Your Beach Wedding – What Could Go Right or Wrong?

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Written by Wendy Wharton

From experience, we know that hosting a beach wedding can be a beautiful and memorable experience, but there are several important factors to consider to ensure everything goes smoothly:

  1. Permits and Regulations: Be sure to check with local authorities about any permits or regulations required for hosting a wedding on the beach you have chosen for the wedding. This includes regulations on the use of tents, alcohol, bonfires, and music.
  2. Weather: Beach weddings are susceptible to unpredictable weather conditions like wind, rain, and extreme heat. Depending on where you are getting married, and the season you may have a greater risk of inclement weather. Remember to always have a backup plan just in case.
  3. Tides and Tide Times: While there is nothing more beautiful or romantic, you must be mindful of the tides and their timings, especially if you plan to set up chairs, arches, or other structures close to the water.
  4. Attire: Just the like the weather, we can’t control the heat or possibly even a slight chill, depending on the beach’s location and the season. It is wise to inform your guests about the appropriate attire for a beach wedding. Light, breathable fabrics and sandals are often preferred over formal attire, considering the sandy terrain and warm or cool weather.
  5. Footwear: Remind guests to choose appropriate footwear to attend the ceremony. Consider that the sand will be hot if you are in the tropics and it has been a beautiful sunny day. High heels, may sink into the sand and no one likes sand in their socks and shoes. Providing flip-flops or suggesting barefoot is a thoughtful gesture.
  6. Seating and Comfort: Ensure there is sufficient seating for guests, especially if the ceremony will be long. Consider providing cushions or blankets for comfort on the sand. Try to set up your ceremony in the shade if you are in a hot destination or your wedding is in the summer.
  7. Sun Protection: Provide sunscreen, shade options like umbrellas or tents, and encourage guests to bring hats and sunglasses to protect against the sun.
  8. Hydration and Refreshments: Keep guests hydrated by providing water stations or handing out bottles of water. Consider serving light and refreshing beverages like lemonade, fruit punch or iced tea.
  9. Bugs and Pests: Depending on the location, bugs and pests can be a nuisance. Consider using citronella candles or natural bug repellents to keep them at bay. A nice set up near the ceremony that contains bug repellent can be a thoughtful and helpful touch to your guests.
  10. Logistics: Consider logistics such as accessibility for elderly or disabled guests, restroom facilities, and parking arrangements. Beaches can be difficult for some to maneuver around on and having help at the ready, or a place they can sit off the sand, but still be a part of the celebrations will make them much more comfortable and allow for every guest to take part in every detail.
  11. Cleanup Plan: Have a cleanup plan in place to ensure you leave the beach as pristine as you found it. If you are not using a planner or day of coordinator, consider asking a family member or friend to take responsibility and arrange for proper disposal of trash and decorations.
  12. Sound and Music: Keep in mind that sound may carry differently on the beach. Test your audio equipment beforehand and be mindful of any noise ordinances in the area. Not only do you not want to spoil the beach experience for others enjoying it around you, but you do not want to have the sound too low which will prevent your guests from every word of the ceremony over the waves and the breeze.
  13. Photography and Lighting: Plan your ceremony and reception timing around the best lighting for photography, such as during the golden hour before sunset. Make sure to leave enough time from the start of your ceremony to the end, then build in for photos as the sun begins to go down. End the session with just the two of you in the final rays of the day. Priceless!
  14. Local Wildlife and Conservation: Respect the local environment and any protected wildlife habitats. Avoid disturbing nesting areas or sensitive ecosystems. Remember that this is one beautiful moment in time for you, but it is their home and they will have to live in it after you are gone.

There is a lot to consider but by planning for these factors, you can ensure a beautiful and memorable beach wedding for you and your guests.

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