Planning a beach wedding is an unforgettable experience that you will remember forever. There are numerous steps to getting ready for your big day, so being prepared and knowing what to anticipate is critical. With the proper checklist, you can plan your wedding in just 3 months. We have put together the ultimate checklist of things you need to do before getting married on the beach!
You need to think about the ceremony and what you want at your wedding. A beach is a good place for a wedding because it is outside and there are lots of places to go on the beach. Interestingly, it is also a great place to host your bridal shower.
But don’t worry. We have you covered. A beach wedding can be hard to plan, so we have put together a checklist that will help you with the planning of your “celebration on the sand.” The checklist has all the details and questions that may come up for you- all in one place!
Beach Wedding Permits
A permit is not always required to have a wedding on a beach. But if you want to reserve a bunch of space or have many guests, you will need one. Think about where you want your wedding and then ask these questions:
- Is it necessary to obtain a permit to organize a wedding at the beach? Small marriages are permitted on some beaches. These are first-come, first-served. But many public beaches require a permit regardless of the number of guests.
- What is the cost of a permit if the beach does require one, and are there any extra fees? Some permits have an application fee that you can’t get back. If you have a lot of guests, you might need to pay more.
- How is the permit fee structured? Is the charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for the whole event?
- How far ahead of time must the permit be filed for approval? Some beaches give permits. You can get these permits for up to a year in advance. So if you want one, start getting them early!
- What is the size of the beach area covered by the permit? If you did not specify how much space you would like for your party, ask the staff how much they have reserved. It usually depends on your guest count.
- Will liability insurance be required? Some places ask you to get liability insurance with the city’s name on it.
- What is the maximum number of individuals that the permit allows? This includes the people you are having at your wedding, including your bridesmaids, officiant, photographers, and other vendors.
TIP: If you are confused about permits, you should hire someone who does wedding planning. They will take care of the permits and other things for your wedding so you can spend time relaxing.
Beach Ceremony Logistics
You might have to deal with many people coming to the public beach. They could come at the same time as your ceremony. You should make sure you know what is going on that day and then plan your ceremony accordingly.
- Are there any dates that are off-limits? Many beaches don’t allow weddings during holidays like the 4th of July.
- Is it possible to book a specific period for our ceremony? Plan your beach wedding ceremony to have the best light for photos.
- Are our delivery trucks allowed near the ceremony site? If not, are there loading/unloading zones nearby? Some people may not be allowed to drive their cars on the beach. If this is the case, everything will need to be carried.
- Is the ceremony site handicap accessible? If not, ask if they will rent you a golf cart to drive people who cannot walk.
- Is it possible to cordon off the area we intend to use? Beach weddings are open to the public, so you might be able to get privacy by roping off a room.
- How much time do we have to set up before the event begins? Nothing compares to attempting to shoo sunbathers away as the clock ticks down to ceremony time!
Beach Wedding Restrictions
Public beaches have a lot of rules to protect the environment. Sometimes people can’t use things like confetti and balloons at the beach. However, you must adhere to the restrictions, so learn before going.
- Is amplified sound permitted? Is there a limit to the noise level? Sometimes you need to make your speaker face the ocean.
- Is there a power source available? Is it possible to bring in a generator if not?
- Is alcohol allowed? Most public beaches do not let people drink alcohol.
- Are pets allowed? There is a “No Pets” policy on many public beaches. So if you want your dog to be your ring bearer, you will need to find out if that is allowed.
- Are bonfires or open flames allowed? If not, consider using a flameless LED lantern to light up your event.
- Is there a maximum size limit for tents or canopies? If you are getting married on a hot day, consider adding shade with a tent or canopy.
Life’s A Beach
Mother nature can also be a beach. Be sure to consider the following:
- When is high tide? You might want to avoid the waves that happen at your wedding.
- What’s the forecast? If it is predicted to rain, you need a plan.
