Beach weddings sound so romantic, but most Couples learn the hard way that it isn’t always as fabulous as it sounds. Here are a few things to consider if your vision is to have your wedding ceremony on the sand:
Fees. If you want to have a private event on public space, you must first get a permit. All along the coasts of Florida, this rule is in effect. How strictly the local law enforcement adheres to it, however, is another story. Fees range anywhere from $55 to $135, a small price to pay for feeling safe and in accordance with local laws. Having a completely blank slate means that you may have to rent chairs and other decorations or structures to stage the ceremony the way you want it, which could end up costing you a lot more than what you had originally planned.
Parking. Parking for public beaches is typically a nightmare. Feeding a meter can be a nuisance when you are trying to have a good time. The trek from the lot to the beach is usually a bit long especially for women in heels and those with disabilities. Both of these ingredients equal a serious discomfort for your guests.
No Plan B. Outdoor ceremonies MUST have a Plan B in case of inclement weather, but if you have it on a public beach, you are out of luck! Hiring classical musicians? They will run for the hills if even one drop begins to fall because their instruments are very expensive and do not fare well in the rain. Consider ordering a tent—if that particular beach even allows for such things—or find a beach setting which has a large covered area…just in case.
No Power. Public beaches offer no electrical outlets, so unless you hire a fantastic vendor who happens to have a handy little generator on her at all times—ahem, 🙂 —there will be no power for your DJ or your Videographer, etc. No power means it will be really hard to hear anything especially with the wind and sound of the waves drowning it all out.
Windy Conditions. Hair, sand, and other debris, are all easily tossed around on the windy shores. Add a veil to that, and you’re asking for another annoying treat! Your ceremony should be as soothing, beautiful and memorable as possible, but the wind will make it a stressful 30 minutes that you can never get back.
Melting Guests. The sun can be brutal in Florida in general, let alone on its shores. Depending upon the time of day you choose, and which side you’re on (East or West), the sun and its relentless heat can be unforgiving. If you have lots of kids or elderly folks coming to the wedding, and the sun will be in full-force at the time of your ceremony, take this into consideration. It may affect your attire, that of your guests, and other potential accommodations—such as cold, bottled water; umbrellas; fans; renting a tent, etc.
Sand in All the Wrong Places. Are you intending to wear formal attire? Fancy dresses and suits…heels and shoes? You would be amazed how sand can and will get everywhere, which could make it a very uncomfortable rest of the evening for you. Think easy, light and carefree attire. Ditch the heels and closed toe shoes. Go barefoot or wear next to nothing sandals. But check out the sand’s condition first: the sand may have a lot of debris, and you could injure yourself if you decide to forgo the shoe altogether.
Naked Voyeurs. It cannot be avoided: there will be scantily dressed on-lookers at your ceremony if you choose to have it on a public beach. No matter how many times photographers and I have shooed away these curious onlookers, everyone loves weddings, and these half-naked folks will be in your photos; mark my words! And it usually isn’t the folks who you’d want to see close-to-naked, either. 🙂
Dangerous Runners. Typical runners are not very sturdy to begin with, and on the sand (or even grass) they can prove to be a hazard. Unless you use a carpet runner with a sturdy thick padding beneath it, everyone walking down the aisle is potentially at risk of tripping or snagging themselves on the flimsy material of your runner. Save yourself money and nix the idea all together. If you already bought it, use it in the reception hall to pave the way for your fun entrance into the party!
A ceremony on the beach can be as beautiful as you imagined. Just consider all factors before making your final decision, and do what you can to avoid some of the unpleasant issues.