Preparing for your beach wedding

Intimate beach weddings are surprisingly inexpensive and uniquely wonderful. What’s a better view than white sand, glassy waves, and blue waters while declaring eternal love for someone?

You don’t need 500 guests and to spend hundreds of thousands just to get hitched. If you find large weddings intimidating and high heels unappealing, well – you can go barefoot and still get married. Plus, your “big day” will feel less jittery. It doubles as a holiday vacation.

One out of every four couples fantasizes about getting hitched abroad. Who could blame them? There’s just something appealing about tying the knot in an exotic location and setting. What bride-to-be wouldn’t want to stroll down the sandy aisle barefoot to her future husband? And just think of those amazing pictures!


However, the idea of that daunting process involving long flights, language barriers and foreign vendors puts a lot of couples off. That’s why they get married in the comfort of their home country. Of course, a destination wedding does not come without its stresses. What wedding does? There’s still a lot of planning involved, expense and thinking ahead for little things like windy weather. But if you plan beforehand, the ultimate result will be worth it.

Bringing in expert tips, we are going to show you the best way to plan for a beautiful beach wedding. These tips should help you prepare for your big day and ensure it is the dream wedding you’ve always wished for.

Is the beach public or private?

Since most beaches are public property, anyone can tie the knot in the sand. But other beachgoers and sun tanners can access the space, too. If you want privacy and seclusion, consider finding a private property, or asking a resort to reserve an area of the beach for your event.

Do you need special permits?

Not every public beach requires a permit for a wedding, but you should check with the city regardless. Some beaches have rules about the guest count, alcohol, bonfires, and music. If you do need a permit, make sure to understand the fees, approval process, liability insurance, and other important factors. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What will you do in the event of bad weather?

Many seaside celebrations take place in warm climates. But while tropical temperatures come with the territory, guests may become uncomfortable in the sweltering heat and beating sun. Consider scheduling your ceremony for the morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the weather. Also, make sure your ceremony site has sufficient shade, especially if many children or older people will be in attendance.

Consider the noise.

You may love the sounds of the sea when relaxing on the beach, but do you want crashing waves to interrupt your vow exchange? Prepare for natural noise by getting a professional sound system and finding a way to power it. We also recommend getting a windscreen for your microphone so breezes won’t affect the sound output.

Is it accessible to guests?

The half-mile walk to your oceanside altar may seem dreamy, but can everyone make the trek? When choosing a site, keep all guests (even your wobbly grandma and five-year-old nieces) in mind. Also make sure that rentals, such as chairs and tables, can be easily delivered to the site.


Make sure your flowers can handle it.

Thanks to the high heat and humidity of tropical climates, some flowers won’t survive until the first dance. If you’re having a beach wedding, stick with blooms that tolerate tropical weather without wilting, such as chrysanthemums, calla lilies, king protea, or orchids. You can also break away from flowers and decorate with fresh fruit, seashells, or other nautical elements.

Think about where food will be stored.

Nobody wants to eat cheese that’s been sitting in the blazing heat for an hour. If you have a buffet, choose foods that can handle some temperature, and avoid anything that will melt or spoil easily. The same advice goes for cake; buttercream may not stand up to sweltering weather.

Select complementary décor.

Envisioning lush flowers, elegant candles, and dangling ribbon at your reception? The infamous beach winds may have other plans. Choose decorative elements that will stand up against unexpected gusts, and steer clear anything lightweight or breakable. If you’re worried about place cards, vases, photos, or other elements blowing away, secure them with string, adhesives, or heavy objects.

Tips for Planning Your Perfect Beach Wedding

Exchanging vows on the sand is seriously dreamy, but planning a beach wedding isn’t without its challenges. As well as the unusual terrain, there’s the heat to consider, not to mention the possible rules and regulations.   

