Organising the best beach wedding.

Getting married on a beach is what dreams are made of. You know you want a seaside venue, complete with the sound of waves and a gorgeous view. While you can set up chairs and call it a day, there are loads of options for beach wedding ceremony ideas that can turn your beachy wedding into the perfect occasion for memories that will last a lifetime. 

Looking for the perfect way to host your very own beach wedding? Have you always dreamt of the big day with waves lightly crashing in the distance, warm sand beneath your feet and the love of your life staring deeply into your eyes as your friends and family look lovingly on? Is it summer yet? That sounds absolutely lovely. And while we’re totally on board, we’re here to give you the inside scoop on the nitty-gritty details that go along with planning a wedding on the beach. Details to making your wedding day go a whole lot smoother than if you hadn’t considered what hosting a beach wedding involves.

Speaking with the experts on the topic, we’ve gathered some useful beach wedding ideas that will help make your dream daydreamy. Consider this your go-to guide on planning the loveliest beach wedding anyone has ever seen!

It’s no wonder that so many couples want to get married on the beach—between the sun, the sand, and the ocean breeze, a seaside ceremony can seem like a truly magical event. But planning a wedding in your hometown can be challenging, so how can you make sure you do it right if you’re getting married miles away? From décor ideas to packing tips to shoe and clothing suggestions, we’ve put together beach wedding ideas to help you get over some of the hurdles you’ll undoubtedly be faced with. Take a deep breath, take each element in stride, and revel in the idea that your wedding day can—and will—be everything you want it to be.

What Type of Dress Should I Wear?

When it comes time to choose your dress, keep in mind that you want a design that looks like it fits in with the beach theme. Forget that satin mermaid gown or that beaded ball gown you’ve been dreaming about since you were a little girl. A beach wedding calls for a lightweight, airy look, and it’s a great opportunity to opt for a casual dress instead of the traditional bridal gown. When selecting your bridal gown fabric, choose something soft and breezy such as chiffon. As much as you may love lace, you don’t want your dress to be clumped with wet sand at the bottom, and lace can attract grains of dirt and sand with ease. While a long gown blowing in the breeze can look stunning in person and pictures, you may want to consider trying on some short styles and tea length silhouettes as well.

What Type of Shoes Should I Buy?

One of the best things about most beach parties is that shoes are optional. If you’re comfortable going barefoot, do so. If you’re set on wearing shoes, flat sandals are likely to be your best bet. One of the best beach wedding tips we can give you is that it’s crucial to have the right shoes on your feet. Have you ever seen anyone try to walk in heels in the sand? It’s not pretty.

What Should the Guys Wear?

Please don’t dress the men in black tuxedos if you’re getting married in a hot, humid, or tropical climate. Instead of the traditional tux, opt for a more relaxed look such as lightweight pants and a button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up or a shirt/vest/tie combo without the jacket. If you do want your men in jackets, choose suits or sport coats in lightweight colours and breathable fabrics. No one wants to sweat through the ceremony.

What Colors Should I Dress My Girls In?

There’s no real rule to be broken here—you can dress your bridesmaids in any colour you choose—but soft, pastel colour palettes tend to look beautiful against the backdrop of the sun and waves. Consider the types of colours you would find in sea glass, such as soft blues and light greens, or add a punch of tropical colour by choosing shades of coral, turquoise, pinks, and peaches. Whether you go bold or soft, it’s more important to make sure you choose dresses in lightweight, airy fabrics that your girls will be comfortable in.

What Should I Do With My Hair?

Forget the fancy up-do and go for something soft and pretty. A messy knot with a pretty hair clip, a tousled ponytail with a pretty braid, and long, loose flowing locks are all great options for a beach celebration.

How Do I Hire My Vendors When They Are A Thousand Miles Away?

If you want to know how to plan a beach wedding without going crazy, the answer is not to go at it alone. Many resorts offer packages that include the services of a wedding planner or coordinator. Use your resources. Trust in the professionals to do their job, but be diligent and make sure that things are running according to plan in the weeks leading up to the big day. If the planner or coordinator isn’t able to provide you with the destination wedding ideas and solutions that you expect, consider bringing some of your professionals along on the trip. Just be ready to pay for their travel expenses in addition to their regular rates and fees.