- How windy will it be? You may need to protect your decorations from the wind. You should weigh down the decorations that are too big. And do not wear a long veil!
- How noisy will our site be? On a beach, there are loud waves and wind. The sound system should be set up so that everyone can hear the vows.
- Is there any shade, and how hot will it be? You are probably used to wearing a swimsuit at the beach. But you might not be used to wearing a suit and tie, which many of your guests will be wearing. If there is no shaded area, consider renting or buying a canopy. You can offer parasols to any guests who would like some shade from the sun.
- How crowded will the beach be? A beach wedding is not private. If you want to avoid many people, try to have the wedding when it’s not summer.
- What’s the bug situation? Some insects that are near seaweed are nasty. It is best to have your ceremony away from them.
- Sand. Keep some towels and baby powder nearby so that you can get sand off before you go to the reception.
TIP: Another thing to consider is whether or not your bouquet and accompanying flowers should be waterproof. Many flowers don’t like the sun. You want them to stay nice for your photos.
Beach Wedding Receptions
If you want a beach ceremony and a reception on the sand, that will be more difficult. You cannot party on the sand in many places. So we suggest that if you want to do it, then say “I do” on the sand and then move to an oceanfront venue for your reception. But if you want the sand and tables for your reception, ask these questions:
- Is a beach reception allowed? There are certain beaches where only weddings may be held.
- Is cooking permitted on the beach? While you may dine almost everywhere, many beaches forbid cooking on the sand.
- Can my caterer bring in food? They may be able to cook food with a Special Event Permit, but keep in mind that there may not be a kitchen or prep location accessible.
- Are there table décor restrictions? You’ll need to consider whether beaches allow glass, as some don’t. You may want to use plastic vases and cups instead of glass if this is the case.
- Is live music allowed? Although some beaches ban amplified live music, they may allow background music played via speakers.
- One more time—is alcohol allowed? Probably not, but Google “Top U.S. Beaches to Legally Drink” to find out where the best beaches in the United States are that allow drinking.
- Is there a curfew? Before the beach closes, be sure to leave a cushion of time to gather your belongings and clean up any trash.
Prep Your Guests
High heels and sand do not mix. Let guests know what to wear at your wedding and what to expect.
- Create a wedding website to highlight additional details about the day. Include a suggested dress code (e.g., “beach chic” or “summer casual”), as well as a note about the expected weather, in your welcome email. Depending on the forecast, mention bringing sunglasses, sunblock, paper fans, a hat, sweater, etc. Also, let your female attendees know about the sand situation ahead of time so they may choose to wear wedges or flats instead of stilettos!
- Pick the perfect save-the-dates and invitations for your wedding. Make sure that they match the style of your beach bash.
- Consider giving out beach swag. You can give a welcome basket to people as they come into your ceremony. Put things that might make people feel good on the beach in the basket, like water or sunblock.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Ultimate Beach Wedding Checklist
On a public beach, a do-it-yourself beach wedding could cost anything from $200 to $2,000. The number of guests and your kind of ceremony will change the price. A local beach wedding package can range from $200 to $5,000.
If you want to get married at a public place like a beach or your local park, you must make sure that the place is legal.
Best cheap places to get married: Martinique, Dominica, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Tulum, Cozumel, Curacao and Puerto Vallarta.
The average wedding cost is $22,500. This includes the price of things you might need for your wedding. It varies based on what you want to do and how much you spend. That is why it is important to plan ahead who is responsible for paying particular expenses in your wedding.
A beach wedding is typically free or cheap to do. If it isn’t, you might have to pay for a permit that could cost from $30-$300. Once you decide on the location, plan the exact location. Mexico, Hawaii, and Jamaica are the most affordable beach locations.
Many couples get married at the city hall court, the Mayor’s office, or a marriage registry. But some people get married in other places like a garden, a beach resort, or even at their home.
Check out this website for more information on beach wedding planning and other related topics.