There's no doubt about it: Beach weddings are absolutely stunning. Exchanging vows with wind-tousled hair and sandy toes, while the rhythmic sounds of ocean waves and seagulls fill your ears, seems like a dream come true. But whether you're getting married on the Italian coast or the beaches of northern Florida, oceanside weddings require careful planning and thorough research. Here are eight things to consider to ensure your seaside celebration goes off without a hitch.
Is the beach public or private?
Since most beaches are public property, anyone can tie the knot in the sand. But other beachgoers and sun tanners can access the space, too. If you want privacy and seclusion, consider finding a private property, or asking a resort to reserve an area of beach for your event.
Do you need special permits?
Not every public beach requires a permit for a wedding, but you should check with the city regardless. Some beaches have rules about guest count, alcohol, bonfires, and music. If you do need a permit, make sure to understand the fees, approval process, liability insurance, and other important factors. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
What will you do in the event of bad weather?
Many seaside celebrations take place in warm climates. But while tropical temperatures come with the territory, guests may become uncomfortable in the sweltering heat and beating sun. Consider scheduling your ceremony for the morning or late afternoon in order to avoid the worst of the weather. Also, make sure your ceremony site has sufficient shade, especially if many children or elderly people will be in attendance. Those getting hitched on the East Coast also need to worry about rain and hurricane season, so do your research on weather trends before booking any beach venue, and have a Plan B in place in the event of especially bad weather.
Consider the noise.
You may love the sounds of the sea when relaxing on the beach, but do you really want crashing waves to interrupt your vow exchange? Prepare for natural noise by getting a professional sound system and finding a way to power it. We also recommend getting a windscreen for your microphone so breezes won't affect the sound output.
Is it accessible to guests?
The half-mile walk to your oceanside altar may seem dreamy, but can everyone make the trek? When choosing a site, keep all guests (even your wobbly grandma and five-year-old nieces) in mind. Also make sure that rentals, such as chairs and tables, can be easily delivered to the site.
Make sure your flowers can handle it.
Thanks to the high heat and humidity of tropical climates, some flowers won't survive until the first dance. If you're having a beach wedding, stick with blooms that tolerate tropical weather without wilting, such as chrysanthemums, calla lilies, king protea, or orchids. You can also break away from flowers and decorate with fresh fruit, seashells, or other nautical elements.
Think about where food will be stored.
Nobody wants to eat cheese that's been sitting in the blazing heat for an hour. If you're having a buffet, choose foods that can handle some temperature, and avoid anything that will melt or spoil easily. The same advice goes for cake; buttercream may not stand up to sweltering weather.
Select complementary décor.
Envisioning lush flowers, elegant candles, and dangling ribbon at your reception? The infamous beach winds may have other plans. Choose decorative elements that will stand up against unexpected gusts, and steer clear anything lightweight or breakable. If you're worried about place cards, vases, photos, or other elements blowing away, secure them with string, adhesives, or heavy objects.