiants, photographers, cake delivery, rental company setup, wedding coordinators, catering companies and guests.

Is there anywhere for the bridal party to get dressed at the park?

We do not have a separate area for bridal parties to get ready for events.  We only offer the park’s public restrooms and they are used by everyone.  The restrooms are not air-conditioned.

What time do the sunset ceremonies start?

Ceremonies begin approximately 1-1.5 hours prior to sunset on that particular date.  This allows enough time for ceremony, pictures and breakdown of all decorations.  Any other ceremony times must be approved by the Director of Operations and the State Park Manager in advance.

Can I stay after sunset to take pictures even though the park is closed?

The park closes for everyone at sunset daily.  No one is allowed to stay in the park past sunset to take pictures or take down decorations.  Anyone remaining in the state park after sunset will be subject to fines issued by Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers.

If I don’t have any guests, do I still have to reserve a ceremony through the park?

Yes, we only host a limited number of ceremonies on the beach each day.  This allows each couple a special day in a reserved area on the beach.  The number of guests/participants for the ceremony will determine the location on the beach for the ceremony, as well.

Can my dog participate in the beach ceremony?

Okaloosa County and the City of Destin prohibit any dogs/cats on the beach unless it is a registered service dog.

Can I get a refund due to inclement weather?

We will issue a full refund in the event the state closes the park from hurricane warnings and watches.  As long as the park is open to the public, all events will take place as scheduled.

Can I come in the day prior to view the ceremony location?

Anytime a client/guest enters the state park, they must be accounted for by either paying the state park entrance fee, or being tallied if the guests is there for an event.  If you come to the park prior to the ceremony date, you will need to pay the park entrance fee to enter the park and look at the venue.

When do I get my security deposit back?

All security deposits are refunded to clients within 10-14 business days after an event is completed.  Any additional guests that attend above the prepaid amount will be deducted from the deposit.  Your deposit may be forfeited or a partial amount may be deducted if anything is left on the beach, such as flower petals, or for anything that requires staff to clean up.  We take great pride in keeping our white, sandy beach clean!

Will the boardwalks be blocked off to the public?

All boardwalks are open to the public and cannot be closed off for an event.  Generally, we ask park guests to wait while the bride walks down the boardwalk to the beach.  This is usually not an issue.  We cannot make guests wait to use the public walkways, we can only ask them to.

How is the beach area reserved?

The staff places four large signs on the beach stating that a private event will be taking place in this area, and to refrain from using the reserved area.  We place the signs as close to the water as possible, depending on the tide.  Please keep in mind there will most likely be regular park guests on either side of the reserved signs and potentially guests in the water.  We are a state park first, and destination wedding location second.  People are generally very courteous and usually just want to enjoy the day at the park and perhaps watch the ceremony!

Does Anne Marie coordinate the ceremony?

No, Anne Marie only schedules the events.  The wedding party is responsible for hiring a wedding planner.

What do I do if I want to add a rehearsal?

If you would like to add a rehearsal, you will need to contact Anne Marie via phone or e-mail and let her know.  The cost is $50.00 for up to 15 participants, based upon availability.

Can I use my own wedding event coordinator?

Yes, but they must be on the pre-approved vendor list.

Can I use flower petals on the beach?

Flower petals are not allowed on the beach.  As an alternative, mini starfish are available for purchase.  Please call for pricing.

Do I have access to a beach wheelchair?

Yes, beach wheelchairs are available for no extra cost.  It is important to let Anne Marie know ahead of time.  This will ensure it is ready on time for the event.  There is also limited availability, and a form must be completed prior to renting.

How long is the beach reserved for my ceremony?

It is reserved starting approximately three hours prior to sunset.

What would cause me to lose my deposit?

There are a few things that could cause you to lose your deposit.  For example, your deposit may be kept if more guests attend than the amount that was paid for, if debris from the wedding has been left on the beach or pavilion, if prohibited items, like sparklers, were used during the event, if park staff has to stay later than sunset, or if you booked an after-hours event and park staff has to stay later than 10:00p.m.  Please read over your contract carefully, as it will have a full list of do’s and don’ts.

Will there be park guests near me during my ceremony?

