Like any destination wedding, planning a beach wedding day comes with unique considerations. It’s not as easy as grabbing your favorite towels and staking out a sunny spot. Luckily, we’re here to help. Below, find beach wedding planning tips, decoration and theme ideas, and photos from real brides who created their beach wedding dreams with Ling’s Moment.
How to plan a beach wedding ceremony
Find your venue
You may already have a key destination in mind for your beach wedding day – like the spot where you and your partner first went on vacation together, or the local beach where you grew up collecting shells. But the best spot for your ceremony can depend on a few different factors. When choosing your ideal beach wedding ceremony, keep the following factors in mind.
- Accessibility. Will guests with mobility concerns be able to attend a ceremony on the sand? If not, consider hosting your ceremony at a venue with beach views instead, like a beach rental house or even a resort.
- Privacy. Princess Ariel may want to be where the people are, but you probably don’t. And you’re not necessarily guaranteed privacy at a public beach. So, if you’d prefer to avoid gawkers and tourists watching, a private rental company or resort may have more secluded options.
Amenities. Public beaches are super budget-friendly, but some private beach wedding companies may come with bonus perks, like setup and cleanup, or offering rentals, such as chairs and wedding arches.
BEACH WEDDING PLANNING TIP: HOST AT A HOTEL
Some Ling’s couples suggest hosting your wedding day at a hotel or resort for maximum convenience, like Abby & Nick. Your guests won’t need to wait for shuttles or book rental cars to travel to your venue, which is a big perk for destination weddings. Plus, they may have both indoor and outdoor views of the surf – which could provide an excellent rainy day backup plan.
Pick the season carefully
The ideal season for a beach wedding depends on where you’re located. For instance, a summer beach wedding might be too hot for your taste, but a fall beach wedding on the Gulf Coast could leave your plans vulnerable to hurricane season. If you haven’t already, research your beach’s “on” or “off” seasons for weddings and plan accordingly.
Go for morning or evening ceremonies
Beyond the season, the time of your ceremony can also make a difference at a beach venue. Try to avoid hosting in the hottest parts of the day, like the early afternoon. Instead, aim for a morning or evening ceremony, where you can beat the worst of the sun’s rays.
Consider faux flowers
Even in milder weather, the heat and humidity from the ocean can make real flowers wither at lightning speed. Real floral arrangements can also be difficult to set up and put away – who wants to lug a heavy floral arch across shifting sand?
That doesn’t mean you need to go without floral charm at your wedding, though. Just consider swapping them for an alternative, like faux flowers. Faux flowers don’t require water or need any special maintenance. They can look just like the real thing, too.
Other pros to going faux at a beach wedding include:
- No wilting in the sun. Real flowers have a time limit, but faux flowers don’t. They can stay out in the sun as long as you need, and they won’t wilt or lose petals.
- Super lightweight to carry. Since they don’t soak up water, faux flowers are lightweight. So, they’re easier to set up at a beach venue and carry down the aisle without your arms getting tired. Just make sure you secure them tightly!
Travel-friendly blooms. Faux floral arrangements can fly with you in a suitcase or carry-on, so you don’t need to worry about booking a local florist.
How to plan a wedding reception on the beach
Consider moving off the sand
You’ve officially exchanged vows. Now, there’s only one thing to do: Beach party! You don’t necessarily need to host your reception at the same place where your ceremony happens. In fact, you may even prefer to head inside for a while to cool off with cocktails and hors’ d'oeuvres. Potential nearby locations where you could host a beach wedding reception include:
- A beachfront restaurant or bar
- A beach hotel or rental house.
- A Marina or boating club
Tents are your friend
If your ceremony took place under the sky, your guests may want a break to cool off at your reception. A tent is your BFF in cases like this. Tents can easily be set up on the beach or on the nearby shore to offer shelter from the sun on hot days. In the evening, they can serve as a windbreaker, too. Another tip: Tents can act as a rainy day backup for outdoor beach wedding ceremonies.
Repurpose your decorations
When styling your beach wedding reception, you don’t necessarily need to buy all new decorations. Instead, try reusing your wedding arch as a backdrop for your head table, or placing bridesmaid bouquets in vases for an easy wedding centerpiece. It’s a great way to celebrate a beach wedding day on a budget – especially if you’re hosting close to your ceremony spot.
Curate your beach wedding menu
You can help your guests experience beachy vibes through your menu, too. Items to consider for a beach wedding reception include:
- Seafood. Cliche? Maybe, but you really can’t beat nibbling a savory lobster roll or a zingy ceviche while watching the tide roll in.
- Cold desserts. Stay cool by offering refreshing desserts alongside your wedding cake, like sorbet, shaved ice, or ice cream.
Tropical cocktails. There’s no better time to indulge in your love of fruity cocktails, like margaritas, mojitos, or pina coladas. Let your inner tourist delight.
How to decorate for a beach wedding
Select your beachy color palette
Now comes the fun part: Choosing your aesthetic for your beach wedding day. Deciding on a color palette can be a good place to start, since it can complement and enhance the atmosphere at your wedding day.
Choose beachy accents
Color is one part of the equation, but you can drive home the beachy vibes with other decorations and accent pieces like:
Is it really a beach wedding day without at least a few seashells? We think not. Try scattering sea shells throughout your displays, like on your tablescapes or at the base of your wedding aisle. They can make a great flower petal alternative in the sand!
Beyond their color palette, the type of flowers you use can also convey beachy vibes. For instance, the lush orchids in this luxurious DIY Cascading Bridal Bouquet remind us of flowing water.
