If you’re after a beach wedding in Georgia, it’s all about the islands – and with 18 barrier islands, there’s plenty to choose from. The barrier islands are the mid-portion of the sandy barriers running from the middle of the South Carolina coast to the mouth of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida.
With a unique blend of coastal ecosystems and generally accessible only by ferry, they make an unforgettable and naturally secluded wedding backdrop. A blend of natural and built environments, you will also be spoilt for choice when it comes to reception venues – elegant Georgian architecture is definitely the way to go here.
The Jekyll Island is probably one of the most stunning, with the Georgia Beach one of the most elegant beaches in the world, offering amazing sunrises and sunsets and unique natural landscapes. Tybee Island is equally as good.
And while in Georgia, don’t forget to sample delicacies like soft-shelled crabs and Brunswick stew – and enjoy the music!
Most Popular Beach Locations
Jekyll Island - The beautiful Jekyll Island is the ideal wedding venue in Georgia. With stunning beaches and vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, amazing sunrises and sunsets, it’s well packaged for romance. For a beach wedding, you can hire the Ocean Front Gazebo on Georgia Beach or you could plan a beachside wedding with The Villas by the Sea luxury resort. The Rocky Cove is another popular wedding spot for would be couples.
Riverboat Cruise, Savannah - While it might not be the beach, we couldn’t mention Georgia without suggesting a riverboat cruise for your wedding celebrations. Imagine marrying on a boat in the harbor, then setting off with all your guests for a night of feasting, dancing and romance. http://savannahriverboat.com/
Sapelo Island, Darien - One of the best examples of a barrier island’s natural beauty, Sapelo Island offers complex beach and dune ecosystems. As it’s only accessible by ferry (from Meridian), you’re sure to have a private oasis for your special day. There is also Reynolds Mansion, which could make for a delightful place to celebrate afterwards.
Sea Island - Renew the spirit, savor distinctive luxury, and reclaim nature’s timeless rhythm with a wedding at Sea Island. The Cloister resort offers five miles of private beach and Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond accommodation for your wedding day, right next to the beach.
Tybee Island - Whether you’re planning a small private wedding or a grand affair with all the trimmings, a Tybee Island has marked its place on the map as a wedding destination. With wonderful weather, gorgeous beaches and a laid back southern elegance, you can plan a wedding and a honeymoon in one, almost any time of year.
Travel & Transportation (airports, ferries, etc). How to get there. - To fly to the Georgia coast from international destinations, you will need to fly to the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in the north. You can then take a connecting flight to Brunswick airport in the south, or just drive if you have the time.
Entry Requirements; passports, visa, etc. - If you are from Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand you do not require a visa to enter the US. You only need a valid passport and proof of ongoing or return travel as long as your stay does not exceed 90 days. Citizens of other countries will require a visa. Note that the US government administers a strict entry regime. If in doubt, you should contact your nearest US embassy or consulate about your specific circumstances.
Languages Spoken / official language. - The official language is English.
Currency - The official currency is the US dollar.
Tipping - In the US, most waiters and bartenders are paid below minimum wage, as they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. So if you’re in the US, you really should tip. A good rule of thumb is to tip 15 percent of the food bill to the waiter, and if the alcohol consumption has been substantial, split that part of the tip between the waiter and the bartender (if there is one). Always remember to pay the tip in cash directly to the person who has provided you with the service. Of course, if you think the service was terrible then you shouldn’t tip. For large groups, check your bill first as sometimes the tip is added automatically.
Taxes - In the US sales tax is applied to retail goods at the point of sale. There are also airport taxes, however generally these are paid along with the purchase of your airline ticket.
Electricity - The electrical systems in most residential and commercial sites in the US use 120V and 60Hz. The electrical plug in use is known as the Type A electrical plug, which has two flat parallel prongs.
Other (immunizations, health issues) - All travellers going overseas should be up-to-date with their routine vaccinations, which are usually given to babies and children, with some boosters given in adult life. Adults should have had a Tetanus booster in the last 10 years and consider having an Influenza vaccination if they have not had one in the past year.
Marriage Requirements, Licenses & Wedding Information
As state and county marriage license requirements often change, it’s important that you verify all information with a local marriage license office or County Clerk before confirming your wedding or travel plans.
Currently the Following Applies:
- You do not have to be a resident of Georgia to get married there. However, if you’re not a resident you need to apply in the County where you intend to marry.
- You need to apply for a marriage license from a County Clerk.
