The crashing waves, the setting sun make a beach wedding romantic. It's easy to get swept away in the tide of fantasy. While beach weddings can be completely fabulous, they can also pose some logistical problems for you and your guests. Be respectful and responsible about how you treat the sand and the surf, and you should have few problems. Here are a few do's and don'ts to get you planning the perfect beach wedding.
DO Embrace the opportunity to go for casual elegance. Skip fussy details like a train and veil, which will only get filled with sand. Wear shoes that will not send you sinking to the other side of the world.
DON'T Require black tie. Unless you have an easy-to-use and sand-free path to and from the site, asking guests to tramp through the sand in formal gowns and tuxes is a little taxing. It's not to say you can't have a super-snazzy wedding, but taking your guests' comfort into consideration will make sure you avoid any accidents.
DO Avoid exposed beaches. Beaches that face the ocean full on, without some kind of shore break, tend to have higher tides and winds. Choosing a bay location, or a beach with some sort of wind protection, can protect your guests from rogue waves and keep sand out of everyone's eyes. When booking the location, try to read reviews about past weddings at the spot, keeping an eye out for any weather-related horror stories.
DON'T Forget to consider parking when you're picking out locations. Some beaches may be beautiful, but if they have twelve parking spots for your 150 guests, you have a serious problem. If you're really really in love with a super-secluded spot, consider hiring out space in a nearby parking lot and renting a shuttle to carry guests up to the site. It will take some extra planning, but it's a quick fix to shore parking woes.
DO Use a microphone system. Again, crashing waves, chirping seagulls are very picturesque, but also very loud. Using a microphone system will ensure that your “I dos” don't need to be shouted and that your minister need not mime every step of the ceremony for the crowd. Be sure to hire a professional audio company- the beach conditions of sand and water can be dangerous for amateurs to mess with.
DON'T Determine your ceremony set-up until you know where the sun is going to be. Ideally, it won't be in your guests' eyes. If there's no way to avoid it, let people know to bring sunglasses and keep a few spare pairs on hand in case people for got.
DO Remember to use sunscreen. Even 20 or 30 minutes in the sun can be enough for fair skin to burn (let alone endure skin damage.) Use a sunscreen-inclusive moisturizer or foundation, and don't forget to use some on your lips as well. Don't start out your happy life together by exposing yourself to skin cancer.
DON'T Take pictures at the edge of the surf unless you're okay with your dress getting wet. Seriously. Check out YouTube videos of beach wedding disasters if you don't believe us.