What are the tips for planning a beach wedding?

Nothing says summer like a trip to the beach, so it makes sense that many couples want to have their summer weddings on the shore. Strolling through the sand to your future spouse certainly has a dreamy, romantic feel.

It’s easy to understand why so many people fantasise about beach weddings before they are even engaged. Nuptials by the ocean seems to especially appeal to those hosting an intimate celebration, but with careful planning, large events can be held on the sand as well. Whether you have two guests or 200, there are a lot of details that need to be accounted for when planning a beach wedding.

Australia has been gifted with some of the most amazing beaches in the world. And don’t we know it! From the east coast to the west, taking in the stunning landscape of an Australian beach is a right of passage. So it’s no wonder we love our beach weddings!

Beach weddings are the 8th most popular wedding theme across Australia. From classic to rustic, bohemian to luxury, beach weddings go with so many themes and styles. They also give you an amazing opportunity to focus on the landscape around you as your theme and work with the blank canvas of nature and your surroundings.

So what do you want when planning a beach wedding?

Tips For Planning A Beautiful Beach Wedding

Hire a coordinator

Contrary to popular belief, hiring a wedding coordinator can actually save couples a great deal of money and avoid potentially stressful situations that arise during the planning process. Because wedding planners bring so much business to vendors, they can often negotiate discounts on your behalf. They always know the best vendors in the area, so the risk of having a horrible vendor experience will be far less, and they are also great at helping you set a budget and stick to it. Your wedding day should be peaceful and stress-free, and having your wedding coordinator take care of all the details and logistics will free you up to soak in every moment!

Choosing the location

The first and most important step is to choose where you want to tie the knot! 

For such a momentous occasion you want a special place. You’ll probably take your honeymoon straight after the wedding, so pick out a place you’ve always dreamed of going to. 

You fell in love with the idea of a beach wedding, and now it’s time to choose the perfect spot! While beautiful locations are abundant, looking for the perfect one can be time-consuming and even overwhelming. 

Private or Public Beach

If you’re planning to have your beach wedding here in Australia, basically all beaches are public. If you’re planning on having a small wedding with fifty or fewer guests, you might be able to find a private property on a secluded beach with owners who are comfortable hosting events in their space and get pretty close to private.

If that is something you want, you will want to start your search as early as possible to have a chance of finding one of these hidden diamonds.

Sending invitations

Your invitations are the first glimpse your guests get into your wedding! It sets the tone of your event and will get your guests excited about what’s to come. So after you’ve picked your beach wedding location, take some time to do some research on creative and affordable ideas for your invitations. Remember, the more personal your invitations, the more visible it will be for your guests that you’ve put your whole heart and soul into creating your event!

Styling and decorations

Now you’ve got your canvas to work with, and you can style your wedding, or hire a wedding planner, to get the styling of your wedding just right! Consider what time of year you’ll be getting married in and what colours will be coming out of the beach. Greens, blues and whites are all great options here, while bright sunset colours could give your venue an extra pop.

And don’t forget this planning tip. If you’re hiring a venue, they usually have an internal coordinator or stylist who can help you out!

Beach Ceremony

Choosing the right time

With any outside wedding, being a backyard wedding or a beach wedding, the time of the year you decide to have it can be a blessing or a disaster. Finding out how the weather will be ahead of time will make sure you have an amazing time. Ask your wedding planner or ask about the local conditions in the month you’re planning your wedding.

The afternoon sun might not affect you but think about your guest. Depending on how long your ceremony is and how much shade you provide, your guest and you might be taking a nice sunbath. Suggesting sunblock lotion and having some summer umbrellas for shade can help everyone have a memorable and fun day. Your beach site most likely faces west, so your guests will be gazing into the sun as it sets. Make sure everyone knows to bring sunglasses, hats, visors, you don’t want them squinting at you the entire time!

On the flip side, it can get a bit chilly, Remind your guests to bring appropriate clothing. It’s not a bad plan to have sweaters, shawls, sweatshirts or even blankets on hand for those who might have forgotten.

It is recommended to have a morning or sunset ceremony, but if you can’t schedule your ceremony at any of these times, then consider setting the date between October and November, as the humidity and temperature are more tolerable, and the weather patterns are more consistent.

The way to your guests’ hearts is through their stomachs

Let’s be honest: after attending a wedding, aside from remembering how stunning the bride looked, you remember how good the food was! To set the mood with your food, try to incorporate traditional dishes and customs of the geographic region where you’re holding your ceremony. Your guests will love the experience! Also, don’t forget to consider the temperature when selecting your menu items (e.g. hot soup and 95-degree weather don’t mix). Check out our suggested reception venues and catering vendors for ideas!

Having a beach theme wedding, make your food match the theme. We recommend you reflect and Incorporate foods and customs of the area. Have fun with this and ask your caterer what they recommend and what they offer that can match the local cuisine. Also, plan ahead with your caterer about the time of day. Food can both be very delicate to the cold or heat.

Remember that your food your caterer will be serving is essential to your beach wedding decorations!

Keep everyone hydrated

While enjoying the scenic views and fresh ocean waves, offer your guests some refreshments to avoid dehydration. Prep fruit-infused water and iced tea right by the venue’s entrance or assemble a charming drinking station using a steel beverage tub filled with ice cubes and bottles of beer and cider. Serve the cold drinks and bottled water along with a stylish personalised stubby holder, so everyone keeps their cool all day long under the heat of the sun. Plus, they get to use it all weekend long, too!