How Should I Decorate?

Pinterest is loaded with beach wedding ideas about décor, and it’s easy to spot the trends and get inspired. Many couples like to play up the beach theme by incorporating shells, starfish, and nautical accents into their décor, but if you don’t want something quite that literal, consider making use of lush greenery, vines, and natural materials such as raffia. Don’t go overboard with flowers—there’s nothing more natural or more beautiful than having the sand beneath your feet and the waves lapping at the shore behind you. All the flowers in the world won’t be able to top that.

What Special Things Should I Do For My Guests?

First and foremost, give plenty of advance notice to friends and relatives that your ceremony is going to be some distance away. They’ll likely need to book flights and request time off from work, so the sooner you can let them know, the better. In the weeks leading up to the big day, provide them with itineraries so that they know where to be and when. When they arrive at the destination, welcome them with goodie bags of beach-inspired treats such as flip flops, snacks, and sunscreen. Provide them with a map of the resort or the town and make sure that they are comfortable in their hotel room and equipped with the necessary amenities.

Wedding Styling Brighton Beach

 

If you can find room in your budget, consider paying for hotel expenses and/or airfare for those guests that mean the most to you. It’s not always easy to jet hundreds or even thousands of miles away to attend someone else’s wedding, so be mindful of the fact that most of your guests are probably going to have to make some accommodations of their own to attend your special day.

What Other Tips Do I Need To Know?

Beach wedding ideas, just like traditional event ideas, depend on upon the type of affair you’re having and where you have it, but it’s always a good idea to arrive at your destination at least one day before your guests. It’s a great idea to plan a preliminary trip to check everything out for yourself before everyone else arrives, assuming that you have room for it in your budget.

What Do I Need To Pack?

Pack swimsuits, beach cover-ups, breezy dresses, sandals, and anything you would normally pack for a beach getaway. With that said, you must remember those unusual things that you wouldn’t normally need for a vacation. Your wedding dress, your rings, and your legal documents are all things you can’t afford to leave home without! These beach wedding ideas will help your destination wedding planning go a bit more smoothly and assist you in making some of those oh-so-important decisions. As with any event, make sure you’re following your timeline and checklist, and take extra care to follow up with your resort, wedding planner, or coordinator if you can’t be at the destination to monitor every small detail yourself. And think, when all the planning is done, and all of the guests have arrived, you can finally relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy your moment in the sun!

Decor Inspiration From the Beach

Your beach wedding decor can (and should!) incorporate natural elements that surround your fête. Use found items, such as seashells or driftwood, in your tablescape(s). Look to the seaside for colour inspo, such as blues, greens, and sandy neutrals. You may be tempted to use boats and anchors, but if you’re not really into nautical motifs, maybe think twice before going in that direction.

String Lights

Candles are a great addition to any party, but if you’re dealing with refreshing sea breezes, they may not be practical. String lights are a flame-free addition for an evening reception that can boost the scene and keep some low-light ambience that could work better than a flickering set of candles.

Guest Feet Station

Not everyone is into getting sand inside their good shoes. It doesn’t feel great, and it can be hard to clean up after the wedding is over (sand works itself into the very tiniest places!). Instead, provide beach-side baskets for shoes and brushes for sandy toes, and also consider offering flip flops to your visitors. Be sure to let your guests know that shoes will be optional before they head out!

 

Beachy Altar

Here, you can again use the beach as inspiration for the area where you’ll say your “I dos.” A simple rustic arch, driftwood, and tropical leaves will enhance the spot without overpowering it (or blocking that fantastic ocean view). Play with your shapes and forms. From pergola-inspired to your take on an archway, your alter can be customized to suit you.

Destination Wedding Favors

If you’re handing out beachy favours at your wedding, you have a few options that would not only be memorable, but functional and welcome for your attendees. Beach towels, sunglasses, sunscreen, fans, even luggage tags — any of these would be appreciated. Give something that leaves your guests longing for their next vacation!

