HOW DO YOU PLAN A CEREMONY TO TAKE PLACE ON A BEACH?
Guest List. Your plans begin with an early decision. Are you eloping, inviting a small group, or having a traditional, larger wedding? Ceremonies with fewer attendees allow greater flexibility in location and planning.
Location. Also consider paying for access to a private beach attached to a hotel or resort. Some private homeowners also rent out their property for wedding ceremonies. For a tighter budget, a public beach that's off the beaten path can be ideal; just make sure you get the required permits and permissions.
Formality. A seaside wedding can be either formal or informal. The more formal the ceremony, the more intricate the planning usually is.
Hour. Sunset is an excellent time for a beach ceremony. Not only is it a beautiful backdrop, but most beachgoers have left the sand so you gain more privacy. Be sure to factor in the time required with the photographer if you want sunset shots. Mornings are wonderful as well -- beaches tend to be empty, it’s the coolest time of day, and the light is perfect for photography afterward.
Tide. Tides change throughout the day, and it's always better to have the wedding ceremony when the tide isn't coming in. Low tide will cut down the ocean noise and will also prevent a wet, advancing water line.
Weather. Try to find a section of beach that's shielded from the wind. Be sure to have a backup location that provides shelter in case of rain or other inclement weather. A tent should be kept on call if there isn't a nearby facility that can be reserved.
Flooring. At informal beach weddings, guests are often asked to gather round in the sand, barefoot, for the ceremony. For a more formal affair, a stable flooring system can be constructed to support seating. If there will be many elderly or disabled guests in attendance, be sure to consider their safety and comfort.
Chairs. Have a plan for chairs so guests are comfortable, especially if the ceremony will be a lengthy one. Even if guests are asked to stand during the ceremony, you should still have some chairs available for guests who may not be able to stand through the entire ceremony.
Decor. Because the powerful visuals associated with the beach and ocean dominate the scenery, it's good advice to keep the decorations to a minimum.
Music. Consider portable instruments with high-pitched notes that travel well outdoors without drowning out the natural sounds of the ocean.
Facilities. If the ceremony will be held on a hotel or resort beach, be sure to alert all guests to the exact location of the restrooms. If it will take place on a remote section of sand, you should rent temporary restrooms.
Although a beach wedding may require more planning than an all-inclusive plan, the coastline will provide a natural setting.
Wear and Gear
If you're having a destination wedding, you'll need to pack specific gear, from the gown to the shoes, to make sure your destination wedding goes smoothly. For instance: if you're getting married on the beach, don't wear heels or choose a wedding gown with a long train. Both of these can spell trouble when walking in the sand. Also, choose clothing that's of an appropriate weight for both the groom and the bride. Heavy fabrics and layers (such as in a tux with a vest and coat) can be very uncomfortable for weddings outside in the heat.
Cruise weddings also call for some modifications to traditional wedding apparel; and choose a dress that packs well. Choosing the right clothes will definitely make your wedding day progress much more smoothly.