The Essential Guide to Planning a Beach Wedding

We are so excited to share with you all of the tips and tricks we've learned about planning a beach wedding!

Planning a beach wedding is a beautiful, romantic and relaxing experience. Beach weddings are popular for their laid-back atmosphere and casual style. It's important to take the time to consider all of your options before you make any big decisions!

Do you know what the difference is between a beach wedding and any other type of wedding? The sand! Planning your special day on the serene shores of the ocean requires more than just a few details. You'll need to choose an officiant, find a venue, and select your favourite flowers for decoration. But don't worry; this blog post will guide you through everything from start to finish!

It's summertime, and you're ready to tie the knot on a beach. You could not have picked a perfect time of year for an outdoor wedding! So, if you are considering getting married at the beach, this blog post is for you.

We'll walk through all of the major factors to consider when planning your special day- from how far in advance to book your venue, what type of food to serve (or if it's necessary), and what clothes are appropriate.

Laid out below will be everything that needs to be done before sending out invitations so that your big day goes off without a hitch! Then, read on for some tips and tricks tailored specifically for people who want their ceremony at the ocean waves.

Planning a beach wedding can be intimidating, but it's easy with the right information and tips from The Essential Guide to Planning a Beach Wedding! In this blog post, we'll go over everything you need to know about planning your next summer wedding.

From finding the perfect location for your ceremony and reception to deciding what type of food you want at your reception, many considerations must be made before you say "I do" by the water. So let us help guide you down the aisle!

This blog post will be a guide to help you navigate the planning process of your beach wedding. Of course, many decisions need to be made, but we've narrowed it down and created a list of what you should consider before making any decisions.

You can start by reading this article for more information on creating the perfect beach wedding.

12 Things to Consider If You're Planning a Beach Wedding

There's no doubt about it: Beach weddings are stunning. Exchanging vows with wind-tousled hair and sandy toes while the rhythmic sounds of ocean waves and seagulls fill your ears seems like a dream come true.

But whether you're getting married on the Italian coast or the beaches of northern Florida, oceanside weddings require careful planning and thorough research.

1. The weather

Obvious, right? Of course, anyone planning a beach wedding has weather conditions in the back of their mind. When you choose a venue, make sure there's a backup plan in case of inclement weather, which is always a possibility.

2. 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. So 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.

3. Do you need special permits?

Not every public beach requires a permit for a wedding, but you should check with the city regardless. In addition, 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.

4. 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.

Those getting hitched on the East Coast also need to worry about rain and hurricane season, so do your research on weather trends before booking any beach venue, and have a Plan B in place in the event of especially bad weather.


5. The wind

As the poet Victor Hugo wrote, "Princes govern all things – save the wind." The wind can affect a few things during a wedding ceremony, so plan accordingly!

  • Use three or four times the amount of hairspray or gel you think is reasonable for your hair
  • Figure out how to manage sound during the ceremony (from sea breeze sounds to wave breaks)
  • Ensure that wedding decor and flowers are tied down. Finding fabrics and materials that allow wind to pass through (rather than create a sail) is ideal.

6. The sun

Like the wind, the sun is a force that humans can't reckon with. You can, however, do your best to work around it. For one: gift guests with sunscreen. Encourage hats during the ceremony, or supply sunglasses, parasols, and chilled bottled water, so your guests are comfortable before the ceremony begins.

7. 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.

8. The sand

The white sugar sands are a blessing, but they can be tricky to walk on. Come up with a plan for you and your guests. Are flip flops acceptable? Can guests set their shoes aside during the ceremony and pick them up for the reception? An aisle runner may be necessary for the aisle and for guests with mobility issues getting to their seats.

9. Is it accessible to guests?

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

10. Make sure your flowers can handle it.

Thanks to tropical climates' high heat and humidity, some flowers won't survive until the first dance. So 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.

11. 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.

12. Select complementary décor.

Envisioning lush flowers, elegant candles, and dangling ribbon at your reception? Unfortunately, the infamous beach winds may have other plans.

Choose decorative elements that will stand up against unexpected gusts and steer clear of 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.

Creating a Wedding Day Backup Plan for Your Big Day

No matter how much time you spend crafting Plan A, the chances are that some things won't go as planned on your big day.

To ensure everything runs smoothly, work with your wedding planner ahead of time to iron out a Plan B and even Plan C in case inclement weather rolls in and a beach wedding ceremony is no longer feasible.

Beyond simply crafting a wedding backup plan, those details must be communicated to your officiant, wedding planner and all other wedding vendors, in addition to friends and family who are involved in the planning process.

In addition to a rain backup plan, it's important to test out all A/V equipment before the wedding so you have time to fix any issues that may arise. Benson advises all couples to "test your mics, audio and generators the day before.

Some Bluetooth items don't have a great signal on the beach and won't sync." Small details like relying on Bluetooth seem foolproof, but on the off chance that something goes awry, it's best to know about it a day or two before, so you have time to pivot.


