After watching 3 separate beach weddings occur in one day, I had a lot to comment about in regards to certain aspects such as using Ipods, guest considerations, weather, etc. It dawned on me as I watched 2 of the 3 beach weddings make the exact same mistakes, that there are many things that brides simply don’t think about. I won’t go into detail about the basic wedding elements such as food to serve, seating arrangements and items like that, but these are things that you may not have considered for beach weddings in particular.
One of the tricks to holding a beach wedding is timing it properly with the tides. It will make the difference as to whether you’ll hold the wedding on tight packed wet sand or the soft white sand of the dunes. Consider the tide tables and make note of when the tide is normally in or out for the particular beach where you’ll be holding your wedding. While there is normally a lot of variance from day to day, there is some consistency that you can base your service around.
Weather the Weather
It’s best to avoid hurricane seasons which can cause all types of unpredictability with not only the weather, but also the aforementioned tides. But because you’re close to the ocean, you should always have an alternate plan if it gets rained out. It’s a worse case scenario, but you need to know that if it can go wrong, it probably will. It may also be smart to spend time in the area beforehand to see if the area is prone to sand flies or if the section of beach you’re using is windy. Gusts of sand blowing in the eyes of your guests and the wedding party can quickly ruin the day.
As I mentioned in my Ipod wedding post, the ocean is the only place on earth that is both loud and relaxing at the same time. It’s a strange anomaly and it’s the relaxing part that has people forgetting about the loud ocean part altogether. The crashing waves can make it almost impossible to hear much being said. Make sure that your music is being pushed through a PA system and most importantly, that your pastor/priest/minister is also miked through that PA as well. Even the most booming natural voice won’t be able to be heard over Mother Nature. I watched two weddings where the minister wasn’t miked. The first had to yell over the ocean and it made it very unromantic when it got to the “I Do” portions of the wedding. The second was a woman pastor who simply could not be heard at all. Microphone everyone that will be talking.
Consider what footwear your wedding party is going to be wearing and have them dress accordingly. I was surprised how many women came to a beach wedding in high heels. Make sure that your wedding party has the right type of footwear for a beach wedding and that your guests also know to plan accordingly with either flip flops or sandals.
Take into consideration that your parents and grandparents will have to walk the beach to their seating. If you have any relatives that require the use of canes, walkers or that have any physical disabilities that make trudging through sand difficult, you should account for extra time getting them seated or possibly even seating them beforehand.
Distract The Kids
The second children hit the beach, you can expect them to be distracted easily. Make it easier on yourself and simply accommodate that distraction by providing kids in attendance with beach themed wedding favors or even providing them with a small shovel or bucket. Maybe even set aside an area off to the side where they can play quietly making sand castles instead of having their parents managing their fidgeting instead of enjoying your big day.
If you haven’t acquired a private beach, you should expect onlookers and in some cases additional noises. Public access beaches will have your wedding surrounded by half naked adults and screaming kids complete with frisbees, dogs, and surfers. This is something to consider for potential interruptions. Most people are polite and will keep the distractions to a minimum when they see the wedding taking place, but on public beaches, you’re sharing the area with people who weren’t invited and you should anticipate the possibility of distractions.
Arranging to have your wedding on a private beach is easier than you think. In North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, you can contact major players for beach rental properties such as Emerald Isle Realty that can get you a section of the beach to call your own for the weekend to avoid all of the possible extra hub bub. They can also give you access to lodging such as huge beautiful beach houses that can comfortably accommodate 6-8 couples in one beach home for under $2500 for an entire week. Imagine the convenience of having lodging, a private beach for your wedding and also a place to hold your reception afterward and all without the need to travel from one location to the other.
Power to the People
As I mentioned with the audio issue above, you should have a PA for the music to play through including the pastor, any ceremony musicians and ceremony music as well. So it’s pretty important that you should consider that most beaches do not have electrical outlets. Be prepared to supply power to the DJ for the PA or any other items that may require some juice. You may have to be inventive with super long electrical cords running from nearby homes. And if there simply is none, think of something else because doing a beach wedding without a PA will be disastrous.
Check the sturdiness of any seating you supply. There’s nothing worse than your grandmother taking a fall when the chair legs sink into the sand behind her. Benches are typically a good idea because of their broader feet which are less susceptible to sinking into the sand once someone sits in them. It’s also best to preset each chair into the sand to make sure that any further sinking is minimal.
Aisle Be Back
The aisle where the bride will be walking towards the altar is going to be messy. If you can arrange for there to be a walkway, that would preferably be ideal, but most likely improbable. Cloth aisle runners will sink into the sand once they get stepped on by your guests and then your wedding party. Thinking outside of the box to keep the aisle still “picture worthy” will be tricky. Some ideas may include having the flowergirl use an excessive amount of flowers to cover the center aisle with a lot of flowers to partially cover up the trampled sand. It looks much nicer than an crumpled up, stepped on, sandy aisle runner that makes it almost impossible for a nice center aisle shot.
Beach themed wedding favors are a great touch for a beach wedding obviously, but do it yourself (DIY) wedding favors such as hand painted seashells or sand dollars are a nice touch and can save you tons of money. The aforementioned North Carolina Crystal Coast, and especially in the Emerald Isle area of the Crystal Coast, there are nice sized seashells virtually everywhere. Grab a few dozen and hand paint names, dates, personal notes and glitter them up for a fantastic and frugal wedding favor idea.
So those are some things that I saw many beach weddings do wrong and that you should add to your consideration pile when you’re planning a beach wedding. If you have any more great tips, be sure to add them below in the comment area. I’d love to hear them!