I have my final beach wedding of the season this weekend (please send us good weather vibes!!).  If you’re planning your beach wedding for next spring or summer, here are some great tips that I’ve culled from my beach weddings this year!

Jess & Kenny exit their ceremony, at Seven Presidents Beach, Long Branch, NJ

Jess & Kenny exit their ceremony, at Seven President's Beach, Long Branch, NJ

Amplification is a must! There is something about the sand / water / wave crashing combo that just SUCKS sound.  Even if it costs a little bit extra to have your DJ set up a separate sound system – it is worth it so your guests can hear every word of the ceremony.  I recently purchased a new sound system, specifically because my portable system was not going to cut it for a beach wedding.  Check with your venue to see if there is power at the beach as well, to let your DJ / band / musicians / officiant know what kind of plugs / power they need to bring.

It’s windy! Veils will blow around, and so will your hair.  It’s a good idea to tie rings securely to any ring pillows (if they’re not safely in the honor attendant’s pockets).  If you have a structure or altar with a cloth, make sure everything is attached securely.

Let your guests know it’ll be on the beach! They may want to bring a pair of flip flops or go barefoot for the ceremony, but bring a nice pair of heels for dancing later.  It also helps any older or disabled guests know they may need to allocate extra time to make it down to the water.

Dyana & Vinnie's vow renewal - very windy, fabulous weather!

Have a rehearsal AT the space AT the same time as the ceremony! This is helpful to get an accurate feel for the space, as the sun will be in the right space AND the tide will be about the same.  You can know for sure how long the “aisle” is going to be, and where the bridal party will be entering.

Bring the location into the ceremony! Including a mention of why the beach is so special to you and your fiance or a poem about the beach into the ceremony is a lovely way to really personalize.  Another option I love is to include part of the beach sand in your sand ceremony (either mixed in with the colored sand, or as an additional layer the officiant can pour over the top).

Expect to start 5 minutes late! A combination of the location, parking, and communication (your officiant, coordinator, and guests will all be running around in sand, which makes everything take a bit longer) often means that beach ceremonies may not start exactly on time – beach traffic can be not fun at all.  If you expect to start a little bit late, or give an earlier start time on the invitations – you can help alleviate this stress.

Helen & Zubins beautiful gazebo, with sand ceremony

Helen & Zubin's beautiful gazebo, with sand ceremony

Have a plan after the ceremony! Know where you and your fiance and bridal party will end up after the ceremony.  Receiving line?  Farther down the beach to take photos?  Make sure you end up out of the way of exiting guests (unless you’d like to do a receiving line), as everyone will want to hug you and congratulate you, and if there is only one exit from the ceremony site, it can create a bit of a back up and an unexpected receiving line may occur!

Be flexible! Of course, we all want to have this wedding on the beach – but if it rains, and we’re inside, your ceremony will be just as beautiful and memorable.  And, hopefully, the clouds will clear for a few minutes so you can get some great photos!

Helen & Zubin pour the sand for their unity ceremony

Helen & Zubin pour the sand for their unity ceremony

If it’s a public beach, communicate EXACT locations and make sure it’s scouted out before hand! Public beaches can have multiple entrances – setting up signs from the parking location or entrance is a great idea to make sure your guests make it to the wedding!

Don’t be upset if you have uninvited guests! Unless you are on a completely private beach, other beach goers will probably end up watching your wedding (and may even show up in some of your photos!  Venues will usually block off the space for the ceremony down to the water, so your photos will have a clear view and no speedos, but you never know…

Vinnie & Dyanas Sand Ceremony... we added a layer of white sand, mixed with the beach sand!

Vinnie & Dyana's Sand Ceremony... we added a layer of white sand, mixed with the beach sand!

Beach ceremonies are always beautiful, and always unexpected.  Working closely with anyone involved with your ceremony, especially your venue coordinator, can really help your ceremony go off without a hitch!