Guide To Getting Married On A Beach
There’s nothing more romantic than the sound of the waves and the wind in your hair, which is probably why an increasing number of couples are heading for the beach to tie the knot. It may seem that getting married by the sea is literally a breeze whether at home or abroad – but things don’t always go according to plan, so here’s some tips on how to avoid that sinking feeling.
Watch out for annoying interlopers
Firstly, you need to work out the logistics of a beach wedding. Popular spots tend to be a big attraction for hordes of sunbathers. You may need to get a permit in advance to cordon off an area, or at least someone who can stop people sitting down in the exact spot where the couple will exchange vows.
Wedding planners can be really useful in managing situations like this. Of course, if you are lucky enough to find a venue with a private beach, annoying interlopers won’t be a problem.
Afternoon heat, especially abroad, is brutal and not especially good for children or older people. If want to avoid guests getting frazzled and hot under the collar, find a shady spot that catches the cool breeze or, even better, put up a canopy.
To avoid the peak temperatures, opt for a ceremony in the morning, late afternoon or evening. A sunset wedding will mean that your guests see you take your vows surrounded by the warm glow of the sun. For a daytime service, position the ceremony so that the sun will be on the guests’ backs rather than in their eyes. Don’t leave your guests melting in the sun – get your ushers to give out cold bottles of water as they are seated and have plenty of sunscreen available. For smaller partiers offer little hand fans.
Check the tide times
When you invite your guests, tell them what temperatures to expect so they can dress coolly. Likewise, if the bride and groom are going traditional, they need to wear light clothes and avoid layered bridal gowns or heavy jackets.
If you are planning the ceremony near the water’s edge, check the tide times. Tides coming in are nosier than going out and no-one wants to find themselves wading in water!
The beach is a great location for the photos as you can take advantage of the beauty of your natural surroundings. It’s best to find a photographer who has shot beach weddings and is familiar with lighting techniques. You can’t beat a photo of the newlyweds walking hand in hand along the beach or the groom scooping up the bride in the sea.
Your menu should reflect the location by using local delicacies. If an area is known for its seafood, take advantage of the tasty fresh produce. Consider the temperature when choosing your menu as many foods spoil in the heat. For example, use fondant on your wedding cake than buttercream that will melt in hot temperatures. The same approach is needed for the flowers. You can’t beat beautiful blooms to add colour in any space but you want flowers that are hardy and will last in the heat. Get advice and guidance from the local florist. Large conch shells or colourful beach pails filled with flowers look great for beach-themed centrepieces.
Wind and neat hair don’t go together
If the weather lets you down, it’s best to have a backup plan. You’ll still have wedding fun in guaranteed sun on a tropical beach but that may not be the case in the UK. Should the day turn out to be a washout it’s wise to have a tent or a nearby pub or hotel to dash back to.
Many beach weddings can suffer from windy conditions. Make sure the hairstylist knows it’s an outdoor event as the bride and the men in the wedding party don’t want to look as if they are having a bad hair day.
Refreshing drinks on tap
Another important point is to ask yourself, will everyone be able to hear the ceremony? When you think of your dream wedding on a beach you probably don’t hear the wind or roar of the waves or nearby talking or laughter. No one at the service wants to miss anything so look into hiring a sound system with clip-on mikes for the bride, groom and the person officiating at the service.
After the service, a refreshing cocktail such as a classic mint julep or a mojito will be welcome – mint refreshes and cools. Alcohol is dehydrating in the heat, so consider also serving a variety of lemonades, teas and punches as well as lots of water.
Finally, where there is heat there are pesky bugs. Be sure to put out citronella candles or a bug zapper so your guests don’t spend the whole ceremony swatting at the air. After all these caveats, I’m sure you’ll be sure to shine on your beach wedding idyll.