Planning a Beach Wedding? How to Keep Your Sandy Toes Stress-Free

Beach weddings are always in style, and for good reason. The warm sunshine, the salty sea breeze, and the sandy shore create the perfect backdrop for a romantic and relaxed wedding. However, planning a beach wedding can be challenging, especially when it comes to finding the right beach wedding dress, beach wedding venues, and beach everything. But hakuna matata, because with the right tips and tricks, you can plan a memorable beach wedding that is all about your love story and won't break the bank! And today, we are sharing some practical and savvy tips to help you plan the perfect beach wedding that you and your guests will remember forever.

Perfect beach wedding dress

Choosing the Right Beach Location

Choosing the right beach location is crucial when planning a beach wedding. Consider the accessibility of the beach, whether it has ample parking, and whether there are any local restrictions for hosting events on the beach. Also, think about the weather and if the beach is known for high winds or waves. Are there nearby shelters or beach houses available should a brief storm pass through?

Most couples have their wedding ceremony on the beach and then host their reception on more solid ground at a beach hotel, beach house, or nearby private residence. It's the best of both worlds!

If saying I Do with sand between your toes isn't your dream wedding concept but you love the ocean, there are also great beach adjacent wedding venues that still will give you the coastal vibes, and they may provide better accessibility for loved ones in wheelchairs or those who may have sun or UV ray sensitivities. Oceanfront hotels and independent beach houses might be what you're looking for instead! There are many waterfront venue options out there to give you a dream beach wedding no matter what your practical needs or dreams are.

Where to find beach wedding venues

Determining Your Wedding Guest List and Budget

Before you start planning the specifics of your beach wedding, it's important to determine your guest list and budget. You don't want to start booking a beach location, planning elaborate decorations, and hiring expensive entertainment before knowing how many people you'll be hosting and how much you can afford to spend.

First, make a list of all the people you want to invite to your wedding. Decide whether you want to invite only close family and friends, or if you'll be including acquaintances and colleagues as well. Keep in mind that beach weddings tend to be more intimate celebrations, so you may want to consider keeping the guest list smaller than you would for a traditional wedding.

Next, you'll want to determine your budget for the wedding. This will include everything from the cost of renting the beach venue to hiring vendors and purchasing wedding attire. You should also factor in any travel and accommodation expenses if you and your guests will be traveling from out of town. There's a reason a lot of destination weddings tend to happen on a beach! People love it!

Once you have a rough idea of your guest list and budget, you can start researching beach venues and vendors that fit within your financial parameters. You may need to make some compromises in terms of venue location or vendor options to stay within budget, but remember that it's possible to have a beautiful and memorable beach wedding without breaking the bank.

How to plan a beach wedding

Timing of the Ceremony and Reception

When planning a beach wedding, it's important to consider the timing of the ceremony and reception. The weather, the sun, and the tides can play a big factor in your special day, so it's essential to choose a time that works for both you and your guests. Early morning or late afternoon is typically the best time to avoid the hottest parts of the day. This will ensure you and your guests stay comfortable and can fully enjoy the beauty of the beach. Photographers also will recommend certain hours to have the best lighting for your photos! No one wants to be squinting the entire time you're exchanging vows!

Depending on your location, you may also want to plan for a sunrise or sunset ceremony to take advantage of the beautiful lighting that can occur during these times. Your photographer can also steal you two away from the reception to get sunset photos as well, so you can still get those dreamy beach memories.

When choosing what to wear to a beach wedding, it's important to also keep in mind the time of day. If you're having a morning or daytime wedding, lighter, more casual attire is appropriate. Guests may opt for flowy sundresses or skirts, while others can wear khakis and a light button-up shirt. For a sunset or evening ceremony, guests can dress up a bit more with cocktail dresses or thicker linen suits. (P.S. Don't forget to let your guests know the appropriate attire in the invitation so they can plan accordingly, too!)

Beach wedding decor ideas

Obtaining Permits and Meeting Legal Requirements

Before you start planning your beach wedding, it is essential to determine the legal requirements and obtain any necessary permits that might be required for a beach ceremony or reception. This can vary depending on the location, so make sure to do your research ahead of time to avoid any unexpected issues on the day of the ceremony.

