Shells Sand and Sun – Things to Consider When Planning a Beach Wedding


Planning a beach wedding in Florida 

You’ve dreamed of it for years. You can hear the waves crashing and the seagulls calling as the sun sets over the surf while you and the love of your life say your “I Do’s”.  It all sounds beautiful and it can be……there are just a few things you will want to consider when planning a wedding on the beach.  Below I’ve listed the top 10.

1.  First you will need to inquire from the local City Hall or Township if there are any permits needed before you proceed with your plans.   At the same time you will want to ask about any restrictions; ie, alcohol, fireworks etc. You don’t want to find the local law enforcement officers showing up as uninvited guests to your wedding.

2.  Next you must consider the weather.   You always have to have a back-up plan – just in case. Putting your head in the sand and believing the weather will be perfect for your day is just silly. You are investing a lot of time, emotion and money into your big day and you don’t want it ruined because you didn’t plan for the unwanted. Contact a local tent company and talk to them about your plans and concerns. You could reserve a tent with a clear ceiling if you are getting married under the stars. You may even be able to leave the back/front flaps open if it does rain (and the wind is not blowing) so you still have the surf as your backdrop. There are ways to have a successful wedding on the beach even if the weather does not cooperate with your plans. Don’t forget to inquire about the tent company’s cancellation policy (typically it is 72 hours in advance of your event). You’ll be happy you reserved it and it will relieve a lot of stress just knowing it’s there if you need it. A tent will also protect you from a rogue seagull that may want to dive bomb your guests or even worse – drop something unexpected.

3.  You will need to determine if you want to get married on a private or a public beach. On a public beach you need to be aware that at any time there may be what we call “looky loos” that stop and watch your wedding and unfortunately at times end up in your wedding photos – yes, it could be the perfect shot of you and your spouse kissing to seal the deal and someone’s Uncle Bob is watching in his speedo and  ends up in your picture– just something to think about.

4.  You will also need to consider your guests and their ability to walk on the sand. Do any guests have mobility impairments. For example; it’s  difficult to push a wheelchair in the sand and some guests will have difficulty just walking in sand. A gracious bride will be aware of their guest’s needs.

5. Are restrooms close by? If not, you may want to look into renting facilities for your guests. Before you put your nose up at the thought you need to check out some of the Port-a-let companies or ask your wedding planner who to recommend. They have come a long way -some have granite counters, chandeliers etc.   Research a company in your area that can accommodate your event.

6.  You must also consider the time of your ceremony. If you want to get married at sunrise or sunset because of the lighting keep in mind that you will be taking pictures for 45 minutes to an hour after you say “I Do”. Work with your photographer to determine the best time for the ceremony to ensure you have the time and lighting needed afterwards to capture the photographs you want. You will also want to check the tide tables. You certainly don’t want to get everything set up only for it to be washed away by the surf.

7.  If money is a concern select a date in the off-season. Most beaches “prime time” is between Memorial Day and Labor Day. You could end up saving a lot of money if you select a date before or after those major holidays.

8.  Consider what you will wear.   You will want to take into consideration the average temperature of the date you selected. For example – would you want to have a long train dragging in the sand as you walk down the aisle. How will you fiancé tolerate a suit etc. Foot ware should be a consideration also. Some brides/grooms get married in bare feet. There are also a lot of “shoeless” foot ware options that are quite popular as viable alternatives. Maybe you’ll want to consider providing a basket of flip flops for your guests to swap out their foot ware.

9.  Consider the time of year – is it prone to green flies, “no see ums” or other creatures that may find your guests as a welcome treat. Keeping baskets of repellent may be helpful. Don’t forget to check for those unwanted sand fleas too.

10.  Consider hiring a local wedding planner. Let them worry about all these details while you relax and enjoy the wedding planning process.

I know this is a lot to consider but keep this in mind: if at the end of the day you have married the love of your life then everything went just perfectly.




About Author

Cindy Vallely is the Principal Coordinator and Creative Director of "I Do"... Weddings by Cindy. She has been planning weddings in Northeast Florida for over 10 years.

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