The Ultimate Beach Wedding Checklist

So you want an actual toes-in-the-sand wedding, huh?

A bride and groom say their vows on the beach in Tulum, Mexico

Sean Cook Weddings

Unless you’re getting married at an oceanfront venue or privately-owned beach, there are a bunch of logistics you have to consider before plunking down your chuppah on public sand!

But don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. A beach wedding comes with some unique challenges, so we've put together The Ultimate Beach Wedding Checklist to make planning your "celebration on the sand" a bit easier. Below you'll find the nitty-gritty details and questions to ask—all in one place!

Newlyweds kiss in front of the ocean

Seven4one | Aevitas Weddings

Beach Wedding Permits

A permit isn't always required to have a wedding on a public beach. But, if you have a large guest count or want to reserve a section of the sand for a certain amount of time, you may need to obtain one. Before you set your heart on a particular beach for your wedding, do yourself a favor and ask the following questions:

TIP: If all this permit talk makes your head spin, then we have 4 words for you: Hire. A. Wedding. Planner! They’ll do all the leg work for you in terms of permits and logistical planning so you can relax and enjoy the ride.

A simple beach wedding ceremony setup overlooking the ocean

Key Largo Lighthouse Hidden Beach | His & Hers Creative

Beach Ceremony Logistics

A lot of pedestrian photo bombs is just one of the things you might have to contend with at a public beach. There may also be numerous scheduled activities including cleaning, construction, public events, etc. that could occur at the same time as your ceremony. With that in mind, find out what else is scheduled for that day and then plan your seaside ceremony accordingly. Here are some additional logistical questions to ask:

A beach wedding ceremony with a 'Shoes Optional' wooden sign

Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa | Life Long Studios

Beach Wedding Restrictions

Public beaches have pretty strict rules when it comes to protecting the oceanside environment. Things like confetti and streamers, helium balloons, glass, styrofoam, rice, and even faux flowers are usually prohibited. Respect any signage along the beach (such as Stay Off The Dunes or Don't Pick The Vegetation) and be sure to find out:

A tented beach wedding reception on the sand

KT Merry Photography

Life's A Beach

Mother Nature can be a beach, too. So be sure to consider the following:

TIP: Another thing that might need to be weather-proofed? Your bridal bouquet and other flowers. Many blooms don't take kindly to direct sunlight, and the last thing you want is wilted wedding flowers in your photos.

A natural bride with a tropical bouquet

De Joy Photography

Beach Wedding Receptions

Having a beach ceremony is one thing, but if you're dreaming of a seaside reception as well, you're in for a whole 'nother level of complexity. And in many cases, partying on the beach isn't even allowed. Our advice? Say "I Do" on the sand and then move the celebration to an oceanfront venue. That said, if your heart is set on an actual tables-in-the-sand reception, you'll need to ask the following questions:

Beach wedding ceremony under palm trees

Ashley Smith Events | BrittRene Photography

Prep Your Guests

High heels and sand don't mix, right? Find creative ways to let your guests know not only what to wear at your wedding, but what else to expect.

A neutral beach wedding invitation

Sean Cook Weddings | The Little Press

Want a toes-in-the-sand wedding venue? We got you, boo.

Photos: Seven4one • Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort • The Grand Hotel of Cape May

Collect all our checklists!

Big Picture Wedding Checklist | Ultimate Wedding Budget Checklist | Barn Wedding Checklist | Beach Wedding Checklist | Destination Wedding Checklist | Wedding Beauty Timeline

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