5 Tips for Hosting a Sensational Wedding at the Beach

Have you ever thought of having a destination wedding at the beach? Whether it’s your “second time around,” you’re renewing your wedding vows, or your son or daughter wants to get married on the beach, a waterfront wedding can be so romantic! However, what sounds like a carefree and easy option calls for attention to key details. They can make the difference between a sensational wedding at the beach and a sandy disaster.

Make sure you consider these 5 important tips to host the beautiful beach wedding of your dreams.

wedding at the beach, bride and groom hold hands
A romantic beach wedding.

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Why Host a Wedding at the Beach?

Before diving into what makes a perfect beach wedding reception, let’s consider why hosting your wedding at the beach is such a great idea:

  1. Weddings on the beach are usually more casual and simple, which eliminates a lot of the stress that comes with planning a traditional wedding.
  2. Without big venue fees and costly decor, a wedding at the beach can be a more affordable wedding option. Plus, it’s suited to more simple attire, so skip the tux and the heels! (Beach wedding attire for men can be casual, too!)
  3. The natural beauty of the beach, the ocean, the sound of the waves, and perhaps even a well-timed sunset is infinitely more beautiful than any man-made venue. (Not to mention, it’s so romantic!)
  4. You’ll have outstanding photo opportunities, especially if you time photos around the sunset or what’s known as “the golden hour” when everything is aglow.
  5. It’s a uniquely memorable and more enjoyable event for you and your guests to spend your special day celebrating at the beach.
  6. Depending on where your destination wedding is, you’ll have no need to fly off after the ceremony for the honeymoon. And, if you are at one of the beach wedding resorts, you and your guests can retire in luxury without a long drive home.
  7. It’s a great excuse for you and your guests to escape to a warm weather destination in the winter.

Most Popular Places for A Beach Wedding

Depending on where you’re located in the world, you could have a destination beach wedding that’s a short road trip away, or opt to have your beach wedding in the Bahamas at one of these dreamy Caribbean islands. Really, you could plan a wedding for any coastal destination, near or far.

Here are some popular places for beach wedding venues in the United States and elsewhere.

Best Beach Wedding Destinations in the US

Some of the most popular places in the US for a beach wedding include:

  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts (RELATED: If you have a Cape Cod beach wedding, be sure to consider these romantic Cape Cod B&Bs.)
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Florida Keys
  • Half Moon Bay, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • Oahu, Hawaii
  • Orange County, California
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina
  • The Jersey Shore

Top Beach Wedding Destinations – International

Outside the US, you might consider these beautiful beach wedding destinations:

Once you’ve settled on the idea of a beach wedding and you’ve chosen the wedding destination, you’ll want to follow these key tips for the best possible experience.

1. Casual Wedding Attire: Go with the Flow

With a beach themed wedding, you’ll want to choose a wedding dress that fits the scene.

For a luxury beach wedding, think of airy and light fabrics, a flowing design and delicate, sea-foam-like details. 

But remember, beach wedding dresses don’t need to be fancy. For a more casual and understated look, you could simply wear a cream-colored cotton dress.

You might forego a formal veil altogether for a beach wedding, or opt for other beach wedding headpieces, like a beach hat, a flower headband, or jeweled starfish hair clip.

Likewise, you’ll want to make sure your wedding shoes are appropriate for walking on sand—so, stiletto heels are a big no-no! 

Here are some wedding footwear ideas that are more fitting to the occasion:

For the finishing touches on your beach wedding style, you’ll want to add some beach-inspired jewelry.

This is a good opportunity to consider “something blue” by incorporating blue topaz wedding jewelry into your wedding attire. Whether for the bride herself or the whole wedding party, this gem’s stunning blue color will tie the sea-vibes into your entire wedding look.

2. Make Sure Your Guests Can Access The Venue

Just because you can access the beach easily, not all of your guests may be able to do the same.

If you have guests with small children still in strollers or someone who uses any mobility aid, make sure you consult them first before you move on with your plans, especially if they are close family members.

You might want to rent beach matting to make navigation easier, or even rent a beach wheelchair for them. If you are hosting the wedding at a resort, consult their experienced wedding planners for their suggestions, as well.

Finally, consider including an ADA Compliant and Wheelchair accessible restroom. Some of these luxury portable restrooms for weddings and events are surprisingly chic!

The last thing you want on your wedding day are any guests who don’t feel included because you’ve overlooked their needs. So, make sure all of your guests can easily access the area and you can share that magical moment together.

3. Pay Special Attention to Sound Quality and Equipment

When getting married on the beach, you’ll want to take into consideration just how loud the sound of waves can get. This might mean you’ll have a barely noticeable wedding song and inaudible wedding vows. Ugh!

So, you should make sure you hire high-quality outdoor sound equipment. 