In most cases, you will need to obtain a permit from the local government or beach authority to use the beach for your wedding ceremony and reception. This may involve submitting an application, paying a fee, and providing documentation such as insurance and liability coverage. Some beaches may also block off the ceremony area for your wedding while others aren't able to accommodate this due to the public nature of its beaches. It really varies!

It is also important to consider any other legal requirements that may apply to your wedding, such as obtaining a marriage license, meeting local noise ordinances or curfews, and following any specific regulations related to alcohol or food service on the beach.

To make this process easier, consider working with a wedding planner who has experience planning beach weddings and can guide you through the permit and legal requirements. They can also ensure that all necessary paperwork is submitted in a timely manner to avoid any delays or complications. By taking the time to obtain permits and meet legal requirements, you can ensure that your beach wedding goes smoothly and avoid any potential issues or fines on the day of the ceremony.

Beach wedding theme color ideas

Choosing a Theme or Color Scheme

Once you have decided on the location and logistics of your beach wedding, it's time to start thinking about the aesthetics! Choosing a theme or color scheme can help tie everything together and create a cohesive and memorable event.

Start by considering your personal style and the overall vibe you want for your wedding. Are you aiming for a laid-back beachy feel or something more elegant and refined? Do you want bright and bold colors or a softer and more muted palette? Taking inspiration from the natural beauty of the beach itself can also be a great starting point.

Some popular beach wedding themes include nautical, tropical, coastal, bohemian, and vintage. However, don't feel limited to these options – feel free to get creative and make it your own! Once you have a general idea of your theme or color scheme, start looking for inspiration and ideas online or in wedding magazines. Pinterest can be especially helpful for visualizing different options and seeing how various elements can work together.

Keep in mind that your theme or color scheme should also be reflected in your invitations, decorations, attire, and even the food and drinks. However, be careful not to go overboard – you want the theme to enhance the experience, not overwhelm it. Ultimately, the goal is to create a beautiful and cohesive look that reflects your personal style and sets the tone for a wonderful celebration by the seaside.

Beach wedding decoration ideas

Deciding on Decorations and Centerpieces

When it comes to beach weddings, simple and elegant decorations are the way to go. Since you have the natural beauty of the beach as your backdrop, you don't want to overpower it with too many decorations. Here are a few tips to help you decide on the perfect decorations and centerpieces for your beach wedding:

1. Use natural elements: Use driftwood, shells, and sand dollars to decorate your ceremony and reception space. You can also use palm fronds and other tropical plants to create a natural feel.
2. Keep it simple: Less is more when it comes to beach wedding decor. Keep the decorations minimal and elegant.
3. Choose a color scheme: Choose a color scheme that complements the beach. Soft blues, greens, and pinks are perfect for a beach wedding.
4. Create a focal point: Give your ceremony space a visual anchor with a simple arch or canopy decorated with flowers and greenery. We sure do love unique beach wedding ceremony arches around here!
5. Use lanterns and flowly fabrics: Create a romantic atmosphere for your reception area with lanterns and fabrics. If you have an indoor beach wedding reception, you can also consider candles and lightweight decor details.
6. Use unique centerpieces: Consider decor that reflects the beach theme. You can use glass jars filled with sand and shells or small vases with tropical flowers. Air plants lend a coastal vibe where monstera leaves give a more tropical feel!

Remember to keep it simple and elegant when deciding on your beach wedding decorations and centerpieces. Let the natural beauty of the beach shine through and create a magical and memorable day for you and your guests!

What to wear to a beach wedding

Finding the Perfect Wedding Attire

Beach weddings have a relaxed and carefree vibe, so it's essential to find the right attire that matches the mood.

For brides, lightweight fabrics like chiffon, organza, and tulle work best, as they are flowy and comfortable to wear. Strapless, halter neck, and off-shoulder wedding dresses are popular choices for beach weddings as they allow for easy movement and comfort and can have a relaxed chic look. For grooms, linen or cotton suits in light colors such as beige, cream, or pastel hues are ideal for keeping and looking cool. Opt for short sleeves or roll up the sleeves of a long-sleeved shirt for a more casual feel.

It's also important to choose footwear that's practical and comfortable for the sand, such as wedge heels, sandals, or even barefoot for a more laid-back look. You may even love barefoot sandals for a little glam for your feet!

In terms of accessories, simple and delicate pieces are perfect for the beach. Avoid wearing heavy jewelry or large headpieces, as they can be uncomfortable in the heat or not wind-friendly. Opt for floral crowns or small hair accessories for a more boho or minimalist look.

