Beach weddings are apparently on a dramatic rise in the U.S. But one county in particular is really feeling the brunt of the draw of beach weddings: Okaloosa County. The County Administrator, Jim Curry, has recently expressed his disbelief about the rise in beach weddings, describing them as an "economic engine."
People come from all over to book hotel rooms, eat local food and spend money in town. This has helped the Okaloosa County economy tremendously. Now, there are at least 60 wedding planners in just this one county, but it's expected that there is at least 100.
However, a recent dispute over weddings to be held in James Lee Park has pointed to numerous problems the county has yet to resolve. A developer by the name of Bob Bonezzi leases beach property from the county. He owns a restaurant called The Crab Trap in this area. However, many wedding planners are butting heads this him because he is determining when beach weddings can be held in the beach park area.
Another problem is that many of the weddings are going on without permits and only seven beach wedding planners are actually certified to hold weddings on public beaches in the county, which is drastically less than the 60-100 figure cited earlier.
Regardless of what happens, however, beach wedding bookings are unlikely to decrease any time soon in Okaloosa, whether they are officially permitted or not.