Beach Theme Weddings
A beach theme wedding can certainly be a lot of fun. It's
an opportunity to take advantage of the romance of the ocean
and the fun of the sandy shores. You can have a formal wedding
beachside at a cabana or at a beachside garden.
Informal weddings on a sandy beach are beautiful with a white
arch covered in flowers and ribbons. Even if you don't have
your wedding at the beach, you can use these ideas to convey
the same feeling in a landlocked locale!
Start with your invitations. A sea-shell shaped invitation
or one that shows sea scenes will set the stage early for
your beach theme. Have chairs set up for your guests, or ask
them to bring their own lawn chair or towel. If you set up
chairs, consider how you will get less mobile guests to the
seating area. Decorate your reception and ceremony sites with
sea shells and colored sand sculptures. Tiny sea shells sprinkled
on tables or placed in colorful bowls will attract attention.
Add shells, pearls, and anchors to your flower arrangements.
Have a clam bake or lobster reception -- or go all out with
Hawaiian shirts and surf shorts. If you relax, your guests
will, too! Visit tourist shops near beaches for special items
that will help set the mood. Bright plastic fish, beach towels
with summery designs, and plastic buckets with shovels may
seem silly, but all of them evoke memories of lazy days on
the beach. Place these items casually at your reception to
inspire the beach mood! Add chocolate sea shells to your wedding
cake. Use a lighthouse as a cake topper. Ask the baker to
make a beach scene on the cake rather than layers of white
For favors, pass out small bottles of sunscreen tied with
a ribbon. Fill a plastic pail with a shell, program, and shovel
so guests can enjoy the beach after the reception! Weddings
by Lisa Akers Author of "The Wedding Theme Workbook"
and "The Wedding Consultant in a Box"
Let's paint the picture -- a beautiful ocean sunset, a pristine
sand shore, you and your mate tying the knot in the midst
of one of nature's most alluring settings -- the beach. A
beach wedding is a romantic ceremony option that should be
considered as you go through the planning process. We've tried
to think of the major planning details related to a beach
wedding. Here's hoping the comments below provide you with
a starter checklist that will facilitate the beach wedding
of your dreams.
How Many People Are Attending?
Your plans begin with an early decision. Are you eloping,
inviting a small group, or having a traditional, larger wedding?
Ceremonies with fewer attendees allow greater flexibility
in location and planning. But it is still possible to plan
and execute a beach wedding with a large group.
This pertains to you and your guests. If you have a large
budget available and your guests can afford to visit an exotic
location, you should consider paying for access to a private
beach attached to a hotel or resort. Private homeowners also
rent out their property for wedding ceremonies. Some guests
might make a vacation out of the experience, so a resort-friendly
location is recommended. A tight budget requires you to get
creative. Find a public beach that is off the beaten path
so you can have as private a ceremony as possible. Be sure
not to pick a spot that is difficult to find or access. Do
not plan a wedding that will be unaffordable for most of your
guests to attend. One relative of mine enjoyed a small ceremony
in Hawaii, then returned to the mainland and held a large
reception the next weekend.
Formal Or Informal?
A beach wedding can be either formal or informal. The more
formal the ceremony, the more intricate the planning usually
is. Decide early in the process and plan accordingly.
Time of Day
Many brides dream of a beach wedding and saying "I do"
just as the sun sets in the background. Sunset is an excellent
time for the ceremony. Most beachgoers have left the sand,
so this gives you more privacy. Be sure to factor in the time
required with the photographer if you desire sunset poses.
Mornings are wonderful as well. Beaches are empty then and
the light is perfect for photography afterward. It is also
the coolest time of the day. Tides also change during the
day; it is always better to have the ceremony when the tide
is not coming in. This will cut down but not eliminate the
ocean noise and will also prevent a wet, advancing water line
from interfering with the proceedings.
You can't control them, but you must consider a few weather
related variables. Try to find a section of beach that is
shielded from the wind. This sounds difficult, but one beach
wedding I attended was so windy that many retreated inside
for shelter. Some women in attendance spent most of the reception
attempting to fix their hair. Be sure to have a backup location
that provides shelter in case of rain or other inclement weather.
Floor Or No Floor
The more formal the ceremony, the more reason to rent flooring.
At informal beach weddings, guests are often asked to gather
round in the sand, barefoot, as the wedding vows are said.
A large flooring system can be constructed at a more formal
affair to allow guests easier access to and from the beach.
If there will be many elderly or disabled guests in attendance,
be sure to consider their safety and comfort. A floor with
comfortable seating will eliminate ambulatory headaches and
chair legs that sink like they are in quicksand.
Because the powerful visuals associated with the beach and
ocean dominate the scenery, it is good advice to keep the
decorations to a minimum. Seashells and starfish are popular
adornments, as are other marine-themed items such as miniature
boats, anchors, oars, etc. An aisle way lined with indigenous
flowers is always beautiful as well. If the ceremony is performed
at sundown, consider dramatic lighting options such as torches
or elaborate candles.
If you forego the floor, chairs will sink in the sand and
can prove to be dangerous for elderly or disabled guests.
Be sure to have a plan for the chairs so guests are comfortable,
especially if the ceremony will be a lengthy process. At some
informal beach weddings, guests are asked to stand during
the ceremony. But you still must be sure to have some chairs
available if that is your choice.
Due to the abundant natural sounds at the beach, you may wish
to include a sound system, if your budget allows. This may
not be necessary if the gathering is extremely intimate. We
all remember the wedding we attended when we couldn't hear
the vows being spoken. Don't let that happen to you.
Consider portable instruments with high-pitched notes that
travel well outdoors without drowning out the natural sounds
of the ocean. Flute or violin soloists are popular, as are
a saxophone, accordion, cello, harp, or guitar. Another favorite
is the steel drum. It can provide the perfect touch to a tropical
If the ceremony is held on a hotel or resort beach, be sure
to alert all guests to the exact location of the bathrooms.
If it takes place on a remote section of sand, you must consider
renting toilets if none are nearby. Even if some facilities
are available nearby, your guests might rather use a clean
portable toilet than a filthy public restroom.
The beach setting provides exciting options for your arrival.
A water landing in a 30-foot outrigger canoe can supplant
the traditional limousine service. Some couples have arrived
via boat. Other couples have landed on the sand in a helicopter.
The last thing you want to do is obscure the natural beauty
of your surroundings by having your ceremony in a tent. However,
a tent should be kept on call if there is not a nearby facility
that can be reserved in case Mother Nature does not cooperate.
Permits And Parking
If you have the budget or connections to hold the ceremony
on private beach property, parking for your guests and permits
for the site (if required) should be part of the negotiated
fee. If you plan to hold the wedding on a public beach, be
sure to find out if permits are necessary. Pay for them if
there is any chance that local authorities will interrupt
your event in search of the proper paperwork. Finally, if
parking is not free, purchase it in advance for your guests
so they do not have to go out of pocket to park. So go ahead
and send out your message-in-a-bottle invitations. There might
be no more naturally romantic setting for your wedding ceremony
than the beautiful coastline.
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