When you picture your wedding day, do you envisage rolling waves and sand between your toes? Do you see diamonds glinting in the setting sun and an ocean breeze gently blowing through your hair? If so, you’ll need to plan the perfect beach wedding…
First, get a permit. You’ll need to research and do all the required paperwork if you want to hold a ceremony or reception on the beach. Bear in mind that most beaches are public places, so you’ll need permission to set up seating and canopies, and someone to OK the food and drink you plan to serve. Some beaches restrict equipment and alcohol, and have specific rules about usage and noise. So, pick your location based on what you’re happy to comply with. If this feels like too much of headache, why not rent an oceanfront venue where you can overlook the beach? You’ll get the best of both worlds!
Also, prepare your guests. Bear in mind that beaches are best suited to small ceremonies (check out this small beach wedding in Krabim Thailand). The ocean waves (as lovely as they sound) will contend with your voice as you exchange vows, so you’re unlikely to be heard by a big crowd! Also consider that sandy or pebbled beaches are difficult for elderly relatives to access, so use walkways or set up a path to your ceremony. Give your guests lots of advance warning via their wedding invitations, and suggest that they bring sunscreen, bottled water and comfortable footwear. Or, you can lay these on as favours.
Provide shade and seating. If you’re marrying at the beach, your guests could be waiting around for a long time in the heat. To keep everyone cool and happy, erect a canopy with poles and draped fabric! Or, plan your ceremony half an hour before the sun begins to set so that your guests are comfortable… the bonus is that you’ll benefit from a romantic atmosphere and be ready to party as soon as the ceremony’s complete!
Plan your food and drink.Catering beside the sea can be a little bit tricky – you won’t have a fully equipped kitchen or anywhere to clean up afterwards. If you plan to hold your reception on the beach, make sure you provide plenty of comfortable seating and surfaces to eat from. You could organise pop-up catering, or ask a nearby restaurant if they’ll bring food to you and your guests, and remember to enlist some help for clearing up after the big day.
Consider your dress and makeup. The groom and co will fare best wearing lightweight cotton clothing, or even shorts, and it’s worth the bridal party deviating from tradition too. Brides should skip big ball gowns, and avoid lace trims as this fabric tends to trap sand and debris from the beach. Choose a lightweight fabric like chiffon or charmeuse if you want to wear a traditional dress, but ditch the heels… bare feet feel very relaxed and appropriate for a beach wedding! Finally, consider a short veil, an up-do or a very relaxed hair-down style: the wind will wreak havoc with anything fussier!