Remember to stay true to your personal style and comfort when choosing your beach wedding attire. It's your special day, and you want to feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful as you exchange your vows on the sand.

Beach wedding cake ideas

Planning the Reception Meal and Beverages

One of the highlights of any wedding is the reception meal and beverages! And yes, even for a beach wedding, there are several factors to consider when selecting the right menu and drinks.

Firstly, you'll need to think about the weather and choose food and beverages that are appropriate for the location and time of day. For instance, if it's hot and humid, you may want to serve light and refreshing foods and drinks to keep guests cool. If evenings are cooler, then serving late night snacks like mini burgers or s'mores may also be a nice warm treat.

When it comes to the actual menu, you can go for a traditional sit-down dinner or opt for a more casual buffet-style meal. For beach weddings, seafood is always a popular choice, as well as tropical fruits and vegetables that add to the beachy vibe. Another factor to consider is the number of guests and any dietary restrictions they may have. It's a good idea to offer a variety of beach-friendly food options, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes, so that everyone can enjoy the meal. And if you need some help planning a wedding with food allergies, we've got you covered there, too.

For the beverages, consider offering a signature cocktail that reflects the beach theme of the wedding. You can also have a bar set up with a variety of beer, wine, and spirits to cater to everyone's tastes. (We even have the perfect DIY wedding cocktails bar banner tutorial for you to make!)

Ultimately, the reception meal and beverages should create a memorable and enjoyable experience for all your guests. Take your time to think through all the details, talk to your professional caterer (or person in charge of the kitchen), and don't be afraid to get creative with food and drinks!

How to plan a stress free beach wedding

Hiring Music, Entertainment, and Photography

Your beach wedding wouldn't be complete without great music, entertainment, and beautiful photos to capture the memories! Consider the ambiance you want for your wedding, whether it's upbeat and energetic or more laid-back and mellow. If you have a specific theme in mind, choose music that will complement it. You can hire a live band or a DJ, but make sure to listen to their samples or see them perform before you book them. You can also include some fun beachy activities for your guests, such as volleyball or a bonfire. This is also why you need to check with your location's curfew and noise ordinances.

Choosing the right wedding photographer for you is a top priority because you want someone who can capture the beauty of your beach wedding and provide you with stunning memories for years to come. Look for a photographer who has experience with beach weddings (especially in harsher daylight hours!) and has a portfolio that matches your preferred style. Make sure to meet with them beforehand and discuss your vision for the photos. Ask about their packages and what is included, and don't forget to budget for any extra hours or other custom products.

Remember that hiring music, entertainment, and photography are important aspects of your wedding and should not be overlooked. With the right vendors, your beach wedding will be a memorable and joyous celebration for you and your guests!

How to plan a stress free beach wedding

Providing Comfort for Guests with Practical Amenities

When planning a beach wedding on sand, in the wind, or nearby the ocean, it's essential to keep your guests' comfort in mind. After all, the last thing you want is for them to be miserable and unable to fully enjoy your special day. To ensure that everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable experience, consider providing practical amenities. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Shade: Beach weddings can be beautiful, but they can also be scorching hot. To keep your guests cool and comfortable, consider setting up a shaded area with umbrellas, canopies, or a large tent. You could even include fans or misters to help keep your guests cool. (Making your own DIY herb-infused water misters is very easy to do!)

2. Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Since you're likely to spend a lot of time outdoors, it's a good idea to have sunscreen and bug spray readily available for your guests. Consider placing these items in a basket near the "entrance" or in the bathrooms.

3. Comfortable Seating: While beach weddings are often casual, you should still provide comfortable seating for your guests. You could choose chairs or benches that match your wedding theme or opt for lounge chairs or bean bags for a more relaxed vibe. Be mindful of elderly guests though! For older guests who might have mobility trouble on the sand, consider special chairs with a firm back and arms to help them lift up themselves or move your guest areas to solid floors.

4. Footwear: Encourage your guests to bring sandals or flip-flops to wear on the beach, but also consider providing a basket of flip-flops in various sizes. This will keep your guests' feet comfortable and sand-free, and they can even take them home as a fun souvenir. We also love a "foot brush" station to help brush off sand from toes, and you can make this Cricut wedding idea easily!

