beach wedding ceremony

How to Have a Great Beach Wedding

Sarah Destination Wedding, Make it Posh, Weddings 1 Comment

Beach weddings are everything we want them to be – dramatic, beautiful, romantic. When planning a beach wedding, however, you may encounter elements that make it seem more complicated than the average wedding. These include special rules and guidelines for using public beaches, uncontrollable weather situations, and the challenges of holding any ceremony outdoors, not to mention in the sand. Good news though! We know the pros and cons of beach weddings and are sharing some of our best beach wedding advice today.

flower girl beach wedding

Rules, Rules, Rules

There is nothing that dampens the fun of planning your wedding more than hearing the word “rules”. If you are holding your beach wedding at a full service resort or a facility that has private beach access, the following may not apply. If you’re exchanging “I Dos” on a public beach, though, you will have to comply with local regulations for hosting events in a public space.

Some regulations aren’t so bad. You might need a permit, or to inform someone in advance that you plan to hold an event. In many cases, you can secure a permit to use a beach, but very technically, the beach is still considered “public-access” so it’s possible you won’t have complete privacy (but you may get your own paparazzi!).

When beach access is granted, one of the common nuisances is that you have every legal right to use the space, but are not allowed to “stake it out” and keep an area private until just hours before your wedding. Fixing this may involve your family – or your paid wedding event staff – going early in the morning of the wedding day and occupying the area you want with chairs, blankets, umbrellas – whatever is necessary to signal to others that you’re planning to hold your wedding there.

Another good note – generally, alcohol consumption, or at least the serving by a bartender, is not permitted on public beaches, so you need to plan your cocktail service for an appropriate, and legal, site.

Do check your local regulations and make sure you have done everything you need to in order to hold your private wedding on a public beach. It’s worth a lot of extra research in the beginning to have a flawless wedding in the end. Note that the services of a professional wedding planner are particularly helpful when it comes to beach weddings.

beach wedding bride and groom


Is it too much to ask to control the weather for just ONE day? Well, yes, it kind of is. The next best thing is to plan ahead. You need a rain plan. Did I say that firmly enough? You NEED one. It’s not just nice to have, it will save you days of absolute agony as you watch the 10-day, then the 7-day, then the weekend forecasts and your friendly local weatherman seems to have it out for you.

Your rain plan might be as simple as getting married on the dance floor of your reception venue (make sure that the times are approved so you don’t just surprise them two hours early!). You might rent an inexpensive alternate venue. You can sometimes order a tent, or you may just give everyone umbrellas and get as close to the crashing waves as you safely can. Whatever you choose, just do choose something. As sure as you decide it’s just NOT going to rain on your wedding day, the heavens will open and record-breaking thunderstorms will do their best to send you all out to sea. It’s just not worth the stress – make a plan.
beach wedding reception

The Fun of an Outdoor Wedding

A beach wedding is by its very nature part of a class of weddings that happen outdoors – in other words, at the whim of nature. If you plan to include a unity candle in your ceremony, you need to consider enclosing it in a hurricane glass, or accepting that the flame will only last until the first hefty breeze.

If you’re getting married in the south in the summer, you’re going to be invaded by mosquitoes and other itty-bitty biting critters. Prepare yourself and have an insect repellant on hand (for everyone, not just you!).

This one is always fun…the sun is awfully predictable. Pay attention in the days before the wedding and don’t place yourselves in the direct, unyielding sun. Be considerate to your guests, too.

And for brides, female wedding party, and female guests, it is very much worth noting that sand and high heels really, truly don’t mix. Plan for it.

There is so much more that goes in to planning a beach wedding. Consult your professional vendors for their experience and best advice. They are on the front lines week after week and know what works, and what is a recipe for disaster. Do your research, make extra detailed plans, and plan to relax on your perfect beach wedding day. You deserve it!

If you had a beach wedding we’d love to see it!  Send us the details!!

Comments 1

  1. Sarah, it makes sense to consider the weather when planning for an outdoor beach wedding. My fiance and I have always wanted to get married on a beach. I wonder if there are any venues that could specialize in such weddings.

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