How To Plan A Beach Wedding: Top Tips & Ideas

Imagine walking down a sandy aisle with the ocean breeze gently caressing your hair, and the sun setting behind you as you prepare to say ‘I do’ in front of your loved ones. If that image has you smiling then a beach wedding might just be the perfect option for you!

A beach wedding is a magical experience, one that captures the natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere of the coast. But with so much to think about, it can quickly feel overwhelming. That’s where we come in! Our top tips will guide you through the process, from selecting the perfect location to choosing the most beach-friendly attire. So get ready to embark on a stress-free journey towards planning the wedding of your dreams.

Keep reading below for a step-by-step guide on how to create the perfect beach wedding.

Finding the Right Location

Choosing the perfect location for your beach wedding is a crucial decision that sets the tone for your big day. Various factors should influence your decision, including the size of your guest list, budget, accessibility, and available amenities. If you’re seeking an intimate and secluded atmosphere, a private beach may be the ideal option. Private beaches offer a sense of exclusivity and privacy that elevates the romantic ambiance of your special day. In contrast, public beaches are ideal for larger gatherings and are typically more affordable than private beaches. Public beaches often provide amenities such as restrooms, boardwalks, and lifeguards, making them an excellent choice for a family-friendly beach wedding. However, keep in mind that public beaches can get crowded and noisy, so it’s important to select the right time of day for your wedding.

Be Mindful of Your Budget

As you begin to plan your dream beach wedding, it’s essential to establish a budget. Although beach weddings can be expensive, there are different ways to make the most of your budget depending on your plan. So make sure you set a budget that you and your partner are comfortable with. Start by outlining all the costs associated with the event, including the venue, decorations, catering, photography, accommodation, and any other special elements you desire. Consider travel costs for yourself and your guests too. With these figures in mind, be realistic about your financial situation and set a budget that you can stick to. Keep in mind that unexpected expenses may arise, so it’s always best to set aside some extra money in case of emergencies.

Deciding on a Theme

When it comes to choosing a theme for your beach wedding, the possibilities are endless. You can be as simple and casual or as formal and elaborate as you like! A nautical theme is perfect for a laid-back beach wedding, featuring navy and white stripes, anchors, and seashells to create a classic coastal aesthetic. On the other hand, if you want to bring a touch of the tropics to your wedding day, consider a vibrant and exotic theme with colorful florals, palm trees, and exotic accents. You can also opt for a rustic beach theme with natural elements like driftwood, sea glass, and seashells. Another fun option is to embrace the beauty of the ocean with a mermaid or under-the-sea theme, featuring shades of blue and green, seashells, and whimsical details. No matter which theme you choose, be sure to infuse it with your unique personality and style to create a truly unforgettable beach wedding.

Selecting The Perfect Decor

Once you’ve chosen your beach wedding theme, it’s time to start thinking about the decor and let your creativity shine. From chairs and tables to flowers and centerpieces, there are so many ways to enhance the beauty and magic of your special day. Start by thinking about colors that complement your theme. From there you can move on to choosing decorative elements that add elevate your venue and captivate your guests. For instance, you can add lanterns, tiki torches, and string lights to create a cozy atmosphere as the sun sets.

Also, make the most of the natural setting and use elements such as bamboo, wood, and twine. But don’t forget to consider the practicalities of your beach setting too. For example, you may want to opt for sturdy, sand-resistant decor like driftwood or seashells. With the right decorations, you can create a stunning and unforgettable beach wedding that reflects your unique style and personality.

Photography: By Julieta Photography | Planning: The Big Fake Wedding | Venue: Soñadora Resort | Design: Marianna Idirin Planning & Design | Florals: Pina

Choosing Your Vendors

One of the most important vendors to book is a professional photographer who can capture the magic of your beach wedding. Look for a photographer who has experience shooting on the beach and knows how to work with natural light. You may also want to hire a wedding planner who has experience with beach weddings and can handle the logistics of the day. They can help you coordinate with other vendors and make sure everything runs smoothly.

For catering, consider hiring a local company that specializes in fresh seafood or beach-inspired dishes. A good caterer will work with you to create a menu that reflects your taste and fits your budget. Other vendors to consider include a DJ or live band for entertainment, a florist for bouquets and centerpieces, and a hair and makeup artist to help you look your best on your special day.

Before you finalize your vendors, it’s very useful to see samples of their work especially if they have experience with beach weddings. This will give you peace of mind and help you trust that your vendors know what they’re doing.

Consider The Guest Experience

Planning activities for your beach wedding can elevate the overall experience for you and your guests. Beach weddings offer the perfect opportunity to incorporate some fun and memorable activities into your big day. Consider renting paddle boards or kayaks for a pre-wedding adventure, or set up a beach volleyball game for some friendly competition.

If you’re looking for something more laidback, a bonfire with s’mores can add a cozy and intimate touch to your reception. For those wanting to get a little fancy, a beachside cocktail hour with signature drinks and hors d’oeuvres can make for a luxurious experience. Another great idea is to hire a beach yoga instructor to lead a sunrise or sunset yoga session for you and your guests. This can be a great way to relax and connect before the wedding festivities begin. Whatever activities you choose, be sure to incorporate elements that match your beach wedding theme to create a cohesive and memorable experience for everyone involved.

