Nothing says "destination wedding" like a barefoot ceremony in the sand. After all, if you're inviting your guests to the islands of Hawaii or the coast of Mexico, why not make the most of the stunning locale? But getting married on the beach requires that couples think about things that a bride anywhere else might not need to consider (sunscreen, anyone?). For those things you can't forget if you're saying "I do" in the sand, we turned to Carolee Higashino, owner of Hawaii's White Orchid Wedding, to give us some expert insight.
Veils and wind don't mix.
A gentle breeze catching your veil is one thing, but ocean-front weddings often mean a steady sea breeze that could send your veil flying. "Consider a floral crown or a vintage embellishment instead," says Higashino. "Or skip the headpiece and simply accent your hair with fresh flowers."
Opt for an updo.
"Unless you're looking for that whimsical, tousled look, you'll want your hair up and off your face," Higashino explains. As a bonus, an updo will keep your neck cool in warmer temperatures. If you really want your hair down, consider having the front pieces pulled back so you still look fab in photos.
Sand can be scorching.
Most brides choose to go barefoot if they're having a ceremony on the beach, but that sand can get HOT over the course of a sunny day. "Do a site inspection at the same time of day as your ceremony is scheduled to see if you can bear going without shoes," Higashino advises. If it's too toasty, a pair of wedges or flat sandals will keep you from burning your toes, or an aisle and altar area covered in woven mats will keep your feet cool.
Timing is critical.
Early morning or sunset ceremonies are best, for both the light and the temperature. "Check with your photographer — they'll definitely have a voice in what time you should plan for," says Higashino. "And remember that not all beaches have sunset views. The leeward side of the island will boast beautiful sunsets, while the windward side will have gorgeous light but not the views of the sun actually going down."
Bring a few umbrellas.
When the weather is nice, there's nothing better than an open beach, but if the weather turns, you're left without a backup. "I also recommend wooden parasols to use for shade from the sun," Higashino adds.
Know your requirements.
In Hawaii and some other states, beach use is regulated and a permit is required in order to have a wedding on the beach. "Permits aren't usually too hard to come by, but you do need insurance so it's best to use a planner," Higashino explains. She also advises that you pay attention to what the permit allows, because you may not be able to set up the floral arch or chairs you'd hoped for.