The beach can be a calming, romantic and grounding place. It’s no wonder that couples around the world opt for a seaside ceremony to tie the knot.
Whether it’s an intimate elopement on a cliff in Maine, a dreamy palm-covered powder beach in Aruba or a southern fete in a Nicholas Sparks-esque seaside town in North Carolina, these tips are everything you need to have the amazing beach wedding of your dreams. Everything else is for the birds.
1. Choose a ceremony time based on your wedding date.
After you pick your wedding date, check out Weather.com for trends for that week over the past few years. You can even dig deep into what the weather is typically like by the hour–ahh the internet is a glorious thing!
If you’re getting married in the heat of summer, consider a later ceremony, like 6:00pm. Most people add 15 minutes of padding to their ceremony start time to make sure late guests aren’t interrupting the ceremony. By the time you get going, the sun should be lower in the sky and (hopefully) a soft breeze will be blowing.
If you’re choosing a cooler month, like October, an earlier ceremony is ideal to make sure everyone is warm enough and you catch that beautiful hazy time of day for photos and video.
2. Keep it simple.
Starting with a blank slate for an event can be hard, but the best part about the blank slate you chose is that it’s already painted with beautiful natural elements. You don’t need much more to create a jaw-dropping backdrop for a romantic occasion.
Keep your ceremony look timeless and skip the stress by limiting the decor and flowers you bring down. You don’t really need them and they can draw attention away from the beauty you’re surrounded by. Even chairs can be limited to a few for older guests, if you’re having a ceremony around 15 minutes long or less.
3. Check to see if you need a permit for a beach wedding.
This is a big one. Many cities require you to file for an event permit for a ceremony on the beach. It’s not usually a big deal to acquire or expensive, but it is definitely something you should look into well in advance of the wedding.
If you’re getting married at a resort, check with the wedding coordinator to see if they manage that part of the process for you.
4. Keep it chill.
The beach life is all about taking it easy so don’t fight the desire to let that translate to your ceremony.
Keep the expectations of your guests to a minimum. Figure out a way to make parking easy on them, either by choosing a place where there is plenty or coordinating a shuttle, like a cute trolly.
It’s still a wedding so it’s acceptable to ask guests to dress respectfully but don’t expect formal. Terms like “beach formal” or “beach casual” can help guests get a ballpark idea of what’s appropriate to wear without being uncomfortable.
5. Give up control and get lost in the beach vibes.
Even the most calm beaches during off season are generally still open to the public, so if you’re having a beach wedding, you have to let go of the need for everything to be perfect like it might be if you were in a controlled environment, like a church.
There might be people walking behind your ceremony. It may be hotter or colder than expected. There might be wild wind that day that can make it hard to hear or make your hair get crazy.
BUT… you’re beach people. You picked this place because it’s special to you so embrace the elements of your favorite place and the amazing fact that you can come back to sit in the spot where you said, “I do” with your spouse and your family anytime you need to feel the magical sea breeze again.
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