How to Plan the Ultimate Beach Wedding

As an event and wedding planner, you will not only create an experience, but you will create a sacred and priceless moment a couple will remember for years to come.  Increase your client’s chances of having their dream becoming a reality and exceed their expectations by following these action steps in planning the ultimate beach wedding.

  1. Making Beach Reservations.

Once you meet with your clients, make sure you provide them with several options. You can get clarity on what to do next by asking them a few important questions.

For example – will they be using a private or public beach? What’s the best time of year to have a beach wedding in their desired location, so you will have ample time to reserve it? Also, keep in mind beaches tend to be over-crowded during peak seasons.  Although beaches are open to the public it’s very important to find the proper procedures to ensure your client’s will have enough space designated for their special day.

When reserving the wedding date, be sure to inquire about permits and make yourself aware of any ordinances if using a public beach. The couple may want to have the reception on the beach as well and serve cocktails.  In some cities, alcohol is prohibited.

If their using a private beach, be sure to familiarize yourself with the private owner’s policies as well. After you have reserved the date, be sure to secure a wedding officiant, photographer, videographer, and all necessary key players to make this day a success.

  1. Invitations

The beach wedding you’re planning may very well be the first beach wedding someone on your client’s guest list has attended.  Be sure the invitations encourage the proper attire.

Beach weddings are less formal, so you do not want the guest to be uncomfortable sitting in the sun in black tie attire. However, you don’t want them to show up in a bikini either.  So a gentle reminder concerning the proper dress code should be printed on the invitations.

Also, when sending out invitations, a helpful hint for managing RSVP’s is to number each guest on the guest list and put the corresponding numbers on the RSVP cards.  This way if someone returns a RSVP card with illegible handwriting, you will know who the card belongs to.

  1. Restrooms

When considering a beach location, you may want to check for adequate restroom facilities.  If none exist, you will have to rent portable restrooms. Be sure to consult with the portable toilet rental company to determine how many toilets per guest will be needed.

  1. Electrical Access

For couples who are having their reception on the beach, you will need electrical access for lighting and a sound system.  If none exist, consider using a portable generator. You will also want to do a test run with the generator and the sound system before the wedding. This way if you need any extra cords or jacks, you will have adequate time to prepare.

If the beach does have electrical access, you will need to know how far the outlets are from the area needed for the use of electricity.  Be sure to bring power cords.

  1. Signage

Never underestimate the use of signs.  They’re a great way to communicate instructions to the wedding guest. You will need signage to direct guest from the parking lot to the ceremony.  You can also use signage to designate a shoe area for those who may want to walk barefoot through the sand.

  1. Tents/Canopy

Some weddings are planned a year in advance, and it’s impossible to forecast the weather that far in advance.  Do not wait until the day before the wedding to rent a tent in order to satisfy your “plan B”.   Besides, a tent may not be available on such short notice.  It’s best to rent the tent in advance.  It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. However, if the weather turns out to be great, the tent can then be utilized to display the food during the reception.

  1. Seating

After the guest count has been determined, coordinate with your local event rental company to rent chairs for the guest. Communicate with the rental company to see if chair set up is a part of the service they provide, if not prepare to hire extra staff.

  1. Food

A convenient option for a beach reception is to hire a food truck to do the catering. Over the years, food trucks have increased in popularity and it takes away the worry how you would keep the food at a safe temperature due to not having access to refrigeration or heat on the beach.  The food truck takes care of everything!

  1. Guest Accommodations

The wedding guests may not remember the details of the wedding invitation, the color of the flowers in the wedding bouquet, or the poem that was read during the ceremony, but they will remember how they felt at the wedding.

The measure of a successful event is how comfortable the guest were. Make sure you have plenty of bottled water for your guest, as beach weddings are synonymous with summer heat.  Help everyone keep cool by using a card stock to create the wedding programs and by adding a Popsicle stick to the back. The programs now double as a fan. Purchase items like sunscreen, inexpensive sunglasses and bug spray to ensure guest are comfortable.

  1. Design

Sometimes the best part of planning a wedding is creating a design that’s magazine worthy!  The great thing about beach weddings is most of the décor has already been provided by Mother Nature.

For beach weddings less is more.  A simple altar focal point and flowers will do.  Be sure to use flowers not prone to wilting fast in the summer’s heat.  Tropical flowers, or silk flowers are a wise choice.

If your clients choose candles for a sunset ceremony, a great idea would be to incorporate citronella candles into the wedding design.  This duel use, can be utilized as a bug repellent and soft lighting.

Also, Tiki torches may be used to define the wedding area and send an unspoken message to outsiders the area has been reserved for private use.  If you’re going to use covers for the guest chairs, be sure to have extra help on board to assist with covering the chairs and adding the chair sashes.

  1. Bride and Bridal Party

Photos are one of the most important elements of a wedding. However, with a beach wedding the weather can be unpredictable.  To ensure the bride will not have to wrestle with the wind and her wedding veil, make sure she has veil weights attached to her veil.  Veil weights will eliminate frustration from the bride and the photographer.

Make sure you have an emergency kit available. Be sure to stock it with extra bottles of water, club soda, peroxide, Band-Aids, aspirin, mints, gum, clear nail polish, tape, needle, thread, safety pins, bobby pins, a flashlight, duct tape (in the event you have a mouthy wedding guest.  Just kidding) and anything else you think will be needed in the case of a bridal emergency.

  1. Planner Self-care

Arrive at the beach early to connect with nature, and get your toes wet.  The joyful disposition of the planner often transfers to those who attend the event.  If you’re relaxed, the bride and bridal party will pick up on your vibe and they will relax.  You have the capability to set the tone for your client’s big day.  The best way to pull off a successful event is to enjoy and be present in the moment.

Planning the ultimate beach wedding may sound overwhelming.  Dealing with the outside elements can be scary because you have less control over things that occur outdoors. However, when you give the proper attention to the details and to the things that really matters to the bride and groom, you would have definitely planned the ultimate wedding.

4 Comments

  • Kristen - Bright Lights Planning

    Reply Reply February 6, 2017

    Thank you. Very comprehensive write up!

  • Jeff Soto

    Reply Reply February 6, 2017

    I just secured a client who wants a destination beach wedding in Hawaii and I’m in the early stages of planning it. I’m going to use these steps to do the rest of it! Perfect timing.

  • Shavon

    Reply Reply February 7, 2017

    I enjoyed the article. I guess I’m on the right track because my thoughts about how to prepare were right on target. I’m excited about starting my journey. Will be more excited when I start getting clients.

  • Francisca

    Reply Reply February 7, 2017

    Awesome writeup.

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