Yes, there will most likely be regular park guests on either side of the reserved signs and potentially guests in the water.  We are a state park first, and destination wedding location second.  We cannot ask people to move, unless they are within the reserved space.  People are generally very courteous and usually just want to enjoy the day at the park and perhaps watch the ceremony!

What decorations can I use on the beach?

Plastic or wooden chairs and benches, any type of arbor and shepherd’s hooks are allowed.  Glass and artificial flowers are not allowed.  Any type of flower petals on the ground are not allowed.  Please read over your contract carefully, as it will have a full list of do’s and don’ts.

Is alcohol prohibited?

Alcohol is prohibited during normal business hours.  If you have purchased an after-hours reception, alcohol is allowed when the state park closes, after sunset.

Why was the location of my ceremony changed?

We want to accommodate every guest and do our best to ensure a wonderful experience.  It does not happen often, but sometimes unforeseen circumstances can cause a change in ceremony location.  Accommodating guests with handicap accessibility needs is a common cause.

What are the cancellation policies?

There are no refunds within 90 days of the event.  Outside of the 90 days, customers may cancel and receive a full refund less a $100.00 administrative fee.

Are drones allowed for video footage?

Drones are not allowed in the state park.

If the newlyweds set up their own chairs, do they have to have insurance?

Yes, a certificate of liability insurance is required.  You can either handle this through your insurance company, or we can recommend other options for you.

Is there electricity on the beach?

No, there is not.

Can I leave the park and come back?

Yes, as long as it is before sunset.  When you leave the state park, you will need to bring your map event card that was given to you upon arrival.  The map event card is your re-entry ticket. If you booked an after-hours reception, you will need to coordinate this with the on-site event staff.

Are children included in the total guest count?

Children ages 6 and under are not included in your total guest count.  Please let us know when you arrive how many children in your vehicle are under the age of 6.  This will let us know not to count them towards the grand total.

Can I bring more than 15 guests to my rehearsal?

Yes.  Any additional guests over the pre-paid amount of 15 will be deducted from the security deposit.

Can I host a reception at the pavilion?

Yes, for an additional fee.  Please contact Anne Marie via phone or e-mail for pricing and availability.

Can I have a tent on the beach?

No, tents are not allowed.

Can the picnic tables be removed from the pavilion?

No, they must remain on the pavilion at all times.

Is there lighting in the pavilion?

There is amber lighting only, and additional lighting is recommended.  It is up to the wedding party to provide lighting for their event.

Are there electrical outlets in the pavilion?

Yes, there are four per pavilion.

Is there protective covering for the pavilion if the weather is bad?

One pavilion does have optional protective covering, the rest do not.  If you are wanting the optional protective covering, please let Anne Marie know at time of booking.  There is limited availability for this, but we will do our best to accommodate.

Can I have a DJ for my reception?

Yes, but the DJ must be on the pre-approved vendor list, follow all county noise ordinances and vacate by 10:00p.m.

Why is staff required for an after-hours event?

Event staff is required at every after-hours event to ensure safety and guest satisfaction.

What time does everyone need to be out of the park?

Everyone needs to be out of the park no later than 10:00p.m.  For every 15 minutes after 10:00p.m. it will cost an extra $150.00.

Can I hire my own vendors?

Yes, but they must be on the pre-approved vendor list.

Is glass stemware allowed in the pavilion?

Glass is not allowed in any of the pavilions as it is a safety concern.

Can I pay extra money to stay past 10:00pm?

No, everyone must be out of the park by 10:00p.m.

How do I book my wedding?

In order to book, you must call in and book with Anne Marie directly.  Full payment is due at time of booking.  Once the contract is signed, your date is confirmed.

How do I know if a date is available?

You will need to contact the Operations and Events Manager, Anne Marie.

Is all of the money due up front?

Yes, we take full payment at time of booking.

When will I receive my confirmation e-mail?

You will receive your confirmation within 24-hours of booking.

How can I pay for my ceremony?

We take payment via cash, check, money order and credit card.  All major credit card companies are accepted.

Can I add a reception later?

Yes.  This is based on availability, as we are limited to how many we can host in a given day.

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