How to Officiate Weddings in Tampa
A Tampa Wedding Ceremony Guide For Wedding Ministers and Couples
If you’re planning a wedding in Florida, make sure to check out what “Cigar City” has to offer. Tucked inside beautiful Tampa Bay on the western coast of Florida, this Gulf Coast metropolis is home to some of the state’s most beautiful, sunny beaches, its best food (can you say Cuban sandwiches?) and cultural points of interest — and it still packs a punch of zesty nightlife reminiscent of its southern sister, Miami.
Thanks to its steady flow of year-round tourism, it’s also chock full of luxurious accommodations, which make it a hotbed (no pun intended) of lavish wedding venues.
Whether you’re hosting a classic, wholesome celebration of love, or a blowout your guests will never forget, hangovers and all, Tampa’s got what you need. But before you start planning your party in paradise, let us help you get the paperwork out of the way, starting with licensing your chosen wedding officiant.
According to Hillsborough County Clerk’s website, county clerks, public notaries, ship captains and ministers can perform wedding ceremonies. But if you don’t fall into any of these categories, don’t sweat it. You can get ordained with AMM to become a legal minister in just a few minutes, and it’s free!
When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Hillsborough County may ask you to present documentation, which AMM provides for a small fee. (You can call the county clerk’s office before you perform the ceremony to ask if they will require you to bring the certificate in person.)
Now that the easy part is out of the way, let’s get you prepared for the wedding ceremony itself. If a couple has asked you to officiate their wedding ceremony, you know what an honor it is, but it can definitely feel like a lot of pressure. Check out our wedding training pages, which offer a plethora of prompts to help you start preparing for your first ceremony.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.
In Tampa, once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. The couple will take care of the rest.
Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities.
In the meantime, you can book your appointment with the Clerk of Circuit Court in downtown Tampa via the online portal. Or just walk anytime and wait, no appointment necessary.
Before you go, you can print out the marriage license application form available online and complete it prior to your appointment to save time. But if you don’t have access to a printer, the county clerk’s office can provide you one to fill out in person.
-- ID (a valid driver's license, state identification card, or passport will work)
-- Social security numbers (it is not necessary to bring in the social security card as long as you have the number memorized or written down)
The fee is $86 or $61 for Florida residents who have completed a premarital preparation course with a registered course provider. All payment methods are accepted (cash, money order, traveler's check, credit card, or personal check.)
Issuance Office: 419 Pierce St, Tampa, FL 33602
Waiting Period: Three days
Expiration: 60 days
Return: by Couple
The Basics -- Tampa has a little bit of everything: loads of beach bars, nightclubs and restaurants, as well as some impressive music venues and museums. When it comes to choosing your wedding venue, Tampa’s options can be broken down into Beach and Non-Beach.
You can get lost in the number of options from the former category. There are dozens of gorgeous private settings on the Gulf Coast, like resorts, hotels and boating clubs. You can start to narrow it down by reading about Tampa’s best beaches, and seeing what jumps out at you.
One of our favorites is Honeymoon Island. It’s perfectly suited name. This state park has four miles of gorgeous white Floridian sand, where you can say “I do” at sunset. Inland, you can also explore the pristine nature of the pine forest by taking a hike on Osprey Trail. It doesn’t get any more romantic than this.
If you’re not about a beach vibe, Tampa also offers some amazing venues away from the water that will make you swoon, like the Oxford Exchange — a trendy brunch spot and community hub, as well as a highly-rated, uber popular wedding venue in its spare time. Its high ceilings and black-and-white tile set the scene for a wedding that oozes Great Gatsby opulence. Or if you’re envisioning more of a casual gathering, there are plenty of options perfect for that as well, like the Lange Farm, half an hour from downtown Tampa. Don’t look at the photos of this venue unless you’re ready to discover your deep inner yearning to move to the countryside and live in a farmhouse that you didn’t know you had.
Transportation -- Tampa isn’t known for having good public transportation outside of downtown, so if you’re from out of town, you’ll want to either rent a car or plan to utilize Lyft and/or Uber, both of which are available. Depending on how much hopping around town you plan to do, renting a car may end up being the cheapest option, but be warned that traffic can be agonizing on the interstates and bridges, especially during rush hour, so allocate extra time to get from point A to point B.
Weather -- If you’re a Florida native, we don’t have to warn you about the heat and humidity. Temperatures in Tampa stay below 100 degrees year-round, but the humidity and sun will make it feel like a sauna. Hurricane season starts in June and lasts until December, but most of the tropical storms hit between August and October. So, if you’re planning a wedding, choosing a winter date is a safer bet. Skies are usually clear and temperatures stay in the comfortable 60s and 70s.