Photo: Mat + Ash Photography
Despite what you think, "planning a beach wedding is certainly not a breeze," says Aviva Samuels, destination wedding planner and owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Florida. "Albeit picturesque and romantic, a beach setting creates a host of complications that you'll definitely want to be aware of." Here are three such things.
1. There may be gusty winds.
Of course you understand your oceanside ceremony will come complete with beach breeze. "But depending on the venue's location, the time of year, the direction the wind is coming from, and the tides, the wind on your wedding day could become a real issue," warns Samuels. "It's easy to overlook potential problems when you are mesmerized by the beauty of the beach, but it's important to be realistic and prepared for whatever mother nature may bring."
What mother nature may bring could include anything from a natural windblown look to sand burns. "Windblown is a nice look if you are riding in your convertible wearing your favorite sundress and sipping on an iced frappe. But on the day of your wedding, the wind can un-do a great up-do and wreak havoc on your foundation, lashes and lips," says Samuels. So pick a hairstyle that will hold up well and finish it off with a powerful hairspray. And to prevent sand hitting you and your guests straight in the face, "consider setting up windscreens," Samuels says.
2. You can't use any ol' decor.
Warns Samuels, "Choose wisely when it comes to beach decor." Why? Thanks to those unpredictable winds, "you'll need to tie down programs and favors to the chairs if you plan to distribute them during the ceremony," Samuels explains. Something like an arch or chuppah draped in fabric will "act as a sail during windy conditions and could potentially make the entire structure fall over or blow away."
Reinforce any structures by digging posts deep into the sand, "so they are braced as well as possible," Samuels says. "If you go with an arch or arrangements on pillars, make sure they are weighty enough to maintain stability no matter what the wind factor. Hire a reliable company to handle the decor and make sure that they have had experience in the past with dealing with strong wind conditions."
3. Sand erosion could strike your site.
You're choosing your wedding venue months before your wedding date, making it impossible to predict the sand conditions when the big day finally comes. "Come the week or day of the wedding, it is possible that the tides will have washed away a good portion or all of the beach that you intended to stand on and say your vows," says Samuels.
So, "when you begin the process of choosing a location, take a look at the expanse of the sand from the waterline to gauge whether or not beach erosion may become an issue," Samuels advises. "If that distance is expansive, you may be less likely to have a problem." With a severe storm, however, anything is possible. "If you have booked a beach location that is part of a hotel, find out if that venue will dredge the sand at their expense, should extreme erosion occur," says Samuels. "Always have a backup location for your ceremony in case mother nature throws a curve ball at your plans."