Bridal Beach Style

Dressing for your beach wedding requires some careful attire considerations.

First of all, ditch the heels! Traditional heels will sink in the sand; opt for sandals, wedges, or bare feet instead.

Beach weddings tend to be much more casual, so be sure to keep that in mind when you’re shopping for your wedding dress. Choose a fabric that breathes easily to help you stay cool and mitigate sweating.

Consider how your hair will react to humidity and wind. Work with your hairdresser to guarantee your chosen style has enough hairspray and is properly pinned down. The same goes for makeup — make sure it’s set well!

Don’t forget the SPF. Being out in the sun even for a short ceremony can take its toll on your skin. Apply sunscreen to avoid being rosy red in your reception photos afterwards.

Wedding Specials

Beach Wedding Guest Attire

Communicate with your guests about the attire and weather to ensure everyone is comfortable.

Include the suggested attire (typically, casual or semi-formal) on the wedding invitations, so guests know what to expect well in advance.

Make sure that guests are aware that you’re having a toes-in-the-sand ceremony and include an updated weather forecast on your wedding website.

Embrace the Setting

Get creative with your beach wedding with some practical and fun ideas that play on the environment.

When guests arrive at the sand, create a shoe cubby station for guests to remove their heels or shoes. Have guests go barefoot or treat them with a basket of flip flops (these can also be customized with your wedding date and initials!) to trade out with their existing footwear. After the ceremony, supply a bucket of large paint brushes or wipes for guests to brush the sand off their feet before heading to the reception.

Have custom sunglasses available to avoid squinting during the entire ceremony. Depending on the time of year, provide parasols for sun cover during the summer or throw blankets if it’s a windy beach during a cooler season.

Take cues from the natural surroundings for your décor. A beach-inspired theme can incorporate a variety of details including starfish, seashells, sand dollars, hues of blue, netting, and worn wood.

Add a meaningful sand ceremony to your celebration. During the ceremony, the happy couple pours two different colours of sand into one vase signifying the union of the two families.

Be Prepared for the Outdoors

Handle the elements with grace with a little extra planning.

Beach environments tend to get windy at times, so have your DJ or your audio-visual contact provide a microphone and speakers for guests to hear the officiant and your vows. Consider opting for lavalier microphones which attach to your lapel; this way the standing microphone will not be in your photos.

When hiring a photographer, double-check that they have shot a beach ceremony in a variety of different lightings. Sometimes amateur photographers don’t have experience in shooting in harsh light, which could leave your important wedding photos blown out by the sun’s backlight.

Be kind to your environment.

Having a beach wedding means your venue is beautiful outdoors. Keep this in mind when planning every aspect of the ceremony (and reception if you choose to keep things going on the sand). Have someone come by after space has been cleared to make sure there are no traces that your party was ever there.

Confetti makes for some lovely and exciting pictures, but also a great deal of litter.

If you have anything being thrown during the ceremony make sure it is biodegradable, such as petals or bubbles, as opposed to something which you will need to be raked up later, such as paper confetti.

Work in the confines of the beach.

Photo of a bride and groom posing in front of Brighton Beach with the bride's dress flowing in the wind

Speaking of the environment, you’ll have to take the good with the not so good. The beach is not a closed room where everything can be controlled, so plan accordingly. The wind is going to be a huge factor.

The last thing you’re going to want to happen is the wind taking front and centre of your big day. Prepare accordingly.

Be sure to use concrete blocks when putting up an arch or chuppah since heavy winds, which are common on a beach, can pull the poles of an arch out of the sand.

Make your guests feel comfortable.

Hosting a beach wedding sounds absolutely magical, but as we’ve already gone over, there are somewhat challenging aspects to the magic. While you’re making plans to avoid fly away flowers and amplifying the sound — make sure your guests are well taken care of.

There you have it — the everything you’ll ever need to know about planning a wedding on the beach. Your ultimate guide, if you will. Now, it’s time to start making moves and start planning the big day!

 

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