The Important of Guest Experience at an Oceanfront Special Day

From welcome amenities to wedding favours, loved ones always appreciate small tokens of your affection throughout the wedding day.

However, when it comes to asking friends and family to sit in the hot sun for your weddings, it's especially important to consider the guest experience and how you can make their day as enjoyable as possible.

Consider dropping welcome bags filled with sunscreen and a luxe Turkish towel off to guests staying in nearby beach houses and in your hotel room blocks.

"It's cute and fun to add in custom wedding pieces for your guests such as umbrellas, fans, sunglasses, flip flops and blankets to make the wedding day more comfortable," suggests Benson. Although guests came to the beach to see you wed, little details like this will also turn their trip into a restful getaway.

Beachfront Fashion and Beauty Advice

As mentioned earlier, the sun and wind on the beach are factors that will affect most components of your wedding day, fashion and beauty included. However, deciding on a wedding dress and attire for your wedding party that matches the laid-back vibe of the beach while also being practical can be a little tricky.

A flowy, off-the-shoulder wedding dress is likely to work better on the sand than a strapless beaded ball gown. Similarly, it's worth considering that loose waves or a low chignon may complement your beach look more than a modern high ponytail would.

When asked, Benson had quite a few need-to-know tips for beach-ready fashion and beauty. "Wear sunscreen and waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Also, keep your hairstylist and makeup artist on site until after the ceremony.

We guarantee you will need a touch-up for photos. Additionally, don't wear lipgloss. I know this one is weird, but trust me, the minute there is any wind, you'll have your veil and sand sticking to your lips—wear matte lipstick if you can. And lastly, ditch the stilettos and opt for sandals or go barefoot."

Yarra Valley Most Popular Wedding Venue (19)

Permit Consideration for Your Big Day

While standard venues may handle permit paperwork, if you're getting married somewhere public like a public beach, a National Park or even your local neighbourhood park, you'll need to put in some extra leg work to make sure your wedding location is legally squared away.

Even if you're celebrating on a private beach, there may still be city ordinances and permits you need to research and adhere to. As a first step, spend some time surfing the web to see if your local government website outlines requirements.

If things are a bit unclear, consult your wedding planner for advice and maybe even head down to city hall or make a visit to your convention and visitor's bureau to get more information.

Decor and Rental Tips for a Beach Wedding Ceremony and Reception

Planning out the decor for your beachfront destination wedding is a bit more involved than simply selecting a colour palette and floral arrangements.

Assuming you're exchanging vows on a public beach and now at a resort whose beach may have amenities like boardwalks and lighting, you're working with a completely blank slate. Notably, "generators and lighting are the two biggest things that venues have that a beach is simply not going to provide," highlights Benson.

Even with a small guest count, you must have a microphone for guests to hear the outdoor ceremony over the waves and generators that will meet the needs of all entertainment and catering vendors.

Once you've gotten the logistical side of your wedding rentals out of the way, you can have a bit of fun figuring out the visuals of the destination beach wedding. If you want to go the DIY route for decorations, consider foraging for seashells, driftwood and starfish to use as centrepieces.

"Get creative with florals and pieces to designate an aisle," says Benson. "Just make sure that your vases are heavy enough not to be blown down by the wind." Wind will be one of your wedding decor's biggest foes, so consider a calligraphed wood seating chart instead of paper escort cards that could fly away before guests can see their table assignment.

Lastly, Benson encourages couples to avoid "any confetti or balloon decor or grand exit. It's bad for the environment, and you will get fined most places."

Ideas for an Elevated Beach Wedding

There are unlimited options for incorporating coastal elements into your celebration. We suggest turning to oceanic and nautical motifs, like sand and boats, for inspiration. Shells make for thematic place cards, while driftwood could easily be transformed into a centrepiece, too.

Plus, a sea-inspired colour palette of blues, greens, and neutrals can enhance your big-day aesthetic. Take this The Artful Event Co. setup, for example; the tablescape mimicked this locale's hues and textures throughout thanks to sapphire dishware and a dune-inspired pampas grass centrepiece. But, overall, the station created a relaxed vibe that made guests feel like they were on vacation.

Whether you're planning a tropical destination soirée or a summer event on the shore, these details are definitely worth considering for your ceremony and reception.

Between the following refreshing food stations, dress code options, and design ideas, there are so many ways you can wow guests on your beachy big day. So go ahead and start daydreaming about your wedding on the water—these ideas will make it impossible not to.

1. Shell Escort Cards

Take advantage of all the sea has to offer by making thematic escort cards out of shells.

2. Driftwood Centerpiece

Use elements of oceanic nature—like driftwood, to create a centrepiece that adds to the nautical feel of your sea-inspired tablescape.

3. Polished Seating

Cushioned benches decorated with florals can help give your beach ceremony a classic, polished look—especially if you mirror this setup by Onyx & Redwood, which featured a white-and-green colour palette translated through roses and greenery by Precious & Blooming.


