Tips for planning an awesome beach wedding

You’ve chosen a date, decided on Save the Date cards, and whimsical beach wedding invitations. Now, you’re faced with ironing out a lot of details for your beach wedding. We have combed the net for the best possible advice from wedding planning professionals for a <img src="bw 1.jpg" alt="Beach Wedding" />seaside wedding event to help you stay worry-free while getting ready to step out into the world with the love of your life.

Re-think the big dress. Ball gowns belong in a ballroom. While you could possibly pull off a super traditional dress with a long train, walking at the water’s edge and getting those really great photos will be a challenge. The Green Guide offers some great inspiration in non-traditional options for beachy, tropical wedding garb. Take a look at that here.

Lighten up. Fussy dresses with lots of lace are difficult because they will collect debris off of the surface of the sand. Go with the flow and choose a lovely, breezy fabric like charmeuse or chiffon. You can find some lovely options here and here.

Veil concerns. A long veil can be a terror for you and for your photographer, especially if the winds are up the day of your event. Fresh flowers in a polished up-do will keep you looking stellar throughout your event.

Shoes. Sand and high heels aren’t a great blend. Flat-<img src="bw 6.jpg" alt="Beach Wedding" />sole sandals, espadrilles or wedges are a much better choice. It’s also a good idea to have your gown hemmed with the shoes that you ultimately choose. If you’re thinking about going barefoot remember that sand can get pretty hot. An aisle runner made of fabric will keep your feet cool.

Tan lines. Be mindful of sunburn and unwanted tan lines. This should also be a concern for the other members of the wedding party, not just the bride. Bathing suits can be planned and a good waterproof sunscreen used in the days preceding the event, particularly when swimming.

Informal options. Lots of brides have visions of the love of their life in an elegant tux. However, dark and/or woolen is not the greatest choice for tropical destinations. Let the male members of the wedding party, and even the groom, go with lightweight cotton pants, seersucker or even Bermuda shorts. All of these are great options for a beach wedding. Kate at Weddingomania brings us some fantastic images to inspire when looking for beachy alternatives to the tuxedo.

Keep it natural. A gorgeous ocean backdrop for your beach wedding event doesn’t require a l<img src="bw 10.jpg" alt="Beach Wedding" />ot of dressing up. Highlight the natural beauty of the setting by looking to the colors of nature in the sand, the grasses, the stones and water. Decor should be kept simple. Avoid fussy flowers.

Add a little color. To make your setup really pop, choose highlight colors that contrast the sand and the surf rather than blend in; perhaps something in green, orchid or some other vibrant tones. Bridal Guide Online offers an array of images – from seashell bouquets to tropical centerpieces – to help you with ideas regarding color and décor.

Think local. Beach wedding experts recommend hiring local vendors as much as possible. When considering the menu, seek out caterers who are thoughtful local markets and respectful of the beach environment.

Paperwork. Research the paperwork required to hold your ceremony on the beach, especially if it’s public. Be sure to research in advance any noise ordinances, and be sure to follow them.

Privacy. Of course, beaches are crowded on holiday weekends, so avoid them unless you want the general public attending your beach wedding. And remember, not all beaches are private. Hawaii’s beaches are all public. In Hawaii, beach wedding cannot include canopies, chairs or aisle runners. If you want decor, we suggest renting a venue at a beach resort where you can have a secluded ceremony and still take photos on the beach.

Prepare your guests. Make sure your guests kno<img src="bw 16.jpg" alt="Beach Wedding" />w your event will take place on the sand. Be sure to describe your event plans on your invitation or wedding website, and prepare your guests for the sun by including necessary items in the welcome bags. Travel-size bottles of good quality sunscreen, bottled water, towels and hand fans to beat the heat are all great choices. Stephanie at Wedding Party offers great tips and ideas for putting together welcome bags for your guests, not just for a beach wedding, but any destination wedding. Beau-coup also presents a ton of welcome bag elements here.

Time it right. When dealing with beach wedding photos, lighting is especially important. Beach wedding professionals suggest ending the ceremony an hour before sunset. That way, you’ll still get great action shots in natural lighting, as well as gorgeous sunset portraits.

Set up a shoe station. Don’t let your guests spend an uncomfortable day with sand-filled shoes. Provide a shoe check, where guests can swap their shoes for flip-flops and wipe sand off their feet. It could include benches, towels and a bucket of water.

Provide shade. Shade is a friend to your guests. Consider a canopy for the seating area. Bamboo poles draped with thin white fabric for a lovely canopy effect.

Offer Refreshments. To keep your guests refreshed and hydrated, set up a table with ice w<img src="bw 16.jpg" alt="Beach Wedding" />ater and lemonade that guests can enjoy while waiting for the ceremony to start.

Have a seat. Wooden benches or folding chairs are great choices because they’re heavy enough to withstand the ocean breeze.

Prepare for wind. When you are at the beach, anything that can blow away will. If you’re using petals on your aisle, don’t toss them until the absolute last moment, right before your guests arrive.

Speak up. You’ve spent so much time writing your vows and personalizing the ceremony, so be sure your audio doesn’t get lost against the sound of crashing waves. Rent a wireless microphone and speaker for your officiant to use. Inquire if your officiant, resort or DJ can provide this equipment, and do a sound check prior to the ceremony to ensure there’s no unwanted feedback.

Keep it short. Given factors like heat and audibility, limit the amount of readings and performances during the ceremony — and make sure all participants know to speak clearly and loudly.

Anchor decor. Wind can topple tall floral arrangements, blow out candles and send other table elements flying. Stay away from glass vases, which can easily break in the sand. For lighting, use hurricane-style lanterns or LED candles, which are flameless and long-lasting. When wind-proofing place cards and favors, a little creativity can go a long way. Smart brides can find all kinds of nautical themed décor here at Kate Aspen. If you are using a wedding planner local to your venue, you can certainly share this great information with him or her to make sure that your day is the most magical event ever!

Keep warm. To help you and your guests fight an ocean wind chill, arrange a basket of comfy, color-coordinated pashminas to warm ladies’ shoulders.

Invitations by R Squared loves love and we love beach weddings. Be sure to check out our fabulous beach themed Save the Date cards, whimsical wedding invitations and keepsake programs, all especially created to enhance your beautiful beach wedding.