Helpful Hints and Tips to Plan the Sun-Soaked Wedding of Your Dreams

Dreaming of saying “I Do” with your toes in the sand and a beautiful sunset painting the sky? You’re not alone. For many couples the beach is the ultimate wedding venue. Beaches are loved for their amazing ambiance, casual vibe, minimal décor requirements – and those drop-dead gorgeous photos. But it’s not all smooth sailing. Planning a beach wedding has its own unique challenges.

Read on to plan the perfect beach wedding for you!

How much of your wedding day would you like to celebrate at the beach?

Do you picture saying your vows on the beach but having your first dance on something firmer than sand? Before you start looking at potential sites, you’ll want to have a clear idea of what elements are important to you (sit-down meal, dancing, live or canned music, open bar) and what those elements will require. You may choose to host one part of your wedding at the beach and another part at a separate location, or you may choose to go casual and host the whole day at the beach.

What type of beach provides the setting you desire?

Public beaches offer the most selection, but you will need to do your research. Local ordinances can affect what type of gatherings are allowed and permits may be required. Some beaches require special permits for alcohol. Some only allow large groups to set up on the beach during the off-season. A local wedding planner experienced with beach weddings can be a huge help with these arrangements.

Privately-owned beaches offer the highest amount of, well… privacy, but unless you have family friends willing to loan you their cabin, they can be hard to come by. Your best bet for the perfect beach venue is to look at vacation rentals or bed & breakfasts.

The good beach venues tend to book up fast. Any wedding planner will tell you to book your date and location first. You will want to book your beach wedding venue as far in advance as you can.

Where in the world is your wedding?

There’s amazing beaches all over and in many countries. Fitting the right one into you and your guests budget is something to consider.

How far are your guests (and you) willing to travel? Do you want something close to home? Or is the thought of a far-flung destination more appealing? Be specific and clear in your list of requirements and use this list to help narrow down your options until you find the perfect spot.

Beach-Specific Logistics to Consider

Lodging and Accessibility

Whether it’s for yourselves, your wedding party or your entire guest list, you’ll want to research what accommodation is available. If you choose to have your ceremony on the beach, but the reception elsewhere, you may want to look into beachside hotels, B&B’s or resorts. They can offer lodging for the wedding party or guests and a back-up ceremony location in case of inclement weather.

Is accessibility going to important for any of your guests? If so, you’ll want to scout out wheelchair ramps and consider ease-of-access from the parking area.

Tides and Weather

Beaches have busy seasons and quieter seasons. High season tends to be when the weather is most predictable. The downside is larger crowds, greater difficulty in getting some types of permits and higher rates at nearby accommodation. Low season is cooler, more unpredictable weather comes with greater privacy and more affordable accommodation. A happy medium can often be found in the shoulder seasons, typically spring and fall. Keep in mind that you can minimize temperature extremes by being strategic with timing. A sunset ceremony allows you to take advantage of the cool evening breezes, while a mid-afternoon ceremony maximizes the sun’s warming rays.

Beaches are constantly changing. A park or hotel may be exactly the same at 9am and 9pm, but the beach won’t be. A local tide chart can tell you well in advance what to expect on your chosen day. Beaches can be subject to windy seasons or dramatic tides, so make sure you are aware of the quirks of your chosen destination.

Back-up plans

Any type of outdoor wedding requires a back-up plan. Mother nature doesn’t always cooperate and no one needs last minute stress on their wedding day. Renting a tent is good insurance against light rain or baking temperatures. In the case of more extreme weather problems, you’ll want to have arranged in advance with a nearby indoor venue. That said, a beach wedding is meant to be casual. Even if you need to rain-delay for a couple hours, the rest of the day can still usually proceed as planned.

Looking for the perfect venue to host your beach wedding?

The Lodge at Weirs Beach is a gorgeous Victorian Manor-style house with private beach access. From our large ocean-view deck you can walk down onto one of Vancouver Island’s beautiful sand beaches. Our intimate, yet spacious venue, can sleep up to 12 people and is available for private bookings. We offer peaceful gardens, beach access, sweeping views – and are located only 30 minutes from Victoria, BC. Contact us today and find out how we can make your day unforgettable!

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