If wedding venue hunting isn’t up your street, a beach wedding could be the perfect alternative. Feel the sand on your feet and the wind in your hair as you wal…..ok, ok, let’s not get carried away!
A beach wedding is a beautiful thing….we can’t deny that. But it does come with some logistical issues…..sorry to be so un-romantic. If this is your dream however, don’t let anything stop you from going for it. We’re going to walk you through everything(well…not everything…..but almost) you need to consider when planning your beach wedding. Here’s a pre-warning…..it’s not going to be pretty….but it is practical. Let’s start with……
Make sure the beach will actually be there at the time of your wedding otherwise you may end up with a “sea wedding”. Check tide clocks for the date and time of your wedding to make sure the tide is out for the entire duration of the time you plan to spend on the beach.
As you can imagine, various elements of the bride’s outfit become a lot trickier when you’re getting married on a beach. Consider the following:
While a long dress can bring a floating elegance to your wedding outfit on a non-sand surface…..all this changes when you are on a beach. A long dress will be more difficult to walk in, will get dirty quickly and will probably look out of place. If you have already decided to wear a long dress, make sure it can bustle(and you know how to do it) to make things easier on the day.
Depending on the weather on your wedding day, a traditional heavy dress may not be the best option. Instead think about lighter fabrics. Remember that beaches can be windy so make sure the dress is long enough that it’s not going to blow up revealing your underwear!
Consider skipping the veil
Speaking of wind! The veil will be an even greater victim. With such light lace, the veil is going to be blown all over the place. This will cause a distraction during the ceremony and will be a real annoyance for you. Look at other options for hair decoration such as hair clips or flowers.
Go for flats
Heels and beaches are a no-go. There is nothing graceful about walking on sand with high-heels. Instead, go for flats or sandals(they will go better with a lightweight dress anyway). If you have your heart set on high heels, you would need to come up with some sort of aisle walkway to make things easier.
If you are getting married in a hot country, a 3-piece suit may be an unwelcome burden on the wedding day while you are marinating in your own sweat(sorry to be so graphic!). If you are happy to go a little less formal, consider wearing linen trousers and a less formal shirt. If you are getting married in a cooler country, the traditional suit should be fine. If the weather heats up, you can wear a waistcoat instead of the suit jacket to keep things looking a little more formal.
Remember that wind we spoke about?! It can cause big problems with your hairstyles. You may be happy for your hair to be blown around if you are going for the natural, wind-swept look. If you want things to be a bit more tailored however, you will need to think about hairstyles that can easily be controlled. This is easier for grooms(with short hair) as a strong wax or gel will do the trick. Brides on the other hand have a bigger challenge. Look at up-dos or pleats and discuss this with your wedding hairstylist to find a style that they think would work. Invest in hair spray!
If the weather looks to be hot on your wedding day, you may not want to be coated in a thick layer of makeup. Chat this over with your wedding makeup artist to find out a look that they think would be suitable. If you are going for a more natural look with your dress and shoes, lighter makeup may be a suitable compliment.
Depending on where you are in the world, the weather could differ greatly. Beach weddings are more weather reliant than an indoor wedding(as you would imagine) so it’s even more important to keep an eye on the weather forecast in the weeks and months leading up to the wedding. Make sure to dress suitably and consider your hair and makeup as already mentioned. It’s also important to think about your backup options if the weather takes a turn for the worse. E.g. if there is a light shower, you may still be able to go ahead with a beach ceremony but would need to think about keeping the guest seating dry and potentially a canopy for the bride and groom. If the weather was worse than that e.g. torrential rain and gale-force winds, you will need to abort and take the wedding inside. Make sure you have arranged a backup location indoors. If, on the other hand, the sun is beaming down, remember to wear sun-tan lotion. This would be easy to forget as we don’t imagine needing sun-tan lotion on your wedding day. But just imagine how you would feel if you ended up with wedding day sun burn!