Other beach-friendly materials for your decorations include:
- Driftwood. Rustic and right at home on the beach. It’s ideal for arches, signs, and tables.
- Bamboo. Another sturdy, natural material ideal for both structures, like arches, or decorative displays, like in free-standing floral arrangements.
Lightweight fabric. For drapery and tablecloths, consider lightweight materials, like cotton and linen.
Tie your arch drapes down
Speaking of lightweight fabric: On a wedding arch, drapery has the tendency to flutter in strong winds – and you don’t want fabric to blow in your face while you’re exchanging vows. The easiest solution to the wind problem? Just tie your drapery down.
On this driftwood arch, the drapes are securely tied in the center, so only the bottom half will flutter in the breeze. The matching floral swags provide another level of upscale elegance.
Add chair decor
To finish off your wedding aisle, consider adding mini floral arrangements to your wedding chairs, like these white & sage aisle decorations. The ribbons will look beautiful fluttering in the breeze as they keep the sage greenery secure on the chair’s edge. You don’t need to place them on every chair, either. Just adding them to the outside edge can enhance your aisle without a ton of effort.
Naturally, the deep blue centerpieces and table runner also evoke clear blue waters and relaxing afternoons spent meandering on the beach.
What to wear for a wedding on the beach
Beachy bridal gown tips
Your bridal gown is probably the most important dress you'll ever wear (no pressure.)
While you’re shopping for a bridal gown to wear on the beach, keep the following factors in mind:
- Fabric choice. Stick with lightweight and breathable fabrics, like cotton, chiffon, or organza to stay cool and feel elegant throughout the day.
- Length. A floor-length gown can look beautiful billowing in the ocean breeze, but a dress that drags the ground may pick up stains from the wet sand or grass. Knee-lengh dresses may be easier to manage on a windy day.
Color. While white is the traditional bridal color, it can also pick up stains easily in outdoor environments. If this concerns you, consider off-white fabrics, like neutral champagne or even pastel pink or blue.
Naturally, no bridal look is complete without a bouquet. We’re fond of the above free-form Blush & Pearl bouquet for beach weddings, since the shimmery ribbons remind us of waves lapping the shore.
DO BRIDES GO BAREFOOT AT BEACH WEDDINGS?
Sure! Since wearing heels on the sand can be a challenge, some brides may prefer to leave their shoes behind and feel the sand between their toes. Alternatively, you might choose to don a pair of flip-flops, sandals, or wedges. It depends on what makes you feel the most comfortable!
Accessorize to the max
Don’t forget your bridal accessories, either. Instead of wearing a cumbersome bridal veil, consider replacing it with a lightweight flower crown, like this DIY design. It’s super easy to make at home with faux flowers. Just add a pair of sunglasses, and you’re ready to star in your very own beach movie.
Beach-inspired Groom’s wear
As with bridalwear, lightweight fabrics can also help a groom feel comfortable and stylish on the beach. More factors to consider when choosing a groom’s attire include:
- The color palette. Darker colors, like black, can draw the sun and make you swelter. So, consider choosing lighter shades for a suit, like grey, dusty blue or beige.
- Formality level. A tuxedo might feel too heavy and stuffy for a light and breezy beach wedding. Instead, consider slightly more casual attire, like dress pants, vests, and lightweight shirts.
Shoe selections. Classic dress shoes can be clunky in the sand. Instead, more beach-practical footwear can finish off the look, like loafers or sandals. Or, you could always go barefoot.
And of course, a stylish boutonniere can polish off a groom’s look – like the above option with shell and pearl accents. Shimmery and casual, it’s tailor-made for beach ceremonies. Don’t forget to coordinate with your groomsmen, too.
Beach Wedding FAQs
How much does a beach wedding cost?
The average cost of a beach wedding can depend on several factors, like your venue’s location, your travel expenses, and any other preferences or splurges.
According to data from the Knot’s real wedding survey, the average couple spent around $35,600 on a destination wedding in 2022 – a bit more than the standard wedding price. However, it’s possible to plan a beach wedding day for less. Get tips on planning a wedding on a small budget here.
Do I need a permit to host a beach wedding?
That depends. Many public beaches don’t require special permits if a wedding ceremony is small enough or doesn’t use any special equipment. However, if you want a more extensive ceremony with decorations, you may need to grab a permit from the local government. Beaches across the country, or abroad, may have different rules, so remember to check them before making concrete plans.
What is the best month to have a beach wedding?
Depends on your location. Beach weddings in the spring or fall may help you beat the peak summer heat and enjoy balmy ocean vibes, but you may also face a higher risk of spontaneous rain showers or even hurricanes. So, the answer will come down to your specific beach.
When should I send invitations for a beach wedding?
For destination weddings, it’s customary to give guests six months to one-year notice, so they can make travel arrangements and take time off work or school. If you live close to the beach, then you can absolutely get by with a shorter timeframe.
Conclusion: Beach wedding planning tips
We hope these tips and ideas will make it easy to plan the beach wedding of your dreams. And if you’re looking for beach-ready faux flowers and wedding decor, Ling’s Moment has you covered.
Our premade floral arrangements ship ready to use right to your door. You can pack them in your suitcase or carry on, and they’ll be ready to elevate any beach wedding venue your heart desires. Or, use our DIY flower boxes to express your creativity and craft a one-of-a-kind beach wedding day that’s totally “you.” Tag us @LingsMoment on Instagram to show us photos of your beach wedding day, so we can share it with our followers!