How To Plan Beach Wedding Ceremonies

Photo of married couple

Beach weddings can be wonderfully romantic and special events. Whether you choose to marry at your local beach, an interstate beach or even on a tropical island there are several things you need to consider when planning your ceremony. This article will discuss several of them to help your planning and organization run as smoothly as possible so you can enjoy one of the most important and special days of your life.

  1. Choose your beach: You may have a beach in mind already or may have not even decided. It may sound obvious but do take the season and time of year into account. If you are set on marrying in autumn or winter, it may be best to look further afield for your perfect beach. Locations such as Mexico, Fiji, Hawaii and even Thailand are very popular places to host a beach ceremony. It is often inexpensive, as you are already at your honeymoon destination. However, many friends and relatives who would like to be at your wedding may not be able to afford the journey.
  2. Find out if you need a permit: If you choose to marry overseas, it is a good idea to use the services of a local wedding planner or coordinator who will organize any permits and paper work on your behalf. If you choose a local beach, you must check with the local council if there are any restrictions or permits required to conduct your ceremony. This way the council can regulate the use of the beach and the events taking place there. It would be terrible if you arrived for your ceremony and there was already another wedding taking place where yours was meant to be.
  3. Check the access: Will there be elderly people coming to your wedding or guests who are mobility-impaired? If so, sand can be a large obstacle for them and shouldn't come between them and your wedding. Consider having the ceremony on a beachfront park or next to a jetty or pier. This way guests who can't make it on to the sand are able to comfortably watch the ceremony without feeling like you had to change all your wedding plans because of them. It's also a good idea to check guest access; is there an obvious access point that doesn't lead guests on a maze through the dunes? Also be mindful of car-parking facilities for your guest. Yes, it is your day, but you still need to make sure your guests are appropriately catered for.
  4. Plan the right time: If you choose to marry at a local beach the chances are you will choose a time of year when you can expect nice weather. The problem with this is that nice weather also attracts hundreds of other members of the public to the beach. These people may set up camp where you intend to have your ceremony, invite themselves to your ceremony and could possibly behave inappropriately. To avoid this, my suggest would be to host a morning wedding, say 8 or 9am and then plan your reception as a wedding breakfast or brunch. As beach weddings are generally less formal, this type of reception is rather suitable. It's also something different to set your wedding apart from others and make it one to remember. If marrying internationally, your wedding planner can suggest appropriate times for you.
  5. Organizing the reception: Generally speaking it is common wedding etiquette to have the ceremony venue and reception venue less than a 15 minute drive apart. This makes it convenient for your guests, especially those who may not be familiar with the area. For your beach wedding reception it makes sense to choose a cafe, restaurant or function center that is close to the beach or, even better, has beach views. This will help to carry on the theme. Popular beach-themed table decorations include shells, sand and even goldfish swimming in bowls.
  6. Choosing the wedding attire: As the beach calls for a more casual look, avoid heavy fabrics such as taffeta and duchess silk when selecting your gown. Chiffon is a popular choice in a simple style such as a halter neck or strapless dress. Having your dress hemmed to cocktail length (between the knee and ankle) will also stop the bottom becoming dirty and full of sand. For guys, a nice linen shirt and pair of good trousers in either black or neutral will compliment the relaxed style.
  7. Finding the flowers: The most popular beach flowers are Frangipanis and Oriental Lilies, as they compliment the location well and can blend in with white or stand out in shades such as pink, yellow or even orange. It is best to discuss this early on with your florist as it is possible that the flowers you want may not be available at the time of year you require them. Another option is silk flowers; they won't wilt and can be kept for life without the heavy costs of bouquet preservation.
  8. Theme your stationary: It's always a nice idea to theme your stationary and there are so many options available in stationary these days. Visit a scrapbooking or craft store to get some ideas, and pick up supplies to do it yourself or browse the Internet and local stores to fins something that is right for you. It might be as simple as having a shell on the front of your invitation or even sand. The opportunities are endless. Your stationary ties everything together so remember to match it to the ceremony and reception. You don't need a formal Gothic style font for a casual beach wedding.

I hope these helpful tips have given you something to think about and will enable you to plan your beach wedding smoothly and then enjoy and make the most of your day. It really is a special day. Being well prepared and organized will guarantee it will be a day to remember for all the right reasons. Happy planning!


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