5. Lighting: As the sun goes down, you'll need adequate lighting to keep your guests safe and comfortable. Consider using lanterns, string lights, or torches to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

6. Warm Accessories: If your ceremony or reception will be held during cooler months, consider providing blankets or heaters to keep your guests comfortable. It does get chilly on the beach at night!

7. Water, Water, and More Water: Have multiple water stations set up through the entire wedding day, especially if you're getting married in the summer months. Staying hydrated is not just a comfort thing, it's a necessity!

By providing these practical amenities, you'll ensure that your guests have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and you'll be able to focus on making memories that will last a lifetime.

Beach wedding attire ideas

Managing Transportation and Accommodations

Transportation and accommodations can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to planning a beach wedding. Since beach locations are often remote or secluded, it can be difficult for guests to find transportation and accommodation options that suit their needs.

To manage this issue, it's important to provide your guests with a list of recommended local accommodation options. Start by researching local hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals that are near your chosen beach location. If you have a lot of out-of-town guests, you may want to negotiate group rates or block rooms at one or two hotels.

For transportation, consider hiring a shuttle service to transport guests to and from the wedding location. This can help prevent traffic congestion and parking issues. You could also provide guests with information about car rental options or ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.

When it comes to planning your own transportation, be sure to factor in the distance between your accommodation and the ceremony and/or reception location. You may want to rent a limousine or classic car to transport you and your wedding party, or consider renting bicycles or golf carts if your beach location allows.

Ultimately, managing transportation and accommodations requires careful planning and consideration. This is where you will especially appreciate hiring a wedding planner! By providing your guests with a list of recommended options and planning your own transportation needs in advance, you can help ensure that your beach wedding is a stress-free experience for everyone involved.

What to wear to a beach wedding

Preparing for the Unexpected with Contingency Plans

No matter how much planning and preparation goes into a wedding, there are always unexpected occurrences that can throw a wrench into the day's events. We're talking about everything from rain to vendor mishaps to health emergencies. It's important to have contingency plans in place to minimize stress and ensure that everything runs smoothly, and the biggest reason to hire a professional to figure out the logistics for you! Here are a few tips for preparing for the unexpected at the beach:

1. Weather: If you're having an outdoor ceremony and reception, make sure you have a backup plan in case of inclement weather. Consider renting a tent or an indoor space as an alternative. Unless you live in a magical place without clouds, rain is always a concern when planning any kind of event on the beach!
2. Power Outages: Power outages can happen unexpectedly, so make sure to have backup generators on hand to keep the lights and music going.
3. Vendor No-shows: It's important to have contact information for all vendors and to confirm their arrival time a few days before the wedding. If a vendor doesn't show up, have a backup plan in place. You won't usually experience this with established full-time wedding professionals, but if you have chosen someone who does weddings as a hobby, be sure to ask them for reviews and other vendors they have worked with before to learn how reliable they are.
4. Health Emergencies: Have a first aid kit on hand in case of any medical emergencies. If any guests have health conditions, make sure you're aware and can accommodate their needs. If having a destination wedding, locate the nearest hospital before the big day and share with guests who may need that information.
5. Lost or Damaged Items: Make sure to pack a small emergency kit with items such as extra hairpins, stain remover, and safety pins to fix any last-minute issues. It's also a good idea to have a trusted friend or family member who can hold onto important items such as rings or the marriage license.

Remember, no matter how much you plan, unexpected things can still happen. By having contingency plans in place, you can minimize stress and ensure that you and your guests have an enjoyable day.

Now go get planning!

Planning a beach wedding doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. With the right team, resources, and a watchful eye on the weather, you can have the perfect seaside ceremony with your family and friends. Don't forget to savor the moment, listen to your gut, and enjoy the magic of a beach wedding. Now that you have the tools and knowledge to create a stress-free beach wedding, it's time to get started! Put the beauty of the sea to work and make your ceremony a magical day that will be talked about for generations to come. Leave the stress to the waves and focus on the joy that you and your guests will share under the sun. So, jump in and create a seaside celebration that is worth every moment.

Love these photos? See the full intimate Outer Banks beach wedding here on Tidewater and Tulle!

Photography: L'Amour Foto | Venue: Sanderling Resort | Officiant: Reverend Jay Bowman | Florals: Sugar Snap Events | Cake: Great Cakes | Hair & Makeup: DIY by Bride

Looking for Beach Wedding Dresses? Shop These Inspiring Looks!

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