How To Elope In The Florida Keys

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bride and groom walking on the beach

It’s really happening! You’re getting married—congratulations! For so long you have been dreaming of getting engaged…and then wedding planning reality sets in. Have you realized that planning a wedding is more stressful than you ever imagined? Has your carefree fairytale started to seem more daunting than anything resembling romance?Do you and your partner want to just scratch the elaborate plans and elope in the Florida Keys? If an intimate Florida elopement sounds more and more like it’s for you, then read further.

A destination elopement in the Florida Keys is a great way to create a destination vibe within actually leaving the country. There are amazing Florida Keys wedding planners who can help you put together your elopement, but what else do you need to know before jetting off to the beach with your beau in hand? We’ve got the answers.

bride and groom in front of colorful beach shack in Key West

Photo Credit || Living Water Images

bride and groom in front of Key West sign

Photo Credit || Julie Anne Wedding Photography

The 411 On Elopements

If you check Wikipedia, it’ll tell you than an elopement is “a marriage conducted in sudden and secretive fashion, usually involving hurried flight away from one’s place of residence together with one’s beloved with the intention of getting married.” Sure, that’s true, but these days an elopement is better described as a couple deciding to keep their wedding ceremony as simple and intimate as possible. Simply put, you, your partner, and an officiant are the only people who have to be present at your ceremony. Naturally, you may want to invite a very few close friends and family members, but once your list exceeds 10 guests, we’d say you’re just planning a small wedding, not an elopement.

Often, these are indeed “destination” weddings at gorgeous locales, which is why planning to elope in the Florida Keys is becoming so popular.

The Upsides To Eloping

Whether or not you should elope really depends on the couple. There are many reasons for choosing an elopement over a traditional wedding ceremony and reception. Couples may choose to forgo a large wedding because it’s grown so expensive to invite people to watch you walk down the aisle. Others might find large crowds to be stressful and overwhelming, so they choose to get married in private. Others still might find that their families don’t get along, that this isn’t the first time down the aisle, or that large weddings simply don’t interest them. Your reason for eloping is unique to you, and there is no right or wrong way to get married. The choice is entirely up to you.

Key West beach wedding two men hugging

Photo Credit || Living Water Images

Bride in pink dress holding hands with groom on beach

Photo Credit || Mariah Milan

Make It Legal

Good news! It’s super easy (and cheap!) to elope in the Florida Keys. There is no waiting period to get your marriage license if you are not a Florida resident, but if you do reside in the state, you will have a three-day wait. You can get your marriage license in any county in Florida and head over to Key West (or any other part of the Keys) for your elopement, and you don’t even have to have a witness present—it really can be just the two of you saying your vows to each other, along with a Florida Keys wedding officiant. The last of the great news is that a marriage license will only cost you $93.50 (in cash or check), so as long as you are over 18 and have a valid photo ID, you’re set to go.

Like we said before, you can get your marriage license in any county in the state, but if you want to pay a visit to the actual Florida Keys courthouse, here is the address:


500 Whitehead Street   Key West, Florida 33040

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday (except holidays)

Telephone: (305) 294-4641

It’s important to note that there are several days throughout the year when the courthouse will be closed. You can find all of that information here.

Let’s Do This

Just because you are eloping and having a very intimate ceremony doesn’t meant you can’t still get amazing pictures and have a wonderful party. A lot of couples plan destination elopements on Key West’s sparkling beaches, and if you want help arranging a venue and booking certain vendors, there are several Key West wedding planners who specialize in elopement ceremonies. Soirée Key West offers packages for couples looking for a low-key affair, so all you have to do is show up with your beloved and get ready to spend the rest of your life together. With all of that money that you will have saved, perhaps you can head out on a lavish, all-inclusive honeymoon after you seal the deal.

Where To Elope In The Florida Keys

We’re naming just a few here, but some of our favorite places to elope in the Keys include Smathers Beach, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, Little Palm Island, and the many private beaches located throughout the Keys.

Bride and groom hugging on a wooden pier overlooking marsh and water

Photo Credit || Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay

Bride and groom on a beach in the Florida Keys

Photo Credit || Limelight Photography

So, dear readers, if your new wedding fantasy is to elope in the Florida Keys, head off to the beach and let your toes sink in the sand while you marry the love of your life. Don’t forget—just because you’re eloping doesn’t mean you can’t register for amazing wedding gifts. And a huge congratulations from us at Zola!

Featured Photo Credit || Krista Photography



  1. Tammy says

    We are looking to elope just the two of us but can’t seem to find anyone who will make a special day for us unless we have guests.

    • Kate Lynn Nemett says

      Hi Tammy, thanks for writing. I don’t have any information on wedding planners in the Florida Keys area that will plan a special elopement for just a couple, but please keep checking out our vendor listings page on Zola, as we are continually expanding our vendor directory offerings. Hopefully you can find a Florida Keys wedding planner perfect for your special day. Good luck!

  2. Tammy Coleman says

    Looking to elope alone and everyone seems to want a party of 15 or more. We want it special but just us. Please send me information. Than you!

    • Hello Tammy!
      We are a well established resort in Islamorada, Florida keys. We have been doing weddings for over 15 years, and have been in business for 25. We are a small family owned boutique resort. We have just started doing elopements. We are now offering a package it specially tailored for elopement. Please feel free to give me a call and I can provide more information.

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