Tips for a Successful Beach Wedding

Prep Your Guests

Make sure your guests know that the wedding is actually on the sand, so they can dress appropriately. This can be communicated with the invitation (included with the map/directions), on your wedding website and through word-of-mouth.

  • Feet Beau Coup Wedding Favors wedding flip flopsSome beachy couples are providing a “shoe valet” where guests can trade out their Ferragamo pumps for casual flip-flops—which you can have personalized with the couples name and wedding date (See Another nice touch is to have a de-sanding station—soft bristled paint brushes are a fun way to wipe the sand from between your toes!
  • Eyes Remember, your beach site most likely faces west, so your guests will be gazing into the sun as it sets. Make sure everyone knows to bring sunglasses, hats, visors—you don’t want them squinting at you the entire time!
  • Weather Stephanie Brockman Photography. Tattooed Bride on beachRemind your guests to bring appropriate wraps, in case it gets chilly. It’s not a bad plan to have sweaters, shawls, sweatshirts or even blankets on hand, should Cousin Ann show up without her pashimina. Alternatively, if it’s a high-noon ceremony in August, providing cool drinks (you can even order your own private-label bottled water!) and paper fans (we love them printed with wedding programs) would make guests more comfortable.

Dress Code

  • A beach wedding is not the ideal milieu for a formal ballgown or chapel train. Whether you opt for a tropical island sheath or a demure slip-dress, take advantage of the heaps of stylish fashions available to set a coastal mood. Light fabrics, such as sheer silks and chiffons, have a nice fluid movement to them, yet still look dressy.
  • If you’re having a platform set up as a wedding aisle, then your satin pumps will be fine. Otherwise, consider sandals…or why not go barefoot? With the pearls, Swarovski crystals and bejeweled barefoot sandals found at, you’ll look both dressy and casual. You can put on your high heels for the reception. Balboa Inn bride and groom on beach
  • And don’t forget your own wrap—a filmy stole, lacy shawl or faux-fur capelet makes an elegant cover-up while keeping gooseflesh at bay.
  • Loose, flowing hair may suit your free-spirited style, but if strong breezes are a-blowin’, you could be battling strands in your teeth or curls sticking to your lip gloss. Instead, select a wedding hairstyle that has at least the front part of your hair off your face. Loosely arranged up-dos are also a lovely choice.

Have a Back-up Plan

We know: it never rains in Southern California…except when it does. Sometimes it’s the wind that makes things unbearable. It’s best to always have a foul-weather option—a tent or indoor shelter—if only for your peace of mind.

Details, details

  • Check with your venue or wedding coordinator to make sure you’ve applied for the proper beach permits, if required.
  • The sound of the crashing surf can be so atmospheric…and also noisy! Most venues will be able to provide electricity, so you can have a microphone for the officiant. Under The Chuppah
  • For an intimate wedding of, say, 20 or so guests, it’s fine to have them gather around the couple during a brief ceremony. Otherwise you’ll want to arrange for seating.
  • Luckily, your setting is so picturesque that you won’t need to add décor. But an arch or chuppah makes a nice focal point. Many venues have these available or know where you can rent them.
  • Be aware, most beach sites are public. If you want complete privacy, rent beachfront restaurant or hotel, or an oceanview private estate.

Read more about beach weddings.


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