Plan one or two pre-wedding location visits, if possible.

There is only so much you can get done online. Take at least one planning trip to your destination so you can scope out the ceremony and reception venues, accommodation, and chat to local suppliers for food and flowers. 

If you are living away from the beach, you are planning on using as the wedding venue, and it would be best to be able to visit the site at least twice before the wedding day. You can personally get a better idea of the size of the area and the feel of the entire location. Also, take note of how strong the breeze may be or notice where the sun might be shining from during the actual time of the ceremony. These little details are important in making sure you and your guests are comfortable during the day of.

Ceremony or Reception or BOTH

Before you start searching for anything you will want to decide on what you want, there is a BIG difference between having a beautiful ceremony. Then everyone heading out to a more traditional wedding venue—or having a full-blown beach ceremony and reception right on the beach.

The permits and ordinances will vary depending on what you’re planning on having. Are you having food and drinks? Do you want to rope off a section of the beach? All these questions must be addressed beforehand so that you can plan and ask.

Wedding Specials

Overnight accommodation

Unfortunately, we don’t all have the benefit of living by the beach. So if you’re travelling to your wedding, find somewhere you can stay overnight nearby, or ideally at your venue.

Not only will this help reduce your travel down at the end of the night, but it also gives you a beautiful way to wake up the next morning as a married couple, with the waves crashing down on the beach nearby.

Some venues will have enough accommodation for your parents or other guests as well, so chat with them about an accommodation package and deal.

Let’s face it unless you’re heading off on your honeymoon the morning after your wedding this is probably the best time to recuperate and take in what has just happened. You just got married!

Celebrate with your spouse having brunch with that stunning beach view, basking in the sun, or relaxing by the pool or ocean. And pat yourself on the back for hosting a fabulous beach wedding!

Prepare for loud waves and strong winds.

What’s nice with beach weddings is that everybody gets to enjoy the view, the waters, and the breeze. But because it is outdoors, there is no way to ensure that the waves and winds don’t interrupt your planned solemn wedding ceremony by the shore. Hire a sound system if the waves are too loud and may cause for the vows to be inaudible from afar. If you are still worried, opt for a spot a bit further away from the sandy shores and pick a space wrapped with trees and shrubs to buffer the sound and the winds.

Photos and Video

The beach can create some tricky lighting, so make sure to hire a photographer and videographer that are experienced and have done beach weddings before. Let loose and take advantage of all the natural beauty that’ll be around you.

Photos by the beach on your wedding day can be truly special, but don’t forget to pair them with something a bit more unique as well. Finding a landmark on the beach, using a featured aspect of your venue, or even finding a different pose are all ways your beach wedding can stand out against the rest.

The waves crashing in the distance, a sunset backdrop beside the water’s edge can make for a perfect wedding day memory!

Beach Wedding Permits and Ordinances

“Do I need a permit?” That will be the question that you most likely be asking yourself. Beach rules will vary from city to city, so make sure you check with the local government to know what permits you will need. Here are some great questions to ask yourself and then check the local rules…

  • Are you planning on having a small guest list or large? The bigger the guest list, the more likely you will need to follow some sort of rules and regulations and will probably need a permit.
  • Will you want some privacy? Making this a NO will make things much simpler, but ask about what type of options do you have. You can have tents, or maybe you will want to rope off a section of the beach.
  • Will there be alcohol… outside on the beach? Most beaches prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. You will want to find out what the rules are if alcohol will be served.
  • Are you planning on having any dangerous activities, like bonfires or fire dancers? There are beaches that prohibit these activities, but then there are others where you just need a permit.
  • Make a list of what you’re planning on having or at least what you would love to have and then visit the beach’s local government and ask away.

Sound System

Waves and wind can be loud, so plan for a way for all of your guests to be able to listen. Using a sound system and microphones will help you amplify does perfect vows you’ll be telling each other!

But, remember that beaches are not normally equipped with electrical outlets so plan on taking a generator. Plan all this ahead, because you will end up shouting to be heard!


It is a wonderful dream to be standing there with the one you love, sinking your toes in the warm white sand, but what about your wheelchair-bound Grandma? Will your guest be standing, or will you have chairs for them? How far will the walk be from the parking lot to the ceremony?

The beach can add to the layers of difficulties an outdoor wedding already brings, so make sure to consider your guest list and prepare for any additional accommodations that will be needed. You want to make sure everyone has a great time and will remember your day as magical as you will!

Have a Backup Plan

The last thing in your mind has to scrap your beautiful beach wedding, but mother nature can sometimes be a bit harsh. Having a contingency plan already in place can keep things running smooth and magical!

Of course, we always recommend you rent a tent whenever you’re doing an outdoor event, but because you will be at the beach making arrangements in advance with a nearby hotel or hall can be something you might want to consider.

Make sure everyone gets to have an unforgettable and enjoyable time

With all the problems to deal with and the details to worry about, don’t forget that it is still your wedding after all and your dream beach wedding is finally coming true. So, make sure you get to have an incredible time on your most special day and ensure that you and your beloved spouse get to enjoy the day’s festivities no matter what. Give your family and friends personalised wedding favours which will remind them of the fun and memorable celebration they have shared with the newlyweds by the beautiful beach.

With everything set and prepared, the only thing you’ll need is your big beautiful smile right by the breathtaking shores. Beach weddings might be challenging to plan but the reward, in the end, is simply priceless as you get to treasure the momentous day for an entire lifetime.


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