How to Elope in Alabama on the Beach

Couple at the beach at sunset holding each other and touching noses.

I am here as your personal guide and to help show you exactly how to elope on the beach in Alabama and beyond.

Wanting to say “I Do” in one of the South’s best keep secrets? Wanting to start your forever in paradise? Home of the white sandy beaches and emerald crested water, it’s no surprise that Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are two of the most romantic beaches to become one. Be barefoot in the sand listening to the waves crashing while the sun dips just below the horizon like it’s flirting with the moon…Your intimate elopement or destination wedding can begin here on the Gulf Coast. This blog will help you understand how to elope on the beach in Alabama.

Orange Beach and Gulf Shores may have different area codes, but their beaches are married; there isn’t one without the other. Their 17 mile stretch of sand is home to numerous ceremony and elopement locations. But…there are some things to think about before you say “Yes” to sand and sea.

Wedding Couple kissing at a marina with yachts in the background. The bride's veil is flowing and stretched out.

Can Elope On the Beach?

You’ve decided you want to get married on the beach…. but wait is that even possible?! The short answer is “YES, you CAN”, there are just a few things you’ll have to make sure to do. Getting married on any public beach property is a no-no. This means *private property* is acceptable as long as you have permission from the owner. Some things to consider when thinking about a wedding location on the beach:

  • 01. Renting a Beach House (Airbnb or Other)- Your first option to getting married on the actual beach with your toes in the sand would be to contact the owner of any beach homes you are considering visiting and renting. Because the homes are considered private property, so is their beach access.
  • 02. Contacting the Gulf State Park to use one of their four locations. Each location has its own separate site fee. The good news is, if you decide to hire a wedding planner, the cost should be covered by their company (*something to confirm). In addition to having a site fee, there are photographer fees as well but don’t worry, I GOT YOU COVERED SISTA.
    • Romar Beach (No setup or decorations, 10 guest max)
    • Cotton Bayou (50 guest max)
    • Alabama Point (*my personal favorite as it has the rocks, sand, and grass)

After deciding on which location to say “I do” at, you’ll need to obtain your marriage certificate. In the state of Alabama, you no longer need a license or ceremony, but rather two signatures (yours and your partners) and a notary public. The cost and other information on how to elope in Alabama on the beach and to obtain the license can be found here.

Bridal Elopements in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Beach Elopement at the Alabama Marina
Elopement Wedding Dress in Orange Beach

Weather and Other Events

Gulf Shores and OBA weather depends really on the time of the year. January through March brings showers weekly, but it also happens to be the least amount of tourist traffic. The air isn’t as humid, and the temperatures average around 60 degrees. This makes for beautiful sunsets, clear waters, and cooler nights.

The summer months are known for hurricane season, but it actually lasts until November. Things are very unpredictable, so there is always a chance that Mother Nature will swing one our way with only 5-7 days of preparation. This is also a very popular time for tourism, so be mindful that your ceremony may not be as private as you’d like. On the other hand, this is the perfect time to get those steamy, passionate couples’ photos in the water—yes, IN THE WATER.

Gulf Shores is also home to some super popular events like The Hangout Music Festival, The Shrimp Festival, and Mardi Gras Celebrations. Orange Beach is a little less ‘festivals’ and more so major entertainment hosting large bands, musicians, and other musical events almost nightly at The Wharf. These events are something to think about when planning your destination wedding or elopement here at the Gulf Coast. Our towns are small and get congested easily so extra time may be warranted.

Helpful Tips Along the Way

SPF: The beach is such a masterpiece of God’s creation. If you respect it, you will reap its benefits. Our rays here on the Gulf Coast are off da charts. Bring the SPF 100. Lather it up often. I want you to love your portraits and I want you to feel something when you see them...but being burnt just ain’t it.

Airport: The closest airport is Pensacola (PNS) lying right at about 45 minutes away. There are tons (seriously) of taxi, uber, transportation options for you to choose from to get you from each point.

Attire: Break up with the idea of high heels, boots, or any formal shoe. Flip-Flops, Bare feet, or loafers is the way to go. Opt-in for a more comfortable wardrobe if you want …. like even throwing in the bikini and trunks for couple portraits! It’s the beach after all, where else could you get married in a swimsuit?!

Ready to plan your epic elopement?


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