- You will need to provide two forms of ID such as a driver's license, birth certificate, passport, Armed Forces ID card, or Resident Alien ID card.
- The license fee will cost at least $65 (varies by County). Cash is required in most counties.
- There is no waiting period.
- Once a marriage license is issued, there is no expiry date.
- If divorced within 6 months, you will need to show a copy of your divorce decree. Some counties require a final divorce decree no matter how long you’ve been divorced.
- If applicants are under 18, both of the minor’s parents or legal guardians must give their consent to the marriage in person. In some counties the couple must also appear before a judge.
- Same-sex marriage is not permitted.
- Marriage ceremonies can be performed by Ordained Ministers, Clergy or Pastors of recognized religious societies, and Justices of the Peace.
- State law requires that counties charge more for a marriage license if couples have not completed a premarital education course.
Requirements for a Beach Wedding:
- You might need a special permit to hold your wedding on a beach or other public space if it is part of a State Park. For more information visit The Department of Natural Resources.
Tourism Office Information
Other Georgia Related Websites
Climate Information & The Best Time to Travel
The climate of Georgia is typical of a humid subtropical climate with most the coast having mild winters (highs of about 60°F in January) and hot, humid summers (highs of about 92°F in July). Although Georgia is vulnerable to hurricanes in the summer and fall, direct hurricane strikes are rare. Usually they come close to the coastline on their way north, bringing tropical storms to the coast. So if you want to avoid humidity, cool weather, and potential storms, spring is best!
High & Low Season for Travel - If you want to plan your wedding for the best weather, then spring is it. You just need to avoid Spring Break, which is a high season for Georgia. You could also consider weekdays (Monday through Thursday), when you’ll find cheaper airfares and accommodation rates.
Map of Georgia
Local Attractions & Must Do’s
Georgia is all about colonial history, beautifully maintained homes of yesteryear, and of course the natural beauty of its unique coastline. Here are some of the places you really should visit.
For colonial history, you can’t go past the forts. Fort Frederica, St. Simons Island, is where troops defeated the Spanish in 1742, ensuring Georgia's future as a British colony. Fort King George, Darien, is the oldest English fort remaining on Georgia's coast. Fort Morris, Midway, was built around 1776 to protect the growing seaport from the British.
With so many barrier islands off the coast, it’s worthwhile visiting the Island Maritime Center on St. Simons Island to learn more about the natural history of the area. And for the best example of a barrier island’s natural community, from the forested uplands, to the vast salt marsh, and the complex beach and dunes systems, you can’t go past Sapelo Island, Darien.
Tybee Island offers many attractions and activities such as Historic Fort Pulaski, The Tybee Island Lighthouse Station and Museum, inshore and offshore fishing charters, eco-tours, dolphin tours, water sports, award-winning restaurants, and a breathtaking oceanfront setting.
And don’t forget to end at least one of your days with an evening of dinner, live entertainment, and an unforgettable tour of Savannah on a sightseeing riverboat cruise, taking in the harbor in the moonlight.
Top 5 Most Popular Hotels
Georgia’s accommodation offers a blend of nostalgic historic buildings on its coastal rivers and beaches, right through to top class luxury resorts. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer.
Darien Waterfront Inn - No ordinary stopover, Darien Waterfront Inn sits at the end of historic Broad Street in a 75-year-old warehouse that boast a riverfront porch spanning the establishment from end-to-end. A few feet from the Darien Development Authority boat docks, you can launch your kayak or take a rest on your journey along the Intracoastal Waterway.
DeSoto Beach Hotel - The DeSoto Beach Hotel is less than 20 minutes from historic downtown Savannah, 45 minutes from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, and only steps from Tybee Island's beautiful beachfront.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel - Rated among the top 500 resorts in the world by Travel & Leisure, the Jekyll Island Club hotel offers superb resort accommodations, outstanding service, and an unforgettable experience with all the nostalgia of a true Georgian beauty.
Spencer House Inn - Spencer House Inn Bed & Breakfast, circa 1872, is your ideal coastal retreat. The Inn is located within the historic district of St. Marys, Georgia, and within walking distance to the ferry that takes you to Cumberland Island National Seashore. Wedding packages are available. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cloister, Sea Island - A stunning Georgia luxury resort, consistently garnering prestigious travel awards in the US and an adored destination since 1928, delight in the gracious service, stunning diversions, expansive fairways, and surrounding natural beauty of this unforgettable property.