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The I Dos (and Don’ts) of a Perfect Beach Wedding

There are so many things to love about beach weddings—the soft sand, the sound of waves crashing, the beautiful backdrop of the ocean—but this location is one that can have some unpredictable sand bumps along the way. Keep in mind these tips to ensure your beach wedding plays out like a dream.

Ocean view for a beach wedding by Shewanders photography

Shewanders; Check out the rest of Erica and Drew’s Cabo San Lucas wedding.

The Logistics

City laws. Every city will have a different set of rules and regulations to follow, so be sure to look up your city to make sure everything’s on track. You might need a permit and here in southern California, you can’t book a beach location until a month prior to the wedding!

Tide levels. It seems obvious, but that ocean backdrop does not stay in one place. Be sure to familiarize yourself with tide times so you and your guests won’t be washed out to sea.

Weather. Sadly, we can’t control it. The best plan is to have a plan A and B… and maybe C. Be cautious of any flags or cloths flying away from that pesky wind, bring some blankets for when the sun goes down, and pack an umbrella (you never know).

Wedding ceremony on the beach by Melissa Biador

Melissa Biador Photography; Take a glimpse at the rest of Whitney and Tim’s La Jolla beach wedding.

The Prep

Give yourself extra time. Sand is a whole lot harder to walk on than sidewalk, or even grass, so give yourself some more time than you think. It’s better to be set up early and wait than to frantically try to get it all together last minute.

Don’t do it alone. If you’re working with an event coordinator, they’ll most likely have a handful of people helping out. But if you are the brave soul that climbed this mountain alone, now’s the time to call in some backup. Be sure to have some helping hands to cut down on time.

Sound. Let’s face it, the beach is noisy! And as pretty as those waves are, they’re hard to tune out. Be sure to include speakers so your guests (and your partner) can here those vows!

Su and James's beach wedding elopement captured by Found Creative

Found Creative; Discover more photos from Su and James’s intimate elopement.

The Dress

Simple is better. A-line dresses are beautiful and in an ideal beach wedding, they would stay in place and only slightly catch wind for the perfect photograph. Sadly, most of the time they just blow all over, and up. Wind has a mind of its own, so avoid holding your dress down the whole ceremony, and consider a dress you won’t have to fuss with. Mermaid-style is a great substitute—and just as flattering!

Say no to heels. Don’t put yourself through the pain. There are so many flats and sandals meant for beach weddings that are just as elegant as a pair of heels, without the hassle of sinking into the sand.

Think tan lines. When choosing a dress, consider what style top will work best for an outside wedding. If your ceremony is in the afternoon, chances are you’re going to get some sun. Strapless is always a safe bet, but if you’re going with straps, consider thin or a high neck top. Regardless, don’t forget the SPF!

Lauryn and Michael walk along the beach after their wedding ceremony

Katherine Rose and Luke Griffin; View the rest of Lauryn and Michael’s  gothic beach wedding photos.

One more thing…

Did we forget to include fun? That, too. It’s easy to get caught up in the planning, organizing, and prepping—especially for a beach wedding. But at the end of the day, it’s all about you and your significant other, so soak it up!

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