Dress for the Weather

Ditch the big dress, you’ll be too hot, and it’s hard to walk in on the sand. Light fabrics look beautiful blowing in an ocean breeze and are less likely to pick up debris from the beach. Consider trading your veil for fresh flowers and opt for an up-do if you want to avoid your hair looking windswept. Sand and high-heels really don’t mix, so pretty flats or wedges are your best bet. Keep things informal for the men too. A light cotton suit might be the most comfortable option.

Let the Location Shine

A stunning ocean backdrop doesn’t need much in the way of décor. Keep things simple, taking inspiration from the harmonious colour palette of the landscape. A well-placed pop of colour can contrast beautifully with the sand and surf.

Keep Things Local

Although flying in a few key suppliers from overseas can help you achieve the wedding of your dreams, some elements such as food and flowers will benefit from a local touch. Look for businesses who understand the area and will be respectful of the beach environment.

Deal with the Rules and Regulations

Research the required paperwork to hold your ceremony on the beach, especially if it’s public. Check for any relevant restrictions, and make sure you have a plan in place to meet them.  

Prepare Guests

Make sure your guests understand your ceremony will take place on the sand. Mention the beach location on your wedding invitations or wedding website and consider putting together welcome bags containing key items such as sun lotion and insect repellent.

Provide Shade

Not everyone loves the sun and some, like babies and small children, need to avoid it at all costs. If natural shade is scarce, consider creating a canopy to cover the seating area.

Prepare for Wind

On a beach, anything that can blow away probably will. Weigh your orders of service down with pebbles and shells, secure them to chairs with ribbon, or print them on to fans. Wooden benches or folding chairs should be heavy enough to withstand the sea breeze. If you’ve envisioned a pretty petal-lined aisle, be sure to toss them at the very last moment.

Dress Accordingly

Skip the big dress. 

Let’s face it: A ballgown belongs in, well, a ballroom. “You may be able to get down the aisle in a full dress and long train, but walking on the beach and taking photos won’t be easy. If a large dress is a must, make sure it can bustle easily.

Think light. 

Dresses with lace trim can be difficult because they pick up debris from the beach. “Instead, choose a lightweight fabric like chiffon or charmeuse, so your gown flows in the ocean breeze.”

Nix the veil. 

When marrying outside, think twice about a long veil. “If it’s windy, it will be a nightmare for you and the photographer.” Instead, accessorize your ‘do with fresh flowers or a fascinator.

Consider an updo. 

beach wedding venue

Think of the elements when deciding on a hairstyle. A tried and true updo will keep you looking polished all night and doing a trial run at your location. If wearing your hair down is the only option.

Ditch the heels. 

Sand and high heels just don’t mix. Wear flat-soled sandals, espadrilles or wedges — shoes that won’t sink into the sand. Have your gown hemmed with or without shoes, depending on which option you choose. “Remember, sand can get pretty hot. Have an aisle runner made of fabric or thick flower petals to help keep your tootsies cool?”

Let your guys go informal. 

While many brides envision their groom in a tux, black wool is a no-no in tropical climates. Lightweight cotton pants or even Bermuda shorts are great options for the beach.

At the Ceremony

Stay natural. 

A gorgeous ocean backdrop doesn’t need to be too dressed up. Instead, highlight the natural beauty of the setting. “A beach wedding can be about shells and starfish, but it can also take inspiration from the harmonious colour palette of sand, dune grasses, stones and water. Decor should be simple; avoid going over the top with fuzzy flowers.

Add color. 

To make your setup pop, Choose colours that contrast the sand and the surf rather than blend in, like corals, greens and other vibrant tones.

Get a permit. 

Research the required paperwork to hold your ceremony on the beach, especially if it’s public. “Also, inquire in advance about noise ordinances, and be sure to follow the.

Ensure privacy. 

Beaches are most crowded on holiday weekends, so avoid them unless you want the general public in attendance. And remember, not all beaches are private. We’re not allowed to set up canopies, chairs or aisle runners. If you want decor, we suggest renting an oceanfront estate where you can have a secluded ceremony and still take photos on the beach.”

