A beach wedding can be a beautiful alternative to a traditional wedding. For many couples, getting married under the open, blue sky surrounded by sand and surf is more appealing and potentially more affordable than mainstream wedding traditions.

Keep these tips in mind when planning a beach / destination wedding:

1) Chose a location that’s close to or connected with a resort or hotel.

Beach weddings do require some setup so it’s best to pick a location that’s close to a resort or hotel that offers these services. A remote beach in the middle of nowhere may sound romantic, but if you’re suddenly hit by bad weather, a guest becomes ill, or you need something you forgot to bring – having a hotel nearby can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major issue.

2) Book at least a year in advance. 

Unless you’re planning an extremely small wedding – and you get lucky with booking availability – it’s best to book your destination wedding at least a year in advance. Popular beaches and resorts fill up extremely quickly and are often booked close to capacity long before your planned wedding date. Booking well in advance also gives your guests the opportunity to save for the trip and shop for items they plan on bringing with them.

3) Remember your guests when booking. 

It’s a good idea to book a block of rooms, preferably all located on the same floor or area of a hotel or resort. This ensures that there’s rooms reserved for everyone and everyone stays in the same, general area.

4) Chose your time of day wisely. 

Try to arrange a morning or early evening wedding ceremony. This will ensure that the sun is not directly overhead or high on the horizon, which can be extremely uncomfortable for you and your guests. This is particularly important if your not accustomed to tropical sun which can be a lot more intense and potentially dangerous than the intensity of the sun where you live. 

5) Keep your guests comfortable. 

If you’re renting a tent, consider having fans installed and cold drinks circulated to ensure that your guests stay cool and refreshed. Having small paper fans or even hand-held battery-powered fans is worth considering. These could even be personalized and be the favour from your wedding.

6) Keep your guests safe. 

Consider making bug spray and sun screen readily available at the location. This is especially important for guests with lighter skin tones who may react adversely to harsh, tropical sun. If your ceremony is more than 15-20 minutes in length, go out of your way to advise your guests to apply sunscreen ahead of time. Applying sunscreen after is bad sunburn is too little too late!

7) Be aware of the local regulations. 

Some destination locations require you to purchase a permit or license to hold a beach wedding. Be aware of this when planning your wedding. It’s a good idea to hire a wedding planner who’s familiar with the culture and traditions of your location to avoid any unforeseen headaches. Additionally, make sure you have all required documentation in order to obtain a valid marriage license.

8) Can you hear me now? 

Consider having a sound system installed to pick up and broadcast your voices to your guests. If your day happens to be windy, your guests may not be able to hear the ceremony or the exchange of your vows.

9) Oh! What a relief it is! 

Make sure that washroom facilities are relatively close to your location. If you happen to choose an out of the way spot, consider renting portable washrooms if available. 

10) Brides – wear appropriate footwear.

You may look stunning in high heels, but high heels are extremely awkward on sand! Ensure you chose appropriate footwear for a beach wedding.

11) Don’t forget a photographer!

What good is a romantic, destination wedding if you don’t have stunning photographs to remember your day? Local photographers may not deliver the quality you expect. Many couples bring an established, professional photographer with them to ensure their wedding memories are preserved and presented in a style that moves them. Consider finding a photographer you love and booking them for your destination wedding.