Do You Need a Permit to Get Married on the Beach?

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Gaining the legal permits to marry on the beach is dependent on many factors such as whether the desired ceremony site is a public or private beach, if your state or county requires such permits and if you have all other necessary paperwork in order. Check with the Parks and Recreation Department in the county where the beach is located to check on requirements and permit instructions, if applicable.


Call your county parks and recreation department or the office in the county of the beach to gain the requirements and application for the nuptial permit or the permit to use public grounds for non-commercial use. The office representative can give you information specific to the coastal area. If wishing to marry on a private beach, contact the beach owner for permission, but a legal permit may not be necessary.


Ensure that prior to applying for a permit to marry on a public beach, you have the necessary paperwork in order. Many parks and recreation departments may not issue such a permit if a marriage certificate is not granted or if a legal officiant has not been contracted to perform the ceremony. Make copies of these pieces of paperwork to submit with the permit application. Pay the fee and keep a copy of the check as proof of payment as well as a copy of the permit application with a date. Other beach areas may require you to gain a temporary liability insurance policy to hold the city or county harmless for any injury during the ceremony from negligence, acts of nature or any other reason. A copy of that policy is often required with the permit application.


When contacting the parks and recreation department for the use of public beach for a wedding ceremony, ask for a list of rules and regulations regarding ceremonies. Many departments limit the use of furnishing such as archways, seating and decor while others do not permit throwing rice or confetti to reduce harm to animals and to keep the public beaches clean. Due to open container laws in specific states, the consumption of alcohol is often refused during a beach ceremony.


Contact the destination parks and recreation department well in advance to reserve your date or to give you adequate time to gain the necessary permit. Some areas require the permit to be voted on by the city council, which may take a few months to get the permit, depending on the council schedule.