Picture it: a cool breeze, sand beneath your toes, and the sun setting over the ocean when you say "I do." Beaches are a perfect place to tie the knot, and the ceremonies can also be some of the simplest to plan. With the sand, surf, and sun all playing a role in the decor, beachy weddings don't require a lot of money or stress. Here are some easy and affordable tips for throwing the perfect beach wedding bash.
Pick your beach. For a more affordable option, use a public beach as opposed to spending a good chunk of change on renting out a resort or private beach. If you go this route, try not to have the wedding on a busy holiday weekend to avoid prying public eyes or wedding crashers.
Get a permit. If you decide to use a public beach for the ceremony, find out if you need a permit to have a wedding-sized gathering. Cities are very strict about open-container laws and noise ordinances, so avoid any potential trouble by researching all of the local beach laws.
Keep it intimate. Keeping the ceremony small saves money on favors, food, and drinks and also increases the likelihood of getting a permit from the city.
Locate the restrooms. Have the ceremony within a short distance of bathroom facilities so that you and your guests don't have to hike several miles in your wedding attire to use the restroom. You can DIY fun signs to point guests in the right direction.
Rent a tent. Set up tents or canopies to protect from wind or rain, provide shade, and help make the wedding more private.
Set up a good sound system. The ocean is a perfect backdrop for a beautiful wedding, but the combination of wind and waves can make it hard to hear the sermon and vows. Get a great sound system, and hire musicians who play instruments that are louder and can hit higher-pitched notes, like flutes, violins, saxophones, and guitars.
Provide practical favors. Mother nature is unpredictable, so keep everyone prepared for insects and the elements with useful wedding favors, like bug spray, fans, miniature sunscreen bottles, or beach-themed anchor paperweights to hold down name tags and menus if the wind kicks up.
Set up safe seating. Sand and wind make chair choices a little tricky, so it's a good idea to pick heavier chairs, ideally make of wood, that won't blow away or be affected by the elements. Since the sand can make chair legs sink unevenly, benches or ottomans are also a great option.
Keep it more casual. Heavy, billowing wedding gowns can be more trouble than they're worth at a windy and warm seaside ceremony, so consider a simpler dress with a light and comfortable fabric. You can avoid water and sand mishaps if you go for a shorter cut of dress, too.
Control your lighting. Pick a time of day when photo opportunities are abundant. Use the natural golden-hour gleam at sunset, and consider setting up cute (and beachy) hurricane lanterns for the evening.
Ditch the shoes. No shoes, no problem! Go barefoot to get the full beach effect — and save money on pricey heels while you're at it. Provide a basket at the entrance for guests in case they choose to go shoeless as well. Cute flip-flops make great favors and can run as cheap as $1 per pair.
Consider moving elsewhere for the reception. If you use a public beach and plan on having alcohol at the wedding, you might want to move the party to a nearby location to avoid any potential open-container issues on the beach.