Infuse Beach-Themed Food & Drink Ideas

When it comes to thinking about food and drink ideas for your beach wedding, there’s a lot to play with. One of the most popular options for beach weddings is a casual buffet-style meal. You can choose from a range of light and refreshing coastal flavors, such as seafood, grilled meats, colorful salads, and fruit platters. Don’t forget options for any vegetarian and vegan guests too!

You can also add a fun element by having a DIY taco or burger bar, allowing guests to customize their meals. For drinks, keep it cool with tasty cocktails (and mocktails), such as margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, and piña coladas, in colorful tiki glasses. You can also offer a selection of beer and wine for those who prefer something more traditional. It’s important to keep in mind that the heat and humidity can cause drinks to warm up quickly, so make sure to have plenty of ice and keep them in shaded areas. Another option is to have a fun beachside bar, complete with a mixologist and a signature cocktail for the occasion.

Set The Mood with Music and Entertainment

Music and entertainment are essential components of any wedding, and a beach wedding is no exception. To make your special day even more unforgettable, consider incorporating beach-themed music and entertainment. Live music is always a great option and can create a magical ambiance for your wedding. Consider hiring a steel drum band, acoustic guitarist, or even a traditional Hawaiian hula dance troupe. If you prefer a DJ, make sure to discuss your desired playlist in advance to ensure that they can accommodate your beach wedding theme.

Another fun idea is to have a bonfire on the beach with some s’mores and music. You can also set up lawn games, such as cornhole or giant Jenga, for your guests to enjoy. But remember to check with your beach venue about any restrictions on noise or open flames, and plan accordingly. With the right music and entertainment, your beach wedding will be a celebration to remember.

destination wedding tips
Photo: Ammata Eyes

Choosing Your Transport

Another important step in the planning process is organizing transport. You’ll need to make sure your guests can easily get to and from the beach venue, especially if it’s located in a remote or hard-to-reach location. If the venue is close to a hotel or resort, consider arranging a shuttle service to transport guests. Alternatively, you can encourage guests to carpool or hire private transportation services, such as taxis or limousines.

Another unique option is to rent a vintage VW van or a trolley to transport guests in style. You can even consider arranging a boat or yacht to transport guests from the mainland if you’ve chosen a small island venue. Whatever option you choose, be sure to provide clear instructions and directions for your guests to avoid any confusion or delays on the day. Also, make sure that the vehicles are well-maintained and comfortable for your guests. And don’t forget to ask about any additional fees or charges that may apply!

Dressing For The Occasion

When it comes to choosing what to wear for your beach wedding, the key is to choose clothing that is comfortable, appropriate for the location, and reflects your personal style. The beach is a casual setting, so it’s essential to choose an outfit that fits the laid-back vibe.

For your bridal look, consider lightweight fabrics like chiffon, lace, or organza that will flow in the sea breeze. Dresses with shorter hemlines or high-low cuts are great for avoiding dragging fabric on the sand. You can also add some beachy accessories, such as a flower crown, or a seashell necklace. Also, be sure to choose the right footwear. Opt for sandals or flip-flops for a more casual look.

If you want a formal style that still works with the sand, go for wedges or block heels. For the groom, a linen suit or a dress shirt and pants in light colors such as beige or light blue will keep him looking sharp while still feeling comfortable. And don’t forget about the bridesmaids and groomsmen, who can wear lighter, more breathable fabrics in colors that complement the beach setting. It’s also a good idea to advise your guests on the dress code, so they know what to wear to the beach wedding.

Avoid Any Obstacles

No matter what type of beach wedding you’re planning, it’s important to consider any obstacles. Firstly, factor in the season and the expected weather during your wedding day. Be sure to research the area and find out what the average weather is like during your wedding season. While a sunny day might be what you’re hoping for, it’s also wise to have a contingency plan in case of rain or wind. Look into renting a tent or an indoor space nearby, just in case.

Also, let your guests know about any hazards around the beach location such as rocks, strong currents, or jellyfish. Another tip is to provide shade for your guests, as the sun can be quite strong on the beach. For instance, incorporate umbrellas and a shaded area for guests to cool off. Finally, be sure to keep the beach clean and leave it in the same condition you found it. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service to handle the post-wedding clean-up.

Embrace The Moment

Your beach wedding is a special day that you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life. After all the planning and preparation, it’s time to take a deep breath and enjoy your beautiful surroundings. The gentle sound of the waves, the warmth of the sun, and the salty sea air will create a magical atmosphere that you and your guests will never forget. Take a moment to appreciate all the hard work that went into making your day perfect, and let yourself relax and soak up the joy and love that surrounds you. After all, this is your day, so don’t forget to dance, laugh, and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Take a walk on the beach, watch the sunset, and create a moment that will stay with you forever. With careful planning and a relaxed attitude, your beach wedding will be the dream event you’ve always wanted.

Our top tips will help you navigate logistics, choose locations, manage any challenges, and ensure you know how to plan a truly special beach wedding. YIn the meanwhile, head to WedBoard where you can explore and price out stunning beach destination venues across Europe and find more inspiration for your special day. You’ll also discover more tips and inspiration including, 15 Small Destination Wedding Ideas, How To Plan The Perfect Wedding Weekend Itinerary, and Wedding Guest List Size: Tips For Your Destination Wedding.

Featured image: Carla Blain

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