Don’t forget about the wind! It’s not only your dress and hair that is affected by the wind. Any decorations(particularly paper) are at threat of being blown away if there is a mild wind. Avoid using:
- Paper signage
- Paper place names
- Fabric decorations
- Loose flowers
- Anything else lightweight
Tie anything down which you are able to.
The backup venue
You obviously don’t want to spend money booking a venue that will never be used. For your backup option, try the following options:
- Are you having an indoor meal/reception? Would this venue allow you to use their premises for the ceremony if the weather was to change suddenly?
- Is there a local church hall that you could make an agreement with? A small token payment could be made for your gratitude if the venue is used.
Just make sure that you can legally get married in the location. The laws are different depending on which country you are in.
One major benefit of getting married on the beach is the costs saved on decorations. You can’t get much prettier than the beauty of a beach. There is no need to go overboard with flowers and decorations. Keep it simple and natural and let the surroundings speak for themselves.
The legal bits
Laws are different worldwide so make sure to check your local laws for where you can/can’t get married. There may be additional documentation needed for a beach wedding so make sure you check this thoroughly.
Choosing your beach
You may have seen a beach online that looks beautiful but it’s important that you visit it before committing. Visit the beach on the same day of the week that you plan to get married and at the same time. This is to check how busy it would be at this time. Obviously there are other factors which contribute to the busyness of a beach(such as weather) but at least this gives you an idea. You probably don’t want hundreds of spectators at your wedding ceremony so it’s important to check how busy it is. A beach with hidden quiet spots is a good option to give you a little more privacy. Take a walk along the beach and find the perfect spot that balances good views and privacy. Not all beaches are a good choice for weddings.
Make sure to provide all the important information on the wedding invitations so your guests are adequately prepared. You may want your ushers to hand out some necessities as your guests arrive(e.g. bottles of water, sunglasses). Here are the things you may wish to suggest that your guests prepare for:
- Sun(sun-tan lotion, water, fan, sunglasses)
Rain(umbrella, suitable attire)
Wind(suitable clothing, nothing that will blow away)
If you have any guests who struggle to walk, the beach may cause some problems. Make sure you plan a solution for this in advance and have somewhere comfortable they can sit(ideally with some shade).
Choose canapés and drinks to suit
Choose refreshing options such as plain iced water with fresh lime and mint or a zesty-lemonade. Go for light canapés such as filo pastry(nothing that will melt into mush).
Beaches can be noisy with the sound of wind and waves. You may need to set up a sound system with clip-on mics for the officiant, bride and groom, as well as handheld mics for the readers. Check with a local sound-hire company what their solution for this is. They will also need to provide some sort of power supply.
If you are just having the ceremony on the beach, you may not need to think about this but it’s worth finding out where the nearest toilets are anyway. If you are also having the reception on the beach you will need to make sure there is a toilet available nearby. A local restaurant probably won’t be happy with all your guests using their toilets, so check if there are any public toilets. If there aren’t, you may need to hire a portable toilet.
Reception on the beach?
If you plan to have your reception on the beach too, you will need to make some additional arrangements such as hiring tables. Check that your caterer is happy to provide their service for an outdoor wedding and check what equipment they are able to bring. They may need you to hire a marquee for their preparation space. Once again, it’s important to think about the weather for the table setup. Keep it simple and avoid anything that can be blown over. Avoid Excessive fabrics, tall vases and unnecessary paper. If you have place cards and menus on the table, use something heavy to weigh them down(you could use your favours as weights). Alternatively use a large chalkboard as your menu that everybody can see and write place names on slate with chalk. To keep bugs away you could use citron candles. Put them in glasses with wide bases and sides that rise above the flame, this is to prevent them for being blown over or out!
If you are thinking about having a beach wedding and you weren’t put off by this hack(we’re sorry if you were), share this with your fiancé and wedding party to help you start making the necessary arrangements for creating the perfect beach wedding.
Image by Lukas Piatek Photography