Planning the Perfect Beach Wedding
Toes in the Sand
Getting married on the beach is a dream held by plenty of brides, but with accessible oceanfront property often being a hard to find, planning the perfect event can sometimes take a little extra thought.
Start by asking your wedding planner where the best beaches to get married are. They will have insight into all the ideal locations, and what permits are required. From there, plan on opting for a simplistic theme to match your outdoor setting. Choose a dress that will flow in the wind, made of lightweight fabric to add to the image of a beautiful and relaxed bride. Allow the groom and his side of the wedding party to opt for neutral tones, again sticking to lightweight fabrics that will provide comfort in the sun. Keep colors toned down and simplistic and don’t be afraid of remaining low-key with the rest of your decorations as well.
Just because a beach wedding calls for simple elegance, however, doesn’t mean you can’t finesse a few details sure to make your nuptials stand out. Use seashells and starfish in your bouquet, setting it apart from those seen in typical weddings. Include similar additions to the boutonniere’s worn by the groomsmen, and in your table arrangements as well. Use sand and candles for centerpieces, but get more creative with your place settings. Consider purchasing old antique bottles, inserting the names of your guests inside to be viewed as messages in a bottle. Don’t be worried about finding settings that all look alike; unique arrangements will actually add to the beach vibe.
As your guests arrive for the wedding, have a shoe station available for them to exchange their footwear for flip-flops. This will keep them from bringing extra sand home in their shoes and will help friends and family quickly acclimate to your relaxed wedding theme. Although alcohol isn’t allowed on San Diego beaches you could offer your guests a signature “mock-tail” upon arrival to suggest they relax.
Rather than worry about arranging seating, think about providing blankets for your guests to spread out and sit on as they observe the ceremony. They can pick their own beach blanket up at the shoe station, along with a note letting them know it is theirs to keep as a souvenir from the wedding. These can also be used later on during the reception when temperatures begin to drop. In addition, consider having colorful parasols for your guests and wedding party. Not only will they help to keep the sun out of everyone’s eyes, they can also lend to beautiful and unique wedding photos.
Your venue and planner will help you choose the best time to start your outdoor ceremony, but typically an hour before sunset will allow for the best photos during the ceremony. This also gives us the chance to get some great bride and groom portrait shots as the sun begins to set over the water.
If your reception will remain on the beach, cap it off with a bonfire. Have plenty of marshmallows and sticks available for roasting, along with chocolate and graham crackers for s’mores. Keep the beach theme going with signature nautical drinks, and dance the night away with your toes still in the sand.
Jennifer Dery is an internationally known photographer based in San Diego, CA.
She specializes in documentary-style story telling that emphasizes the emotion and connection of everyone involved.
View more work on the website: jenniferdery.com