4. Sheer Tent

Hosting your beach reception in a sheer tent—this space was design by DFW Events with florals by Bienamé—puts your natural backdrop (the rolling ocean!) on full display.

5. Formal Attire

Despite the fact that beach weddings are innately casual, you can still make a black-tie dress code work for your big day. Request that guests' formal attire feature ocean-inspired colours (like dark blues and greys) so their looks complement your event's setting and aesthetic.

6. Coral Reef Cake

Make like Cathy Huber Cakes and connote an ocean-inspired wedding theme with a cake modelled after coral reef.

7. Seafood Tower

Turn your seafood appetizer into a décor piece by displaying shrimp on a tower that resembles driftwood. We love how Pretty Presentations' weathered wood setup featured blue accents, which nicely complemented the event's nautical theme.

8. Lobster Favors

Just because you're hosting an ocean-inspired wedding doesn't mean you have to stick to a cool colour palette of blues and greens. Take this place setting by A Family Affair of Maine, for example. Lobster shell crackers, which doubled as favours, topped each station for a beachy look that featured a fun pop of red.

9. Popsicle Treats

Offering summer frozen treats during your beach cocktail hour will keep guests cool and refreshed. Carolina Catering Co. served gourmet popsicles in tropical flavours like lime coconut, mixed berry basil, and orange mango.

10. Ring Bearer's Look

Dress your ring bearer in beach-appropriate clothing, focusing on comfy shoes and a hat. This little attendant wore venue-ready boat shoes, seersucker suspenders, a bow tie with anchors, and a fedora.

11. Casual Dress

Since beach events are inherently casual, your wedding dress can be, too. Take notes from this bride who wore a backless, airy Carol Hannah look that moved in the breeze.

12. Bike Rides

Looking for an intimate way to bond as newlyweds on your big day? Take a quiet cruise together for some alone time in the salty sea air.

13. Beachy Garland

Recreate Vanessa Jaimes Floral Design's crescent ceremony arrangement to ensure your beach altar doesn't distract from your water backdrop.

The dark greenery and driftwood complemented the sea so well, and it looked like it washed up on its own. Plus, its low-to-the-ground design didn't interrupt guests' views of the ocean.

14. Tropical Leaves

Play up your tropical venue with an altar made of the local greenery. This couple said "I do" in front of a pampas grass, palm, and split-leaf philodendron arrangement by Betty Flowers Santorini.

15. Cool Color Palette

A cool colour palette that reflects the ocean's many shades is always a good choice for a beach reception. LVL Weddings & Events executed the look perfectly with round tables that featured blue linens and lots of greenery.

16. Shell Ring Holder

For a thematic upgrade, forgo a traditional ring bearer pillow and opt for a nautilus shell instead.

17. Sailboat Photo Booth

We love how this photo booth backdrop by The Wedding Atelier by Lelian Chew played up this event's surroundings, putting guests right in the "water."

18. Bohemian Altar

Looking to give your beach ceremony a bohemian look? Style your altar after Anna Lucia Events' oriental rug and floral teepee setup.

The eclectic mix of vintage carpets and natural details, like this branch structure covered in greenery and blooms by 50FIFTY, created an artful juxtaposition that melded nautical and boho-chic motifs.

19. Oceanic Cake

Emulate LeNovelle Cake's towering confection for your impressive sea-inspired dessert. The multi-tier creation featured fondant ocean life and an ombré scalloped design that resembled waves.

20. Lounge Area

There's no place like the beach to kick back and relax, especially at a wedding. We suggest designing a lounge complete with hammocks, like this one planned by Sea of Dreams, to help guests feel like they can unwind at your event.

21. Bench Seating

Anna Lucia Events' seating setup proves that a mix of wooden benches and chairs can give your ceremony in the sand a laid-back feel.

Frequently Asked Questions

That's why they're also considered "high season" for tourism, which can make businesses and beaches a little more full. This is why March, April and early May are some of our favorite options for an unforgettable beach wedding. The weather from March to May still has the sweet, fresh climate of winter in the tropics.

According to folklore as well as ancient Roman tradition, the title of unluckiest month to get married goes to May. While July weddings promise some troubles in the future, May weddings are sure to end in regret! “Marry in the month of May, you will surely rue the day.”

How much does a beach wedding cost in total? A do-it-yourself beach wedding on a public beach could cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000, depending on the number of guests and what your ceremony entails. A local beach wedding package can range anywhere from $200 to $5,000.

The absolute most important thing about your big day is, of course, that you married to the love of your life, your best friend, your number one favorite person in the world. All the amazing, beautiful details that create the perfect photos, the perfect moments are incredibly important.

34% of couples choose the wedding reception as the most important part of their wedding day. This is the largest spend in a couple's budget and most likely the first supplier they will book. Couples are continuing to opt for quality over quantity when it comes to their guests and their venue spend.

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