Having your wedding on the beach? There’s nothing more romantic than the sounds of the surf, the sand between your toes and the sultry, salt-tinged air—it’s all more amazing than you can imagine. But to make sure everything goes off without a hitch, follow our top seaside wedding tips.
1. Hire a Planner
While it may seem like getting married on the beach will be a literal breeze, we recommend hiring a planner to handle the unforeseen logistics of a beach wedding. Whether you need a permit for a specific area, or you need someone to handle hordes of sunbathers plopped down where your altar will be, it’s good to have a pro on hand to help with these sticky situations.
2. Time It Right
Afternoon heat can be brutal in many seaside locales. But even if you’re okay standing there glistening, think of your guests. High temperatures are not for everyone, especially older folks and young kids. To avoid the heat (and the crowds), consider a morning or sunset ceremony. Can’t schedule your ceremony at one of these times? Go ahead and have it in the afternoon, but find a shady spot on the beach that’s likely to catch a cool breeze. Check what the weather will be like, and inform guests on your wedding website so they can dress accordingly. Also check the tide schedule online: Tides coming in are noisier than going out—not to mention the risk of water creeping up on you as you wed.
3. Have Fun With Your Photos
First off, you’ll want to find a photographer who’s shot beach weddings—shutterbugs not experienced with beach photography may be unfamiliar with the proper lighting techniques. Also, take advantage of the beauty of your natural surroundings: waves crashing in the distance, a sunset backdrop beside the water’s edge. For great candids, loosen up. Kick the sand, turn a cartwheel, or simply stroll hand in hand. In addition, prepare a list of must-have shots.
4. Dress the Part
Typically, beach brides leave the ball gown at home. Seaside weddings call for lightweight attire—anything else and you’ll be weighed down and hot. Grooms often sport linen suits, but if it’s really hot, guys can forgo the jacket and wear a loose shirt and pants. For the ladies, light, airy fabrics are key; for comfort, try cotton, crepe or linen. We think nothing says beach wedding like a simple sarong or white sundress blowing in the breeze.
5. Set the Mood With Food
A beach wedding in Hawaii will be quite different from a seaside ceremony in the South of France, and your menu should reflect that. Incorporate foods and customs of the area. Hawaiian weddings, for example, usually involve local delicacies such as poi and roast pig. Similarly, Caribbean choices include jerk chicken and fresh seafood. When selecting your menu, also consider the temperature—many foods will spoil in the heat (for your wedding cake, for instance, fondant is a better choice than buttercream, which will melt in the hot temps).
6. Find Flowers With Staying Power
Beautiful blooms add bursts of color to any space, including the beach. Consult with a local florist to choose the right flowers for your fete—direct sunlight and heat are no-gos for many blossoms. You’ll want flowers that last. Those that wilt easily, like freesia, poppies and bouvardia, aren’t good choices. But gorgeous orchids, chrysanthemums and plumeria are surprisingly hardy and hold up well in almost any kind of weather. For beach-themed centerpieces, fill large conch shells or colorful beach pails with your chosen flowers.
7. Have a Backup Plan
We know the last thing you want to do is scrap your wedding fun in the sun at the last minute, but sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Renting a tent is always recommended. For backup in the event of a complete washout, make arrangements in advance with a nearby hotel or hall as an alternate locale.