When looking for proper sound equipment, be sure to mention that it’s for getting married at the beach. That way, the professionals will know which type of equipment you need and how to set it up for the best results.

It also makes good sense for the bride and groom to exchange vows using a microphone so guests hear those magical wedding moments. If this makes you uncomfortable, you’ll want to practice speaking into a microphone so you’ve got it mastered before the big day.

4. Weatherproof Your Wedding

wedding arch of greens and white flowers overlooking the water
Make sure your wedding décor won’t fly away!

While your wedding will take place with a gorgeous seaside backdrop, you’ll want to think about other décor and how it might be affected by the elements. Even a small beach wedding might have one or more of the following:

  • Guest Seating
  • An “Aisle” or Temporary Flooring
  • A Beach Wedding Arch
  • A Beach Wedding Alter
  • A Dining Area
  • Tents
  • Beach Wedding Lanterns, Candles, and Other Lighting
  • A Sound Sysem
  • Signs, Place Cards, and Wedding Favors
  • A Bar and Cake Table

Don’t Get Wind-Swept

Since beaches can get windy without much notice, the best course of action is to go with a wind-proof décor. 

What this means is you’ll want to ensure that any structures, accessories, or décor for your wedding is secure and sturdy. Every piece of décor needs to be properly fixed and tightened in place, weighted, or taped down.

Otherwise, you risk having all of your décor flying around with the first gust of wind. It will be “Gone With The Wind” in the most negative sense…Who want’s a flyaway wedding?

In Case of Rain

They say it’s good luck if it rains on your wedding day. What it really means if you’re getting married at the beach is that you need a Plan B.

That may mean renting a giant tent “just in case.” Or, it may mean you supply umbrellas for wedding guests and have a bride and groom umbrella set tyou can use, rain or shine. (They’re also a great option for sun protection.)

In any case, you’ll want to make sure the wedding nuptials can go on and any equipment and décor is protected, should it rain.

Unwelcome Pests and Guests

While this topic really isn’t about weather-proofing, bugs and birds in the environment can present a problem at any outdoor wedding. The last thing you want are bees buzzing the champagne glasses or a seagull making off with your bacon-wrapped scallops.

For these unwelcome pests, you’ll want to consider the following ideas:

  • Make sure all food and drink is covered.
  • Strategically place bee traps around the wedding site.
  • Light citronella candles at dusk.
  • Make bug spray or wipes available to guests.
  • Have an Epi-pen for anyone allergic to bee stings.

For uninvited guests who share the public beach space, you might tape off the area with organza and ribbons to keep them at a reasonable distance. Or, place pots with tall, tropical plants around the perimeter to deter excessive ogling for a more private beach wedding.

But then, don’t worry too much about this. Everyone loves to see the bride and groom, don’t they?

5. Protect Your Guests from the Elements

grass tents cover dining tables for a wedding at the beach
You’ll want to provide a space where guests can get in out of the heat and sun.

Aside from ensuring that everyone can hear you, that all of your guests can access the area, and that your décor doesn’t suddenly start flying around, you also need to offer your guests some protection from the elements. 

This is especially important if you have small children or elderly guests at your beach wedding and reception.

Ideally, this protection should come in the form of a shaded area.

Yes, spending time in the sun is great but you don’t your guests overheating, getting sunburns, or worse, heat stroke.

So, once you’re done with the beach wedding ceremony, see that the entire wedding party can move to a shaded area where all of you can relax and shield yourself from the immediate sun exposure, while still being able to enjoy the fresh air. 

For children, be sure to have a covered play area with–you guessed it: shovels and pails!

You might also make sun-screen lotion or sun-screen wipes available to your guests.

And, how about some protective but fun beach wedding favors, like white sun glasses or these personalized beach themed water bottles? (You’ll need plenty of water, folks.)

If you’ll have dinner on the beach, of course you’ll want to provide comfortable seating in the shade. And don’t forget to shade the dance area for the first dance and fun times.

Most importantly, be sure to understand how the sun and shade areas change over the day. What’s shady in the morning might actually be in full, blistering sun at 4PM.

Remember that the hottest parts of the day are between 10AM and 2PM, so if possible, schedule your beach wedding and reception outside those times. You might even entertain a sunrise beach wedding or an evening beach wedding.

Final Thoughts on Hosting A Wedding at The Beach

Now that you know the most important things to keep in mind for getting married at the beach, it’s more likely your specal day will go smoothly. And, even if a few things don’t go as planned, you can bet it will be remembered as one of the most incredible beach weddings, nonetheless.

Have you thought of hosting a beach wedding, whether for you or someone you love? Which of these key points do you see as the most important? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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This article is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. For more information, please see the following Disclosure.

Photo credits – Bride and groom: Engin Akyurt, Wedding arch: Quang Nguyen vinh, Dining under grass tents: StockSnap; all via Pixabay

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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