Plan a Beach Wedding

How to have the seaside celebration you've been dreaming of.

Planning a beach wedding is more than grabbing your groom and hitting the dunes. You have to account for winds, waves, and salty air. We’ve gathered a few tips and ideas on how to perfect your surfside festivities.

Your Look

Your Dress: A ballgown is great, and but remember that Cinderella wasn’t Ariel. Forgo the fluffy gown and instead opt for a lighter gown in chiffon or charmeuse. This way, your dress flows in the ocean breeze and doesn’t weigh you down.

Your Veil: Yes, having a photo with your veil blowing in the wind over you and your groom would be awfully romantic, but you don’t want to spend the ceremony with your face covered in tulle. Ditch the veil and adorn your hair with fresh flowers or a fascinator.

Your Hair: An updo will look polished against the windy element of seaside nuptials. If you must have your hair down, be sure to have your stylist on hand for touching up tousled tresses.

Your Shoes: Sand and high heels just don’t mix. Choose a pair of espadrilles or wedges. If you want to go au naturel (we mean barefooted), use an aisle runner—sand on a sunny day can get hot.

Your Groom: If you’re informal, your guy should be, too, so think in black and white. Black wool has no place on white sands. Instead, have him wear a linen suit, lightweight cotton pants, or even Bermuda shorts.

Your Preparations

Keep Things Simple. You have all that beauty from Mother Nature already, so don’t fight it with overdone design. Highlight the natural beauty of the setting with appropriate themes like shells and starfish, in a color palette of sand and neutrals. For a pop, go with tropical contrasting colors in some places, like corals or sea greens.

Do Your Research: Before you get on the beach, do your homework—make sure to get the proper permit or any paperwork you might need to hold your ceremony on the beach. Look into noise ordinances, too.

Don’t Keep Your Guests in the Dark. A beach wedding shouldn’t be sprung on your guests as a surprise, since they need to plan, too. Add a quick shout-out to the affair on your save-the-date. For out-of-towners, add travel-size bottles of sunscreen to their hotel welcome baskets.

Your Celebration

Sand: No one wants sand in their shoes, so accommodate your guests with a shoe station, where they can swap their loafers and heels for flip-flops during the ceremony.

Sun: Shade is a beachgoer’s BFF, so don’t deny your guests. Create a canopy to cover the seating area. You might want to also offer a table with ice water, iced tea, or lemonade for guests to refresh as they’re waiting for your grand entrance.

Sound: Since you wrote the most amazing vows, you want people to hear you. But fighting against wind and waves is tough, so think of using a wireless microphone. You’ll also want to keep it short. The locale is gorgeous, but can be tough to endure for a long stretch.

Wind: Wind can be a wedding nightmare, so prepare for it. Weigh down ceremony programs with shells or tie them to chair. As the sun goes down, so do the temps. Have a display of pashminas and blankets for guests.

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