There’s always been a romantic, other-worldly charm to a small beach ceremony. The gentle ocean waves and beautiful sunsets make the perfect backdrop to exchange vows. However, there are some things to know before planning your big day on the sea shore.
Ditch the Ballgown!
If you’re a ‘bling’ bride, this probably isn’t for you. But unless you plan on waltzing down the aisle to the tune of “Tale as Old as Time”, do yourself a favor and skip the huge dress. And while we’re skipping ball gowns, ditch the stilettos too. Half the fun of a beach wedding is being able to go barefoot! (Just remember that you’re in Florida, and sand gets hot. Be prepared with a pair of pretty sandals or an aisle runner.) Not only will it save you money to spend on more important aspects of your wedding, but you’ll be so much comfier going light. Lightweight fabrics like chiffon and charmeuse are the prime choices for beach gowns. There’s no better kind of dress for those breathtaking flowing-in-the-ocean-breeze photo ops.
Pin up your locks!
You know those scenes in the movies where the wind is whipping about the woman’s face and creating a framing effect making her look like nothing less than a goddess? Spoiler alert: it’s not like that in real life. Wind at the beach is inescapable, and it does not cooperate. Fortunately, there are plenty of up-do hairstyles that can keep you looking polished through any element the beach brings. That being said, however, a long veil is also a no-no unless you have a photographer with a saint’s patience and the veil is super-glued to your head. Instead, accessorize with some fresh flowers or a jeweled headband.
Have a Plan B
Speaking of wind problems, that sea breeze can be bitey with sand and chills depending on the time of year. Not only do you want to study typical weather patterns, but always have a plan B. Pick a venue with backup indoor options. And, of course, if it’s not the wind, it’s the heat. “Make sure your guests know your event will take place on the sand”, says Kelly McWilliams of Weddings by Socialites. Mention your plans on the invitation or wedding website, and prepare your guests for the sun by including welcome bags with items like water, fans and sunscreen.
Don’t Torture the Men
A lot of brides long for the day they get to see their man all dolled up in a fancy tux. However, heavy penguin suits and tropical climates do not mix. Instead of risking the guy’s health and sanity, have him dress comfortably to match the beachy setting. Lightweight cotton pants or even Bermuda shorts can still look wedding-appropriate without being too glamorous for the beach.
Keep it Natural
That’s the whole point of a beach wedding, right? Follow the golden rule: too much of anything is a bad thing. You don’t need to enhance an already beautiful setting with frilly decor. Instead, make the most of the already gorgeous backdrop of sugary-white sands, turquoise waves, and stunning tropical sunsets. To make your setup really pop, Sasha Souza of Sasha Souza Events suggests, “Choose colors that contrast the sand and the surf rather than blend in, like corals, greens and other vibrant tones.” And when is the beach at its most stunning? Sunrise and sunset. Since a 6am wedding is undoubtedly out of the question, Barbara Fancsik of Eventful Moments Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, suggests ending the ceremony an hour before sunset. “That way, you’ll still get great action shots in natural lighting, as well as sunset portraits.”
The Nitty Gritties
Unless you own your own beachfront property, there will be paperwork required to hold a public ceremony on the beach. Be sure to ask questions regarding what you will need to get the proper permit.
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