Your long flowing locks blowing in the breeze, the sunset on your face, and the warm sand beneath your feet...creating the perfect beach wedding. Right? Not always the case...if you don't plan ahead. While having a beach wedding is a relaxed, fun alternative to a traditional wedding, the truth is, there are many factors to take into consideration when planning one, especially in Los Angeles. Here is a list of helpful tips on how to have a successful beach wedding in LA.
Private or Public
A private beach is always nice for a wedding, but chances are you might not know someone with a private piece of oceanfront Malibu property—or you're finding a private beach that costs more money than you can imagine. The plus side of using a private beach is getting around city permits, having a ceremony anytime without fear of crowds, and setting up a beautiful ceremony site without hassle. If it isn't in the cards due to logistics or budget, however, there is always the option of having a ceremony on a public beach—but with more regulations and laws to follow.
Permits and Insurance
The beaches in L.A. are public (unless you own a private beach in Malibu), so the city will require you to buy a beach permit and insurance. Before you do this, you'll need to contact the Department of Beaches and Harbors to reserve your wedding date and time (which must be submitted a minimum of two weeks before the actual date). Expect to pay this fee in advance—along with a refundable deposit. An original insurance certificate will also need to be issued, but don't worry—the department can provide a list of insurance providers to make it easier.
Time of Day
L.A. beaches can be busy year-round, so it's important to consider scheduling a beach wedding in the later afternoon or early evening when the crowds die down. Not only will there be fewer people around, but there will also be (weather permitting!) a beautiful sunset—perfect for stunning portraits on the beach!
When sending invitations, be sure to notify guests that the ceremony will be on the beach, and as such, they should dress accordingly. Heels aren't recommended, but in the case that some guests still arrive unprepared, you may want to offer flip flops as a favor. Your guests' shoes (and feet!) will be thanking you.
No one wants to be blinded by the light! Depending on the time of day you get married, shade and direct sunlight can affect your wedding ceremony. If it's bright outside, consider having umbrellas or parasols set up for guests to use.
If getting married in L.A., it's most likely going to be a hot (or at least warm) day, and there's nothing worse than guests having to sit, parched, for an hour in the hot sun. Set up a water station for guests—and have fun with it—add fruit and veggie-infused water and fun straws to make it a picture-worthy detail.
Even though you'll be doing a sun dance for the weeks before your wedding, always have a backup plan for an outdoor wedding—especially a beach wedding. Even though rain in SoCal is rare, it does exist—and the last thing you want is to have your nuptials ruined by the weather. Always have a back-up plan of where you can host the wedding indoors in case of rain or wind!