How do I plan the perfect beach wedding?
If you are a beach lover, then having a beach wedding is the perfect way to get married in a beautiful and romantic setting.
The natural beauty of the sand, sea and sun make for a stunning backdrop making your special day unforgettable.
Are there any tips to help me plan a beach wedding?
Choose the right location
When it comes to a beach wedding, location is everything. Decide on the beach you want to get married at and make sure it is easily accessible to you and your guests. Look for a location that has good facilities and amenities nearby, such as restrooms, parking and maybe even a small under cover area.
Check the tides! Getting married by the rock pools overlooking the beach will be stunning, but it may not be the best idea at high tide as the rock pools and most of the sand area disappears under the water. If you are local to the area, you may already have a keen sense of changing beach conditions throughout the day allowing you to choose a time that best suits your needs. However, if you are visiting the area specifically to hold your wedding in the perfect location, it is a good idea to chat with the locals, surfers or life-guards who know the conditions, and then go down to the beach at the exact time you are planning your ceremony to get a first hand look.
Knowing the local conditions is key to pulling off a dream beach wedding.
You will need a council permit
All public spaces in NSW are managed by the local council. Whether you are having an intimate ceremony for 2 (just you and your witnesses) or you are planning a beach wedding with all the bells and whistles for 100 guests, it is necessary to book the space through the local council and be granted a permit. Most local councils have an online booking system that is simple to use. It can take a few weeks to get your permit, so you need to plan this step in advanced (see my article “Can I have my wedding outdoors in a park or a beach?” for great tips on securing a council permit).
Council permits do not cost a lot of money with most of them between $110 & $250 depending on the location. This allows you exclusive use (as much as possible) of the area generally for 3 hours which is enough time to set up, hold the ceremony, have photos taken and clear the space again.
Check the weather
Some of the most idyllic beaches experience sudden weather changes. So, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast for the day of your wedding. Ideally, choose a date in the summer months when the weather is a little more predictable and warm.
It is always a good idea to have a backup plan. This can be as simple as erecting a few decorative marquees to offer shade if it is really hot, right up to having an alternate indoors venue just in case of extremely wet or extremely hot weather. If you are having a reception it may be possible to speak to them about holding the ceremony as part of the reception if the need arises.
A beach wedding calls for a dress code that is less formal than a traditional wedding. Think lightweight fabrics, flowing maxi dresses or skirts for women and casual shirts and linen pants for men. High heels are usually not suitable for the beach, so choose wedges, sandals or bare feet instead.
Choose a minimal décor for the ceremony, since the natural beauty of the beach will already set the perfect atmosphere. Use simple décor such as fresh flowers in vases or small bouquets, lanterns, cushions or rugs. If you have a local sand-castle artist in the area, why not chat to them about creating a personalised sculpture for your wedding.
Plan for comfortable seating for your guests. This is especially important if you are expecting older guests, or guests with a disability. Opt for wooden benches or chairs, and consider putting a carpet or an aisle running on the sand to aid in walking stability.
Music is a vital element of any wedding, so choose the right type of music that complements the beach setting and creates a romantic and relaxed atmosphere. Consider hiring a local live band, solo guitarist or DJ to play your favourite music.
When thinking about music for a beach wedding it is important to take into account the natural sounds of the beach such as wind, surf, kids squealing out of the sheer enjoyment of being hit by the waves and so on. If you choose music that is really soft it may not be able to be heard over the top of the natural sounds. Likewise, if you choose really loud music, you will drown out the natural sounds that are such an integral part of the beach wedding experience.
There is no right or wrong music for a beach wedding, but just give it some thought to ensure you are not disappointed on the day.
Catering and menu
Choose a beach-friendly menu that’s easy to handle and eat such as a BBQ or seafood buffet. Work with a local caterer to ensure your menu features fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Key point to consider:
● A beach wedding is a unique and magical experience, but it requires a bit more planning and consideration
● Be sure to choose the right location, take the weather and tides into account
● Choose an appropriate dress code that suits the beach such as light-weight materials
● Opt for a minimal décor to allow the natural beauty to shine
● Provide comfortable seating for your guests and serve up breach-friendly food and drinks
With proper planning, your beach wedding will be a hugely memorable event for you, your partner and your guests.
So, start planning your dream beach wedding.