What Are the Best Tips for Holding Beach-Themed Weddings?

Christina Edwards

Performing a wedding ceremony on a beach may require special permission, so it is important to check the local laws before planning a beach wedding. The comfort and safety of the wedding party and guests should also be kept in mind when planning beach-themed weddings. An alternative venue should be considered, in case of inclement weather, for example, and shade should be provided to protect the wedding party and guests from the sun. Casual dress and food can also help your guests feel more comfortable at a beach wedding.

Beach weddings in public areas usually require a permit.
Beach weddings in public areas usually require a permit.

Beach-themed weddings are often simple events to pull off. Most of the time, small beach weddings simply require the wedding party and guests to show up. Some areas, however, may require a couple to obtain a permit. This is especially true for large weddings.

Bridal bouquets for a beach-themed wedding should be able to withstand moderate winds.
Bridal bouquets for a beach-themed wedding should be able to withstand moderate winds.

When inquiring about permits for beach-themed weddings, wedding planners should also double check the rules and regulations of the beaches. For example, some beaches do not allow visitors to build fires or make excessive noise. If the wedding is planned for late in the day, the wedding planner should also find out how late the wedding party is allowed to stay.

Grooms may wear a boutonniere on their wedding day.
Grooms may wear a boutonniere on their wedding day.

Weather has a tendency to change quickly on beaches. Planning for an alternate location is usually advisable. This can come in handy if a sunny day quickly turns rainy.

Wind may also be a problem during beach-themed weddings. Holding the wedding ceremony in a sheltered rocky cove, however, can result in less wind. One should also check to see whether the wedding will be during a high tide or a low tide to avoid wet feet during the ceremony.

The hot sun can be one of the most dangerous elements of a beach-themed wedding. Sunburn and sun stroke are two of the most common problems associated with too much sun exposure. Although many guests will bring their own, sunscreen should be made readily available at a beach wedding. Large umbrellas should also be placed on the beach for shade.

While beach-themed weddings can be formal affairs, semi-formal or casual beach weddings are usually recommended. Guests will typically be more comfortable outdoors in the sand and surf wearing casual attire as opposed to formal attire. They will also not have to worry about ruining expensive dress clothes while on the beach.

Simple wedding food can also make a beach-themed wedding less expensive and less stressful. Instead of hiring caterers, a beach barbeque could be served. Clam bakes and pig roasts are also popular beach wedding ideas.

Barbecuing may be part of a beach-themed wedding.
Barbecuing may be part of a beach-themed wedding.

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Discussion Comments


@umbra21 - I think it's a great idea to have the ceremony and pictures at a somewhat secluded beach and the reception elsewhere.

You don't have to go entirely away from the beach for the reception either, but there will be lots of people around most beach areas that have restaurants or other venues suitable for a reception.

One of my friends got married on the beach. It was, in fact the same beach where her husband proposed to her. The most difficult thing for the guests was finding the place! Because it was quite far out of the way, and then we all just returned to town and had a small reception at her parent's restaurant.

It was really fun, and I think it managed to capture the spirit of the occasion, without becoming too annoying, what with sand and wind and so forth.


@umbra21 - It might have just been that they were keen to get back to the reception. I think in lots of places you don't need a permit at all in order to have a wedding on a beach.

And it's not likely the celebrant would have been willing to marry them covertly like that.

On the other hand, it seems like anyone can become a celebrant these days, so who knows?

It sounds like a nice diversion for you while you were having a beach day though! I love outdoor weddings. I've seen them at parks as well, but I think if you can tolerate the sand getting into everything, a beach wedding is definitely the most romantic kind!


I was at the beach with my sister and her family a few months ago and a couple and their loved ones had a beach wedding right there beside us.

It was absolutely lovely too. Everyone wore flip flops or went barefoot and they had the hills and the ocean waters as a backdrop. They must have planned to have the reception elsewhere, because it was very quick. They gathered, said their vows, took a few photos with the wedding party, and then left.

In fact, it was so quick, I wonder if they were supposed to get a permit but didn't? I'm not sure.

They had fun with the photos though. The groom carried his bride through the waves, and they made little sand castles and all kinds of things.

It definitely made me think a beach wedding looks like fun!

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