Beach weddings are some of the most beautiful and romantic locations to say “I Do.” All the elements are there to create the perfect backdrop for your big day. They can also be more affordable for those on a budget! You won’t need to add much in the way of décor – you are already surrounded by so much natural beauty!
If you’re thinking of having a beach wedding here are a few things to consider that will help you along the way.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Planning a beach wedding may seem casual and easy but there are just as many details to coordinate as an indoor wedding. Plus a Professional Wedding Planner can help scout locations and tell you which beaches are best depending on your vision, # of guests, accessibility, etc.
If you are planning a destination beach wedding out of town you will definitely need a planner who is familiar with the area you are looking to have your wedding so they can guide you in the right direction and make recommendations on local vendors such as photographers, music, rentals, wedding officiant, florist and much more.
A quiet beach is ideal but sometimes the waves can crash pretty loud. Or if you are next to a busy road you may have noisy traffic passing by. And don’t forget the public! Beaches are full of ocean loving beach-goers. Try to set up your ceremony in a quiet area that isn't too crowded and far enough away from the water to avoid water creeping into your space. Check the tide to find the right ceremony time as well to avoid having the wedding during high tide times. There are free apps you can download to your phone that make it really easy such as Tides Near Me.
Think about the Guests
Beach weddings typically are best suited for smaller groups. Because it is an intimate setting many couples opt to invite only their closes friends and family, keeping the guest count to a minimum. Also, it may be difficult for some of your elderly guests to walk on the sand. Keep in mind that there are no elevators or ramps for wheelchairs or those needing special assistance which can make things tricky.
In addition, some beach locations do not allow chairs which means your guests may have to stand the entire time. If you can be flexible on the idea of a beach wedding, another option is to have the ceremony on a cliff or hillside that is overlooking the beach. You can always drive down to the beach afterwards with your photographer to capture those beautiful photos!
Pick the Appropriate Season
Seasons matter! Pick a time of year that is warm and sunny but that is also bearable for you and your guest. You won’t want to be walking or standing in hot sand or having your guests drenched in sweat from sitting in the blazing sun! To be on the safe side a morning ceremony or late afternoon would be your best option to keep everyone comfortable. You will also get the best photos during these optimal times! Regardless of how much sun you have, always encourage your guests to wear sunblock and/or hats for their own protection.
While some beaches are plush with soft white sand, others may not. Be sure to consider the quality of the sand when deciding on the location and avoid beaches that are full of small rock and shells which can be nice to look at but painful to walk or stand on! If this is something you cannot avoid you will need to wear sandals to protect your feet and inform your guests as well prior to the wedding.
What to Wear
If you planning to get married on a beach chances are the weather will be warm or possibly humid depending where you are. California heat is not the same as Florida or Hawaii. Choose clothing that is comfortable, breathable and light. Avoid heavy fabrics that can weigh you down. And if you are the bride, choose a dress with a short train (or not train) that doesn’t drag too much in the sand. There may also be a coastal breeze so be sure to plan your outfit accordingly if you tend to get cold by the water and consider pulling back your hair or using clips to keep strays out of your face!
Most beaches are public and will require special permissions to perform wedding ceremonies. You will need to check with the city on the requirements and contact the county clerk’s office for approval and to make sure you are following their procedures and guidelines. Some beaches may require you to pay a fee in order to use it and to receive a permit. Be sure to check with the agency on rental requirements as well to find out what is allowed or not allowed on the beach such as chairs, arches, candles and music. Anything you bring to decorate the ceremony will need to be removed immediately after and always remember to remove any trash that may get left behind!
Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock Images
Image: Kacie Jean Phototography
Brenda Cali is a professionally trained Wedding Consultant and plans a variety of social and corporate events.