Beach weddings have always been one of our favorite things, which is perfect since so many of our weddings happen on the beach. Sandy toes, salty kisses, a warm breeze, the sound of the waves…what’s not to love?! There isn’t much, but there are a few tips we would like to pass along as seasoned professionals that will help make your beautiful beach wedding go off without a hitch!
1. Timing is Key. The optimal time for a beach ceremony is the late afternoon, preferably 90 minutes before sunset. Most photographers refer to this as “the magic hour” because they are able to capture the best quality of light.
2. Prepare Your Guests. Having a flawless beach wedding means informing your guests in advance that the wedding will be taking place on the beach so that they can plan their attire accordingly, most importantly, their shoes.
3. Keep Your Guests Comfortable (and hydrated). Help ensure your guests are comfy by providing a refreshment station with a variety of items like paper fans to help stay cool, frozen towels, bug spray and sunglasses. A basket of flip flops and a shoe valet (and a paintbrush to brush the sand off) for those guests that need to make a quick change is always appreciated. During the cooler months, we suggest having a basket of pashminas available for the ladies to help keep the warm from the chilly breeze. Order them in your wedding colors for a added pop!
Most importantly, don’t forget the drinks, especially during the warmer months! Flavored water or even champagne or a signature drink is a great way to welcome guests to the wedding and help keep them cool.
4. Don’t Forget the Chairs. If you are planning on having a standing ceremony, have a few chairs on hand for older guests. Unless the ceremony is super short, we always suggest providing chairs for all of the guests as it provides a cleaner look for photos and of course, will help make your guests more comfortable.
5. When the Wind Blows, Bobby Pins are Your Friend. One thing you can always count on at a beach wedding is a breeze…sometime gentle and sometimes more blustery. Because of this, the hair and the veil and the security of the two is really important. We always advise brides that are getting married on the beach to make sure they choose an appropriate hairstyle that won’t cause their hair to be blowing in their face. Remember that bobby pins are your friend and that it is always helpful to have some extras stowed away in a purse. Tacking down the veil with a few bobby pins will also help to not have it blowing in every direction. If the wind is really blowing, we suggest that the bride and groom switch sides to avoid any blustery mishaps! Wind should also be taken into account for dresses as well. If your bridesmaids will be sporting a shorter dress, you may want to make sure the material is a little thicker so that it won’t blow up in the breeze.
6. Unity Ceremony Alternatives. Instead of a candle lighting ceremony…trust us, they won’t stay lit, opt for another alternative…glass blending, a wine ceremony or of course, a sand ceremony, are perfect options and will help you create a lasting keepsake for your new home.
7. Get With the Programs. For couples who are wanting to provide a ceremony program or even a favor for each guest, it is recommended that you either use some sort of paperweight (i.e. rocks or shells or even sunglasses) or opt for a fan program, which kills two birds with one stone, just in case it is windy. Rather than placing the programs and/or favors on a chair, you could designate a person to act as a greeter and have them pass the items out as guests arrive or have the items placed in a basket on small table for guests to grab at their leisure.
8. Always Have a Back-Up Plan. When planning an outdoor wedding, especially a beach wedding, it is super important to have a plan b and possibly a plan c. Monitor the weather the week of the wedding and utilize your vendors for their knowledge of the local weather during the month of your wedding. Many tropical locations, Florida included, experience their rainier seasons in the summertime, so plan accordingly. See if your Reception venue can provide some sort of back-up location in case of poor weather. Purchasing some umbrellas and having them available is always a good back-up plan and if you don’t need them for rain, then guests can use them to provide shade from the warm sun.
If you take advantage of these helpful tips, you will be on the right track to making sure you have a flawless beach wedding.