The Ultimate Beach Wedding Planning Guide

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A tropical wedding on a beautiful beach is a dream that’s shared by many engaged couples all over the world. The sound of waves crashing in the background, the sand between your toes, and a tropical setting that is truly paradise. If you’re planning your own beach wedding, then this guide is for you.

We will go over everything from picking suitable wedding venues to choosing the right wedding packages. We will also give you some tips on how to set up your ceremony and reception to make sure you’ve got the basics covered. And of course, we will answer any questions you may have about having a wedding on the beach.

Let’s get started!

beachfront dining palm cove wedding

Choosing a Beach Wedding Venue

There are many factors to consider when choosing a tropical wedding venue. The first thing you need to do is decide on is location. Are you looking to bring your nearest and dearest for a trip of a lifetime to your chosen tropical destination wedding location, or are you planning something more local?. Are you after something quiet and intimate on an isolated beach or a more festive and tropical setting for your guests to enjoy?

Here are a couple of points to consider when choosing a beach wedding venue:

Access to the beach– You want to make sure that the venue is easily accessible to you, your guests, and your hired professionals (photographers or make-up artists). Avoid locations that require a long walk to access the beach.

Size of the Beach – This is important if you are planning on having a large wedding. You need to make sure that there is enough space for everyone. Some beach wedding ceremonies can have hundreds of guests, so make sure there’s a spot for everyone coming.
If you have hundreds of guests, you need to make sure there’s a spot for everyone coming.

Amenities – If you are choosing an isolated beach location, keep in mind that there will probably be no toilet amenities close by. Having the ceremony location within a short walking distance to your hotel/resort alleviates this issue.

Cost – Getting married on the beach usually means that you will need to hire equipment for your ceremony space – think chairs, arbours and aisle runners. Beach setups range from simple to extravagant, so go through your package and don’t be afraid to ask to remove or add items as required.
Weather – although we all dream of a magical balmy, sunny day for our Beach Wedding, unfortunately, that is not always the case. It’s important that you have a covered and protected backup option for both your ceremony and reception.

Once you have considered all of these factors, shortlist some potential beach locations and reach out to nearby wedding companies, resorts or hotels to see if they offer wedding and reception packages for your particular area of the beach.

Choosing a Beach Wedding Package

Now that you have chosen your beach wedding venue, it is time to start looking at packages.
Most resorts and hotels will offer basic packages that will include a celebrant, basic beach ceremony set-up and a simple reception. You can than source and arrange your own additional options such as:

  • Photography and videography
  • Florals
  • Cake etc.

Alternatively, look for resorts and wedding companies that offer more comprehensive inclusive packages as these often work out to be better value. More importantly, they also often include the services of a wedding planner. . Wedding planners from these venues know how to have a beach wedding,and will be your guide through the whole process – from picking the best vendors to helping you keep track of your budget.

beach wedding ceremony

Setting Up Your Beach Wedding Ceremony

You have chosen your venue and package, it’s time to nail down the specifics. Do you want sand between your toes, or do you prefer a grassed foreshore area with a more sure footing? Keep in mind that arbours, flower walls and other decorations need to be secured to the ground so whether this is in soft sand or hard ground, it’s an important detail that your stylist needs to know.

Some other things to consider when setting up your beach wedding ceremony include:

Time of the Day – In tropical locations, try to avoid the middle of the day – you want the temperature to be comfortable for everyone. Take into consideration how the wedding photos will look. Do you prefer the dramatic colours a late afternoon ceremony offers, or the more bright and vibrant colours of a mid-morning ceremony? Consider the start time of your reception and try and time it so that guests will seamlessly move from post-ceremony group photos to pre-reception drinks.

Ceremony seating – Beach weddings are, by nature, informal. Having enough seating for close family and friends, with younger guests standing at the back, is the norm for larger groups. Not having rows and rows of seating will work best with your overall beach set-up look.

Music – Whether you are having live musicians or pre-recorded music, keep in mind that a power source will not always be available at your chosen location. Most celebrants will have a portable speaker that you can piggyback your playlist to, but if not, consider if you need to rent an appropriate system suitable for your group size.

Creating the Perfect Beach Wedding Reception

After you have exchanged vows and said your “I do’s”, it is time to celebrate! Your beach wedding reception is where you and your guests will eat, drink, and be merry. There are many things to take into consideration if you are planning a beach reception: are you after a sit-down, formal affair, or a more casual cocktail style reception? Can your caterer or resort offer these options at your chosen location? Is there good access for hire companies to bring in furniture and styling items? Is there a power source to run lighting? Here are a few points to consider (keep in mind, if you have a wedding planner, they will take care of all of these details for you)::

Local laws and licensing – Check with the local council regarding the laws, regulations and permits required to hold a reception in your prefered location. Make sure your caterer holds the appropriate off-site licenses for the service of food and alcohol for that particular area. If you are arranging your reception through a nearby resort, they should take care of these legalities for you.

Access – Get your stylist, hire company, caterer, musicians etc. to do a re-con of your preferred location to ensure that equipment can be delivered without a hitch. Remember, for a beach reception, it is likely that most things will need to be brought in via a midsize truck.

Power – Is there power at the reception location for lighting, music and catering? If not, consider acoustic musicians and battery powered lighting.

Music – Most beachside reception locations are going to be located in a residential area, and as such, noise restrictions and cut-off times will apply. A good tip is to schedule amplified speeches and karaoke-style music earlier on in the evening, and stick to acoustic style music for later. As a general rule, noise restrictions in residential areas normally kick in at around 10pm. If you know your guests are going to want to kick on partying until the early hours, arrange in advance with a near-by venue and let them know your approximate group size and arrival time so that they can arrange staff accordingly.

Lighting – Outdoor lighting is not only essential for a beach reception, but it brings the “wow” factor to your setup. From festoon to fairy lights and everything in-between are normally available to hire. Going through a specialist lighting company will ensure that all electrical safety regulations are followed

Get Your Dream Beach Wedding

Planning a tropical wedding can be a lot of work, but it is definitely worth it! By following these tips, you can be sure that your big day will be everything you have ever dreamed of. Download a brochure now to see our wedding venue features and all-inclusive wedding packages. Better yet, contact us today and we’ll provide you with an expert wedding planner who will make your wedding preparation as stress-free as possible.

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