40+ Easy-To-Follow Tips To Achieve The Perfect Beach Wedding

Jennifer Skulski

Published: Jul 23, 2021

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2021

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Beach weddings are the perfect venue idea for couples looking for a beautiful outdoor setting for their summer or tropical wedding. As you begin to imagine your flawless beach wedding, there are without a doubt many factors you’ll have to consider when planning your sandy, outdoor ceremony.

Your beach wedding ideas may require some additional preparations, but luckily, we’ve culminated the top tips to help you and your fiancé achieve the perfect beach wedding.

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40+ Tips To Consider When Planning A Beach Wedding

Tips For Planning Your Destination

1. Destination Wedding Or Local?

Beach weddings can be a great opportunity to visit a remote, tropical location and enjoy your wedding day festivities at a luxurious beach resort. If you are leaning towards a destination wedding, we recommend Sandals. The more people you bring to the resort, the more you get included in your free wedding ceremony on the beach!

If you’d rather keep your venue local, that can be a great optional as well. Choose your favorite local beach, the one that is full of lovely memories and good evenings well spent with your family and friends.

destination wedding photo

2. Private Or Public Beach?

As you begin to decide which beach you’d like to host your wedding, consider if you’d like a private or public beach. Private beaches can be a great option to escape from having everyday beach goers around during your big day. With a private reservation you’ll often have a package that includes the set-up you need for your big day; however, that also equates to a more expensive price tag.

Public beaches can be a more cost-effective option and may allow for a larger wedding size as opposed to private beaches that may limit your guest list. Of course, on the other hand, a public beach may also mean your ceremony is a bit noisy with strangers lurking and enjoying their beach day in the background. Each option has its pros and cons and is completely up to you and your partner.

destination wedding on a private beach

3. Permits For A Public Beach Wedding

If you opt for a public beach wedding, you’ll have to do your research on what permits and forms you need to complete in order to host your ceremony on public property. Each state and beach may have different requirements, so you’ll want to do your homework on this one and make sure you obtain your permits with plenty of time to spare.

permit for public beach wedding

4. Coordinate Travel Plans

Once you officially decide on your beach venue, you’ll want to be considerate of your guests’ travel needs. How accessible is your beach? If your guests need to travel, make sure your location is easy to access. 

Help your guests plan the best and cheapest way to get there by offering suggestions or arranging transportation services from hotels. The more you help plan the travel, the less likely your guests will run into trouble and not be able to make it to your big celebration.

St. Augusting wedding

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5. Beach Ceremony Set-Up

If you’re planning a private beach wedding, it’s quite possible your venue may help with your ceremony set-up. If you’re on a public beach, the set-up will most likely be all up to you. Plan ahead with exactly what decor you wish to have and who will be around to help complete the set-up.

You’ll also want to make sure that the beach location you choose has enough space for all the guests on your list, the chairs, and all the decor you want to display. Be sure to compare the size of your beach venue to your set-up needs before your big day arrives.

Fiji wedding reception

6. Have A Backup Plan For Your Wedding And Reception

As with all outdoor wedding venues, it’s always best to have a backup plan. Mother nature is an uncontrollable force and while we hope all of your beach wedding ideas go off without a hitch, you’ll definitely want to account for the possibility of bad weather.

backup plan for destination wedding

7. Consider The Noise Pollution

While the sound of waves crashing is beautiful, you don’t want it to overpower the officiant and vows during the ceremony. Consider getting a sound system to drown out the background noise, especially if it’s a large wedding in a public location!

wedding in kauai

Planning Your Beach Wedding Date And Time

8. Consider The Time Of The Ceremony

You’ll want to properly research your beach location to figure out the ideal time of day for your celebration. Keep in mind weather trends, try to avoid the hottest time of day, and research when the sun sets and rises to ensure you have optimal light for your ceremony. Are you hoping for a brunch wedding? An afternoon party? Or a sunset celebration?

sunset wedding reception

9. Consider Your Location Based On Your Ideal Season

Have you and your fiancé decided on which season you’d like to tie the knot? The location you choose can greatly affect the season you’ll be able to have your wedding. 

Some beach locations may be too risky to use in the summer due to hurricane or monsoon seasons while other locations may not work well in the winter if they experience freezing temperatures. Of course, some tropical beaches may work during any season, but you’ll need to take your location and preferred season into account. 

Jervis Bay wedding reception

Wedding Attire Tips For Beach Weddings

10. Prepare For The Weather

As you decide on your ideal season and the time of day of your ceremony, you’ll want to prepare both you and your guests for the weather. If you’re having a summer beach wedding in the heat of the day, you’ll want to ensure your guests are prepared and properly dressed to be comfortable sitting in the heat.

