Most will think that a wedding at the beach is well…sandy…
I personally love looking through beach wedding pictures, there is something so magical about the sea.
I think most of us who plan beach weddings do so imagining a breezy, relaxed affair. Basically like the end of a romantic movie, however there are lots of things to consider before setting your sights on the ocean. So if you’re thinking about getting hitched in a beach wedding, here are a few things to check on first:
1.PUBLIC OR PRIVATE BEACH WEDDING
There have been arguments over who has the right to sand for decades. That said, if you’re having a smaller beach wedding (fifty or fewer guests), you may be able to find a private property on a secluded beach with owners who are comfortable hosting events in their space and get pretty close to private. But be forewarned: if that setup is what you’re after, start your search early. Even the most lenient hosts are often wary of events, so it can be hard finding someone who both has a secluded beach at their disposal and doesn’t mind letting you use their property as a home base. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, though. Just give yourself lots of time to make it happen (and prepare yourself for lots of rejection).
2.CEREMONY OR RECEPTION OR BOTH
There’s a big difference between a ceremony on the beach with a reception to follow at a more traditional reception space (hall, restaurant, etc.) and a full-on beach blanket bingo with a hundred of your nearest and dearest. So before you start researching anything, figure out what kind of beach wedding you’re asking for. Permits and ordinances vary depending on what kind of gathering you’ll be having, whether food and drink are involved, if you’re asking to rope off a particular part of the beach, etc. In general, the path of least resistance is to have your ceremony on the beach, and then move the party somewhere that’s better equipped to handle a party. Bonus: that place can still be on the beach. If you’re getting married in the off-season (assuming your beach has one, but we’ll get to that next), beach-front venues might be willing to host an even on a weekend date when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do much business.
3.PERMITS AND ORDINANCES
Beach rules vary by location and often the question you’ll be asking yourself is “Do I need a permit for this?” Check with the local government to see what regulations they have regarding events and gatherings. Some things to consider:
- Are you having a big beach wedding or a small one? Some beaches have regulations about gatherings, so the more people you add to the guest list, the more you’ll want to check what those rules are.
- Do you expect privacy? Hint: everything will be easier if the answer is “no.” But there may be options for roping off a section of the beach. So check your codes and see if there’s an option for obtaining a permit that keeps outsiders… outside.
- Will there be alcohol outside? Most beaches prohibit alcohol consumption, so research your local codes to figure out if yours applies. Or just choose from one of these beaches to start with and you’ll be fine.
- Do you plan on doing anything dangerous? Like starting a bonfire? Some beaches prohibit bonfires. Others simply require that you apply for a permit. In general the rule is if it might be dangerous, check if there’s a code or permit requirement.
Sure, it might be lovely to get married with your toes in the sand. But can your wheelchair-bound Grandma make it to the ceremony to see you put said toes in the sand? Will your guests be standing? Are there options for those who will need to sit? Like any other outdoor ceremony space, the beach can add a layer of difficulty when it comes to accessibility. So consider your guest list and figure out if any additional accommodations will need to be made so that no one misses out.
Waves are loud, y’all. And beaches don’t necessarily come standard equipped with power outlets. So will your guests be able to hear you? Is your wedding small enough that you won’t need amplification? Or are you going to have to figure a portable power situation? Figure this stuff out in advance, or you may end up shouting to be heard in the rafters.
6.TIDES AND WEATHER
If you’re getting married in a park, there’s a good chance that half the park won’t suddenly disappear and be unavailable to you halfway through the day. But that’s what happens at the beach. So make sure your ceremony start time won’t be engulfed by ocean. Because having guests washed away to sea is a super bummer. And while we’re on the subject, don’t forget to check the seasonality of rain in your area.
I hope you find this information helpful, if you know of any other regulations or things about a beach wedding I would love to know!
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