Sunset, sand and surf. Can there be a more romantic setting for a wedding? For many of you, the answer is "no", but only thorough advance planning will protect your dream day from potential disaster. From preparing for the weather, to picking out the perfect beach wedding favors, beach and other destination wedding by their very nature bring unique challenges to wedding plans. Rain is not the only uncontrollable element that can ruin your day, but it’s a good place to start.
Do Your Weather Research
Once you've selected your destination, check the typical weather patterns to avoid hurricanes and flea season, and then select your date accordingly. Knowing when the sun sets and when to expect high tides on your chosen date will help determine the best time to hold your ceremony. Standing knee-deep in water and seaweed can really put a damper on your moment in the sun.
Select The Perfect Location
Beaches can be public or privately owned by a resort, a hotel or an individual. If you choose a public beach for your wedding, you can have both the ceremony and reception there. Many local governments require permits for a wedding on their beaches - public and private - so call or write them and apply for your permit well in advance. You don't want to get escorted off the beach before you say, "I do".
Perhaps you want your wedding on the beach and the reception indoors. Most seaside resorts and hotels host beach weddings frequently and offer packages that include pertinent information for worry-free planning. From guests' rooms to catering, you can choose from a number of options, and you'll have that all-important alternate location if it rains.
Welcome Your Guests
It's easy to make your guests feel special when they arrive at the hotel. Welcome them in style with a stylish welcome bag that includes fruit, mints, water bottles, a brochure with things to do in the area, sunscreen, bug spray and a couple beach themed favors to commemorate the occasion. Front-desk personnel will gladly present a beach themed welcome bag to each guest as they check in.
Plan Your Ceremony
Your ceremony is the pinnacle of the event. Encourage wedding guests to dress for the location - comfortable and casual. Sand in dress shoes with four-inch heels can be irritating on a number of levels. A basket filled with comfy flip flops can be a welcoming site to guests. You may consider renting a canopy to prevent sunburn. While citronella candles can be used to keep bugs away, unity candles may not stay lit in the wind, so you might want choose another symbolic ritual. Music, whether live or electronic, sets the mood. Consider using a battery-operated sound system to assure the music is audible over the wind and surf.
Prepare the Perfect Beach Reception
If your reception is on the beach, make sure your food and cake are well-protected to prevent spoilage and melting. Tables and chairs, whether outdoors or inside, will make dining easier and provide a place to present your family and friends with beach wedding favors that instantly up the WOW factor of your event!
So slather on the sunscreen and set the date. With careful planning, a beach wedding can bring an ocean of emotion and lasting memories of the first hours of your life together.