While not a completely exhaustive list, we hope it will help brides and grooms who are looking at having a beach wedding ceremony. These aren’t in any particular order so depending on the time of year, some may be more prevalent for your ceremony than others.
– Although a beach ceremony along the gulf may seem soothing and relaxing, you may overlook the fact that the waters could be rough when you’re trying to have an intimate moment with your family on your wedding day and drown out what is being said. Reserving a battery powered sound system for your ceremony will ensure everyone can hear clearly – from the front row all the way to back row. This is also a good idea if you have a musician playing music for your music because they can plug in and it will allow them to be amplified as well.
– Your ceremony may be on the beach but your reception is typically going to be in a place where shoes are required. Having done hundreds of wedding ceremonies on the beach, let us tell you wearing shoes on the beach is really an uncomfortable experience. Two options – have a baskets where shoes can be placed for the ceremony. If you want to take it a step further, have a separate basket filled with sandals for your guests to wear for the ceremony. These can also double as gifts for your guests.
– Another important thing to think about is the sun. You are on the beach so the sun can make it unbearable for your guests, especially if the attire is formal. Think about also having some sunglasses for your guests. Out here on the Emerald Coast, the sand is like sugar, so the reflection can be pretty intense.
– Believe it or not, we do a lot of beach ceremonies in the middle of summer. The humidity can be ruthless. A great way to help with this is have some hand fans. We’ve even see fans that double as programs. Wanna take it to the next level? Have buckets of ice with bottled waters in it. Your guests will have their thirst quenched as well as stay nice and cool.
–If you have a ceremony on a beach that isn’t private or your hotel/resort doesn’t have security, there is potential for random people who may not only disrupt the ceremony but they could end up in your pictures. The last thing you want is some guy with his fluorescent orange speedo wading in the gulf waters right in front of where you are saying your vows. Make some signs that say “Wedding Ceremony Here” and get to the beach really early and set them up. Make a decent size area that clearly marks your location. Being in the South, that southern hospitality will usually shine through and they will be respectful of this event. To take extra precaution, you could have some of your friends act as your “security”. By having them stand near the ends of the ceremony area, they can ask people not to walk through the ceremony for the 15-20 minutes that it is happening.
– Having a theme for your wedding is great! Going overboard, however, can make your event look tacky especially if you are DIY’ing it. You are at the beach so just do some light decorating. Maybe have a motif that repeats in surprising ways, like having anchors at your ceremony site and on your reception table cloths. Be creative and try and see what little splashes of beach will be fun.
– Thought no one wants to think it will happen on their day, sometimes the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. Having a weather contingency plan is essential. Reserve a tent as a back-up or keep a list of a few different indoor venues if you need to move everything to a completely new location. The rain and/or wind can change your vision for your day and leave you scrambling if you aren’t ahead of it. Keep an eye on the weather report a few days before and make the final call the “morning of”. The weather is so fickle here in Florida that it can change on a dime.
– This is often overlooked because people think to themselves, “The ceremony is only going to be 15 minutes”. If you have anywhere between 20-100 guests, plan on at least 15-20 minutes’ worth of guests seating. Add in the 15-20 minute ceremony time and now you’re looking at almost an hour and that’s if there are no delays. If it is a hot day, standing in the sand without shoes can add to the discomfort. Don’t forget about the pictures! Having guests seated make for better pictures and gives your photographer the ability to get better pictures rather than having to dodge around guests to take shots. You can get with a rental company (shameless plug) and gets these chairs for a very reasonable price – most (like us) will even handle all set-up and tear-down, not just delivery.
– Having a beautiful beach nook may be great for pictures but if you and your guest have to walk a significant distance in order to get there, chances are everyone will be exhausted before the fun begins. Being in the panhandle, there is no shortage of spectacular beach locations. Hire a wedding planner (even if just for the ceremony). They can recommend a ton of locations that will fit you ideal spot.
– People are messy and unfortunately, many will leave trash on the beach. Not only is this unsightly but it can also be dangerous. Stepping on a piece of glass while walking down the aisle can turn your dream day into a nightmare. On the day of, have your friends go out and ensure your area is nice and clean. Really check to make sure there isn’t any glass or needles hidden beneath the sand. A couple of push broom and a keen eye will save the day.
Pictures provided by Pinterest.