If you’re planning a sunset ceremony, you’ll need to keep in mind that your venue may get chilly once the sun disappears so make sure your guests bring jackets or shawls to keep warm. Plus, windy beaches can bring about further chilling effects.

You can also consider providing blankets for a sunset ceremony or fans and umbrellas for a mid-day celebration to keep your guests comfortable. 

sunset ceremony fans and hats

11. Shoe Valet

Beaches are sandy. Heels and dress shoes in sand may not be the perfect combination. Consider including a shoe valet for your guests to trade in their fancy footwear for flip flops to wear throughout the ceremony.

shoe valet for sandy wedding

12. Carpet For The Aisle

Again, you should consider the walkability factor when it comes to sand. You may want to lay a carpet down for your aisle to help you and your fiancé walk down the aisle easier while also keeping the bottom of those dresses intact and free of sand.

Tulum wedding reception

13. Consider Going Casual

When you send out your beach-themed wedding invitations, you’ll have to indicate a wedding dress code. Consider allowing your guests to dress in casual beach attire in order to help everyone keep comfortable in the sunny and sandy outdoor environment.

casual beach wedding
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14. Go For A Light Dress

Don’t let your dress literally weigh you down in the sand! Select a lighter dress option that is optimum for movement amid your lovely beach venue.

lighter dress for beach wedding

15. Skip The Veil For Flowers

Instead of having a pesky veil that will blow about in the ocean breeze, skip the veil, and include a lovely flower crown or flowers in your hair for a modern and stylized look.

flower crown instead of wedding veil

16. Wear An Updo

While letting your hair down or showing off your long curls may seem lovely, the beach may not be so forgiving to your wedding hairstyle. If you’re having a mid-day ceremony, beat the heat with an updo! Plus, having an updo or a beautiful, braided style will save your hair from the ruinous nature of a windy beach day. 

bridesmaids beach wedding updo

17. Ditch The Heels And Suit

When it comes to the perfect beach wedding ideas, try fully committing to your wedding theme. Embrace a more tropical or casual look. Bring out the flip flops, ditch the suit, and enjoy the fashionable look of dress shorts to keep both you and your fiancé stylish and comfortable throughout your vows.

barefoot wedding on the beach

18. Beware Of Sunburns And Tan Lines

Have sunscreen available for your guests to prevent any unwanted sun exposure. And don’t forget to protect your own skin as well!

Pro Tip: Consider taking your wedding photos before the ceremony to avoid any unwanted tan or burn lines that are caused from the ceremony.

SPF sunscreen ideas for beach wedding

Wedding Size: What To Consider

19. Consider A Small Wedding

Planning a micro wedding isn’t just trendy, it’s also practical and can save you money. Don’t let your perfect beach wedding get overly crowded with hundreds of guests. Instead, throw a smaller wedding with your closest friends and family for a more personal and meaningful celebration.

intimate micro wedding on the beach

20. Intimate Wedding Party

As you begin to select your bridal party and wedding party, keep in mind that sometimes less is more. By choosing an intimate wedding party, you can celebrate with those closest to you without letting your planning get out of hand and be overwhelming. Think about who you truly want by your side as you and your partner tie the knot.

intimate wedding party

21. Small Ceremony, Large Reception

Perhaps you want your ceremony to be more intimate, but you also enjoy the thought of a large beach wedding reception. A small ceremony, large reception is a perfectly doable option and can be a great way to ensure your big day includes everyone you wish while also restricting the guest list during your ceremony. Plus, with technology you can even choose to have a virtual wedding ceremony for those only invited to the reception to still view your vows.

small ceremony large reception

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Beach Wedding Decor Tips And Ideas

22. Ditch The Individual Programs

Wedding programs can easily fly away and create litter on the beach. Consider a sign for your program for your guests to look at before they take a seat. And don’t forget to add your special wedding hashtags to your sign!

wedding hashtags to sign

23. Wind-Proof Wedding Decor

This is one of the most important beach wedding ideas. Beaches are windy and you must take this into account before planning all your beautiful decor. Consider ways to anchor down your decor, or better yet only choose decor that is hefty and sturdy enough to withstand strong winds.

wind-proof wedding decor

24. Sea-Themed Table Decor

Commit to your beach wedding with sea-themed table decorations and centerpieces. Embrace the colors of the beach by sticking to blue, green, and tan decor. Include seashells, starfishes, and bottled sand for inspiration.

sea-themed wedding decor

25. Palms – Everywhere!

Nothing says tropical beach wedding ideas quite like palm decorations. Include palm fronds throughout your outdoor venue such as by having them in your wedding arch, lining your aisle with them, or even including vases of palms as a centerpiece.

