Beach Weddings: What You Need to Know

 

A few of the most commonly overlooked details when planning an outdoor wedding are the things you can't control: The wind, the sun, the tide and potential rain. 

But, remember, even though you can't change the wind, you can adjust the sails!

I wrote this blog post to help spark some useful ideas in your mind that you may not have thought of yet, but every beach bride needs consider.

Enjoy! Feel free to reach out with any questions!

 

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Planning a wedding is hard.

There are so many things to think about, from the invitations, cake, decorations, dj, the dress, nail polish color, matching bridesmaid robes... No, but seriously- It's a big deal, before you add the uncertainty of nature into the equation. 

That doesn't mean an outdoor wedding should be avoided though. If you are like me, there is nowhere else more holy than nature, the outdoors, and especially the beach. Beach weddings, done right, can be so beautiful. 

Or they can be an absolute mess, when poorly planned. 

An outdoor ceremony involves so many other elements that you need to think about, besides the considerations of your typical, indoor wedding. 


Wind

Ahhh, wind. That whimsical, carefree look it can produce...  A light breeze gives you something like this photo, feathering your dress out like a fairytale.  But, a little bit goes a long way....

A strong wind can destroy your hair in pictures. It also makes vows almost inaudible to your guests, and can wreak havoc on your beautiful decorations and flowers.

If it looks like the wind is going to be whippin' on your big day, here are some tips that might help mitigate some of the issues you may face:

  • Doing your hair up instead of down can help minimize the wind-blown effect in pictures.
  • If you have your hair down, try to face the wind so your hair drags behind you instead of in your face for portraits
  • Definitely consider an amplifier and microphone so that your guests can hear your vows
  • If it is a cold wind, consider chatting with the officiant beforehand about keeping it short and sweet, so that you and your guests don't suffer through the entire ceremony shivering.

Sun and Heat

The bright and vibrant photos you get from an outdoor wedding (especially on the beach) are absolutely stunning. 

There are, however, a few things you should definitely consider.

  • Heat. I have seen a groomsman in a full formal suit faint from the heat mid-ceremony. Needless to say, the ceremony was quickly rushed to an end to the relief of all the guests who were also sweltering in their Sunday's finest. Noon in July in the South is almost an obvious recipe for disaster. Always check out the local average temperatures for the area and the time of day you are considering.
  • The sun can create ugly raccoon eye shadows, squinty eyes, sweat-slicked foreheads, and other unsightly consequences for photos. If you stick to the later afternoon hours, there is usually a softer light and a fresher temperature
  • Side-note: Cake icing melts surprisingly fast. Once it starts to go, there is no turning back. If you are having an outdoor reception and your cake does start to slide apart, you may want to have a "Quick! Cut the cake!" back up plan.
  • Second Side-note: Don't soak up the sun too much the day before your wedding and end up with a terrible sunburn in all of your pictures.
Note Bride's arm. She had her Destination Wedding in Costa Rica, and got a terrible, uneven sunburn the day before her wedding while doing a bridesmaids Zumba class under the mid-day tropical sun. Too much of a good thing... :)

Note Bride's arm. She had her Destination Wedding in Costa Rica, and got a terrible, uneven sunburn the day before her wedding while doing a bridesmaids Zumba class under the mid-day tropical sun. Too much of a good thing... :)


If you have the option, you might want to consider a late afternoon ceremony.

Check out what time sunset is, and see about having either the end of the ceremony or couples portraits to occur right before sundown, during the Golden Hour. The light is absolutely magical at this time of day. 


Tide and Rain

I had a bride show up an hour late to her own ceremony one time.

The wedding planner (who was also in charge of the arch decorations) had overlooked the small detail of the rising tide. I think it may have also been a full moon or something, because the tide did come up quite quickly, and before long, as we sat waiting for the tardy bride, the waves approached closer and closer, until, mid-ceremony, the couple was standing in water up to their ankles. 

As for rain, I hear it's good luck if it rains on your wedding day. :)

However, you may want to have a backup plan unless you are ok with your wedding photos looking like the cover shot to the movie The Notebook. :-D


So in a nutshell, beach weddings are a fun, beautiful, natural roll-of-the-dice, and you have to be ready to roll with the punches. Come prepared, with a good attitude, and a decent dose of flexibility if you need to use your back-up plan. And remember, the most important thing is you are getting married, enjoy it!!


Are you planning a beach wedding? 

 
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Hi! I'm Brittany. I specialize in photographing beach weddings, and other outdoor venues.

But, what I do goes beyond just taking photos- I also help my brides develop their day-of timelines to aim for the most comfortable, photogenic time for their ceremony. 

If you are planning a beach wedding and would like some guidance, click the button below to set up a time to chat!

 

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