How to Elope in St. Augustine
Choosing to elope or have an intimate wedding in St. Augustine allows you to enjoy the historic city and its blissful beaches without breaking the bank. Whether you want to recite your vows with your toes in the sand or under a canopy of large oaks and magnolia, we’ve got you covered. We know just what makes St. Augustine ideal for elopements and small weddings, the best venues and beaches to choose from, plus all the nitty-gritty logistical details, from how to obtain your marriage license to how much a St. Augustine elopement package will cost you.
Why elope in St. Augustine?
Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the U.S. For more than 200 years, the city served as the capital of Spanish Florida, so there’s rich history is everywhere in this small town. In addition to a charming downtown with cobblestone streets and historic landmarks, St. Augustine has miles of pristine beaches: some with white sands and calm waters, others ideal for nature watching, fishing, surfing, kayaking, or sailing.
Where are the best places to elope in St. Augustine?
Although there are 42 miles of beach to choose from (many of which are wheelchair accessible), St. John’s County Beaches are a great option! We like North, Vilano, and Crescent Beaches. Pretty much all of the beaches have ample parking and restroom facilities. The maximum guest count is 50 people across beaches, however, due to Covid-19, that number is limited to 16 until June 1. No matter where you choose, you can’t go wrong with this stretch of coastline or the price—permits for St. Augustine beach elopements vary in price, but tend to process in about two weeks. Note that no alcohol, fireworks, or fires are permitted. It’s also important to always check tide conditions in advance of your ceremony and account for the requirements of the sea turtle nesting season from May 1 to October 31.
The Peña-Peck House Garden is a stunning historical house that sits in the heart of downtown St. Augustine and is walkable from most accommodations. Built in 1750 for the Royal Spanish Treasurer, Juan Estevan de Peña, the second story was added In 1837 by Dr. Seth Peck. Say your “I Dos” beneath the mature oak trees, which provide shade and a buffer to the outside world. This location allows up to eight guests and alcohol.
To the south of St. Augustine is Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, where you can choose between a beachfront wedding or a lush, intimate ceremony in the rose garden. The beach is known for its unique shoreline of coquina rock formations while the park gardens are famous for a giant live oak tree. For this location, reservations need to be booked 10 months out, no alcohol is allowed, and up to 25 guests are permitted. If you’re looking for a holiday wedding, aim for November 15 through December 31 when the park is decorated for the Christmas season.
Lastly, we love the Villa Zorayda Museum, a unique Spanish Revival structure that’s ideal for an intimate, indoor St. Augustine wedding. Built in 1883, the building is adorned with architectural gems in the style of the 12th-century Moorish castle Alhambra. This venue can be booked year-round for an hour and a half ceremony after 5 pm. Up to 20 guests are permitted, although alcohol is not.