destination wedding palm tree decor

26. Beachy Bouquet

Get creative with your flower bouquet. Include bright tropical colors if you’re looking for summer beach wedding ideas or have more subtle blue and green colors to compliment the ocean. To further embellish your beachy bouquet, add seashells and starfishes to your arrangement or even embrace a DIY wedding by having the entire bouquet made out of beautiful shells.

beach wedding DIY bouquet

27. Seashells For Decor

While we’ve already discussed a few beach wedding ideas that require seashells such as in your centerpieces and flower bouquets, you can also creatively string seashells together to act as festive garland. If you’re really in the mood for creative DIY decor, you could also use seashells to spell out your last name or even your beach themed wedding hashtag.

seashell decor for tablescape

28. Simple Ceremonial Backdrop

While the beach of course will be your main backdrop, you can also plan to include a simple ceremonial backdrop to have on display throughout your ceremony. This can include having a simple wedding arch, tent, pillars, or drapes that will complement the appearance of your beach destination. 

backdrop for beach wedding

29. Sturdy Seating

Ensure your seat selections are sturdy enough to withstand the wind without falling over but also are ones that won’t sink in the sand. Use white pull out chairs or embellish your venue with bamboo style chairs for a beachy look. 

sturdy bamboo chairs for beachy wedding

30. Hammock

What’s more tropical than swinging on a hammock between two palm trees as you watch the ocean’s waves? A hammock can be an awesome themed decor item while also being an excellent spot to relax or have some fun shoots with your spouse and guests.

hammock for beach wedding

31. Windy Ribbons

This fun accessory can be a great addition to your venue. Line your aisle with ribbons, tie ribbons around each chair, or create a beautiful backdrop of hanging ribbons that will blow beautifully in the breeze. A variety of colored ribbons can also be a great way to show off your wedding color scheme.

windy ribbons for wedding

32. Simple Candles

Create an elegant vibe with simple candle displays decorating your venue. This could include candles in mason jars, candles in a clear bowl with sand and seashells at the bottom, or even candles inside lanterns.

simple candle decor
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33. Drapes For A Shady Reception

If you’re looking to avoid the sun, this would be one of the best beach wedding ideas to consider. Try hanging drapes around the beach that can flawlessly match with your decor and theme while also offering a bit of shade at your reception.

drapes for shady reception

34. Beachy Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are your opportunity to let your creativity shine as you thank your guests for their presence and support throughout your big day. With a beach wedding, it would be a fitting idea to have beachy wedding favors such as ones from Invitation in a bottle.

wedding favor invitation in a bottle

Beach Wedding Food & Drink Tips

35. Have Cold Drinks Easily Accessible

It’ll likely be hot at your beach wedding. Be sure to keep your guests hydrated by providing refreshments during the ceremony and reception! Have a designated bar, drink cart, or an assortment of coolers scatter throughout to ensure water and other drinks are available to all those who need them.

refreshments for outdoor wedding

36. Check To See If Your Venue Has A Caterer

If your venue provides food, you are good to go. If not, make sure your caterer can easily access and serve at your location. If it’s a public beach, there may not be a place for them to set up and have their truck. Thus, be sure to figure out the logistics of catering at your beach venue prior to booking your caterers.

food for beach wedding

37. Keep The Dessert Simple and Fun

You may not have access to a fridge, so make sure you plan for a dessert that can withstand the heat! S’mores from a beach bonfire may be just the perfect alternative.

s'mores for beach wedding

38. Add A Local Favorite To The Menu

If you decide to do a destination beach wedding, bring in some local culture to your food menu! Encourage your guests to try something new and indulge in the famous local flavors in the area.

destination beach wedding

Beach Wedding Miscellaneous Planning

39. Budget Wisely

As with planning any wedding, you should always have a set wedding budget in mind. This way, if your wedding plans and creativity ever get out of hand, you’ll always have an organized budget to reference and anchor your ideas back to reality. 

wedding budgeting

40. Find A Trustworthy Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding has so many moving parts, so it’s important to find a trustworthy and experienced wedding planner who can help you stay organized throughout the process and connect you to the right vendors who can make your dream beach wedding a reality.

find wedding planner

41. Test The Bluetooth and Digital Equipment Before The Big Day

This may seem like a small thing, but service is often spotty on beaches. Make sure your music system works and is loud enough for all your guests to hear throughout the noisy environment of a beach so you can have the dance party you deserve!

beach wedding in Mexico

Ready To Take On The Beach?

While planning a beach wedding may require some additional thought, in the end your sandy celebration will definitely be worth it! We hope that these beach wedding ideas have helped you think through your beach wedding and inspired some of your decisions for your big day.

As you begin finalizing the details, the main tips to keep in mind would be to prepare for the elements at work during a beach wedding such as the heat, the sun, the wind, and the potential for bad weather. If you plan ahead and prepare properly for your beach wedding, your celebration will go off without a hitch!

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