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Do's and Don't for Planning a Beach Wedding

March 21, 2018

When you picture a beach wedding, chances are you’re dreaming of the soft sand, cool ocean breezes and gorgeous sunset in the distance. But Beach Weddings come with their own special set of considerations. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for ensuring you have a beautiful wedding day - from choosing the right gown to wind proofing your decor, to keep you worry-free while exchanging vows on the sand by the sea. 

Dress Accordingly

Skip the big dress. Let’s face it: A ballgown belongs in, well, a ballroom. You may be able to get down the aisle in a full dress and long train, but walking on the beach and taking photos will be hard. Many bridal gown shops now offer Beach Wedding Dresses. If a large dress is a must, make sure it can bustle easily.

Think light. Dresses with lace can be difficult because they tend to pick up sand from the beach. Instead, you should choose a lightweight fabric like chiffon or charmeuse so your gown flows in the breeze.

Ditch the heels. Sand and high heels just don’t mix. Wear flat-sole sandals, espadrilles or wedges — shoes that won’t sink into the sand. They even have bridal flip-flops. Make sure you have your gown hemmed with or without shoes, depending on which option you choose. Remember, sand gets pretty hot on the Florida sand in the summer months so definitely choose some type of footwear to help keep your tootsies cool.

Consider an Up-do. Think of the elements when deciding on a hairstyle, a tried and true Up-do will keep you looking polished all day long. Check out ideas on my Pinterest page

Nix the veil. When having an outdoor beach wedding, think twice about a long veil. If it’s windy, it will be a nightmare for you and the photographer. Instead, accessorize your ‘do with fresh flowers or hair accessory. If you want a veil, choose a shorter one that sits to the back of the head. Pinterest page

Let your guy go informal. While many brides envision their groom in a tux, or suit and tie, it's a no-no in tropical climates. A better and cooler option is lightweight cotton pants with a linen shirt or even Bermuda shorts are great options for the beach. Check out ideas on my Pinterest page


Prepare your guests. If you are planning on guests, make sure your guests know your event will take place on the sand in the heat. Mention your plans to your guests, on the invitation or wedding website, and prepare your guests for the sun by including necessary items at the ceremony or in welcome bags. We suggest travel-size bottles of good quality sunscreen, bottled water, towels and hand fans to beat the heat.

Stay natural. A gorgeous ocean backdrop doesn’t need to be too dressed up. Instead, highlight the natural beauty of the setting. A beach wedding can be about shells and starfish, but it can also take inspiration from the harmonious color palette of sand, dune grasses, stones and water. Decor should be simple; avoid going over the top with fussy flowers. A simple arch with some flowing draping and maybe some pretty rose petals in the sand are a simple yet nice choice. To make your setup really pop, choose colors that contrast the sand and the surf rather than blend in, like corals, greens and other vibrant tones.

Get a permit. Some beaches in Florida require a permit if you are having any kind of décor or a large number of guests. Check with your officiate on which beaches require permits and the costs.

Ensure privacy. Most Beaches in Florida are not private and many may be crowded during peak times such as “Spring Break” and the winter months. Your officiate can advise you on which beaches will afford you more privacy. If you are staying at a private resort, check with them on whether you may have your ceremony on their property.

Time it right. When dealing with beach wedding photos, time of day and lighting is especially important. We suggest ending the ceremony approximately 45 minutes to an  hour before sunset. That way, you’ll still get great shots in natural lighting, as well as gorgeous sunset portraits.

Have a seat. Wooden benches and folding chairs are great choices because they’re usually heavy enough to withstand the ocean breeze.

Offer Refreshments. Set up a tub or cooler with ice water or lemonade that your guests can enjoy while waiting for the ceremony to start.

Prepare for wind. A good rule of thumb on the beach: Anything that can blow away will. If you’re using ceremony programs, weight them down with shells, tie them to chairs with ribbon or print them on fans, which perform double duty. And if you envision a perfectly petal-lined aisle, don’t toss them until the absolute last moment, right before guests arrive.

 Keep bugs at bay. Insect repellent is a good idea no matter the season or beach location.  Just make sure it’s a brand that won’t stain your gown.

Speak up. You’ve spent so much time writing your vows and personalizing the ceremony, so be sure your audio doesn’t get lost against the sound of crashing waves. If you are having a lot of guests with rows of chairs we recommend you rent a wireless microphone and speaker for your officiate to use.

Keep it short. With factors like the heat and audibility, we advise limiting the amount of readings and performances during the ceremony — and make sure all participants know to speak clearly and loudly. Our ceremonies are typically 20-30 minutes at the most.

Have a backup plan. Unfortunately, weather has a mind of its own, especially in Florida so be ready with a solid plan B. Check with where you are staying if they have a covered area you can use in the event of inclement weather and talk to your officiate about options.

"Christina was great to work with. Planning a Florida beach wedding from Indiana would have been very difficult for us. Christina put everything together including the location, the officiant and the photographer as well as offering great ideas and additions to our ceremony. Every email was answered right away and each change was accommodated. Our ceremony was EXACTLY what we wanted. I highly recommend Weddings By Christina!"   ~   Read More »
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