Prepare your guests. 

Make sure your guests know your event will take place on the sand. Mention your plans on the invitation or wedding website, and prepare your guests for the sun by including necessary items in the welcome bags. 

Time it right. 

When dealing with beach wedding photos, lighting is especially important, ending the ceremony an hour before sunset. “That way, you’ll still get great action shots in natural lighting, as well as sunset portraits.

Set up a shoe station. 

Don’t let your guests spend the day with sand in their shoes. “Provide a shoe check, where guests can swap their shoes for flip-flops and wipe sand off their feet. It could include a bench, towels and a bucket of water.

Provide shade. 

Shade is your guests’ best friend. Consider creating a canopy to cover the seating area; for example, you could source some rustic bamboo poles and loosely drape thin white fabric on top.

Offer refreshments.

To keep your guests refreshed, set up a table with ice water, lemonade or a signature cocktail that guests can enjoy while waiting for the ceremony to start.

Have a seat. 

Wooden benches, folding chairs and waterproof ottomans are great choices because they’re heavy enough to withstand the ocean breeze.

Prepare for wind. 

A good rule of thumb on the beach: Anything that can blow away will. If you’re using ceremony programs, weight them down with shells, tie them to chairs with ribbon or print them on fans, which perform double duty. And if you envision a perfectly petal-lined aisle, Don’t toss them until the absolute last moment, right before guests arrive.

Keep bugs at bay. 

Insect repellent is a good idea no matter the season or beach location. Just make sure it’s a brand that won’t stain your gown.

Speak up. 

You’ve spent so much time writing your vows and personalizing the ceremony, so be sure your audio doesn’t get lost against the sound of crashing waves. Rent a wireless microphone and speaker for your officiant to use. Inquire if your officiant, resort or DJ can provide this equipment, and do a soundcheck prior to the ceremony to ensure there’s no unwanted feedback.

Keep it short. 

Given factors like heat and audibility, limiting the number of readings and performances during the ceremony — and make sure all participants know to speak clearly and loudly.

Have a backup plan. 

Unfortunately, the weather has a mind of its own, so be ready with a solid plan B. To keep the party on the beach, have a canopy or tent ready. Or find space indoors where everything can take place.

For the Reception

Anchor decor. 

Wind can topple tall floral arrangements, blow out candles and send other table elements flying. “Stay away from glass vases, which can easily break in the sand. If tall centrepieces are your dream having the florist secure them to the table with heavy objects. She can always cover these mechanics by lining the vases with ti leaves, palms or other natural elements. For lighting, use hurricane-style lanterns or LED candles, which are flameless and long-lasting. When wind-proofing place cards and favours, a little creativity can go a long way. Tie sea horses to each place card, and weigh your menus and napkins down with maracas or coconut shells.

Rent a powder room. 

If marrying on a public beach, find out if there are bathrooms. If not, hire an upscale portable lavatory for a few hours, especially if there will be lots of drinking during the reception.”

Keep warm. 

To help you and your guests fight a wind chill, arrange a basket of comfy, colour-coordinated pashminas to warm ladies’ shoulders.

Even if small, intimate weddings appear simple and easy to do, they still need enough preparation. Beach weddings have unique demands. The venue makes or breaks the entire occasion. Plus, you need to take consideration of your guests’ needs for transportation and accommodation.

You can keep your special event budget-friendly and enjoyable at the same time. With beach weddings, it’s the simple, tiny details that define the unique aspect of your non-traditional wedding.

Once you’ve had your amazing wedding and you are finally husband and wife, it’s time to make the dazzling getaway. There are lots of ways you can do this. The best way is to do something imaginative and creative, something that will be memorable. You could always use a boat as a getaway after the wedding. How romantic would that be?

At the end of the day, this is your wedding. This is your special day, and it should be exactly the way you want it to be. Get creative, don’t be afraid to let your imagination get the better of you, and make the wedding of your dreams happen.


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