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June 20, 2023 3 min read


The thought of warm sand and an ocean breeze makes your heart skip a beat. It’s the only place you can picture for your wedding but may require extra creativity. Here’s how to plan a beach wedding without missing any crucial details.

1. Start Planning Extra Early


Experts estimate there will be over 2.24 million weddings in 2023. All those couples will need venues, and many will likely dream of the same beach ceremony you do. Start planning as early as possible to secure your preferred date. Pick a beachfront venue at least six months to a year out so you’ll have an easier time getting married on your chosen date.

2. Check for Local Permit Requirements


Cities and towns require a certified wedding license before you can get married. It makes your union legal, but you’ll have to get the paperwork for the state where your ceremony will happen.


Places like New Jersey require out-of-state couples to apply for a license for a beach wedding, while residents can use one from whichever city they call home. Other states have different requirements and steps, like applying in person or attending a virtual conference call before getting the license by mail.


Don’t forget that licenses have expiration dates. Look for 30-day to six-month expirations before applying for a license in the weeks or months leading up to your ceremony. If you need help, call the county or state’s Register of Deeds office to ask any questions you might have before filing your paperwork.

3. Have Fun With the Theme

A beach wedding theme can be so fun to plan. Keep the fun vibes going after the ceremony by incorporating beachy elements into your reception. A blue and tan color scheme can recreate the feeling in any reception venue. You can opt for tropical floral arrangements with seashell accents.

For your menu, consider serving seafood native to your destination. Better yet, go all-out with your signature cocktails. Pina coladas and margaritas are classic beach beverages. If you want something a big more unique, try a gimlet, which combines floral gin, lime juice, cucumber and basil. It’s sure to refresh you and your guests after being out in the sun. 

4. Keep Your Guests Cool


Although you’ll feel like you’re floating through your wedding day, your guests may get anxious while they sit in the sun. They’ll want to cool off during and after your ceremony. Providing fans at each chair and ice-cold water during your ceremony are two easy ways to help them.


Consider crafting your reception menu around the beach weather as well. Even if it happens indoors, your guests will appreciate cooling off with a refreshing beverage and dining on cold salads after an afternoon in the sun.

5. Consider an Off-Season Date


Research each region’s off-season if you have difficulty finding an available beach for your preferred date. The least number of tourists will be in town, so venues will likely have more availability.


As you research your favorite beaches, remember that the off-season will likely be outside the main summer months. You may need to move to a spring, fall or winter wedding, depending on your preferred location.

6. Provide Free Sunscreen


Your guests may become preoccupied with packing reception clothes and wedding gifts before leaving home. They might forget to pack sunscreen for your ceremony. Instead of hoping people don’t get sunburns, provide free bottles of lotion or spray sunscreen at your venue. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant formula with a rating of 30 SPF to provide 30 times the coverage against ultraviolet (UV) rays.

7. Create a Backup Plan


Beaches are gorgeous getaways, but they’re also hot, humid environments. This makes thunderstorms more likely. Your wedding won’t get derailed if you have a backup plan for rain. Work with your venue coordinator to plan an indoor space or outdoor tent big enough for all your guests if the weather doesn’t stay sunny.


You might also need a hurricane plan depending on which beach you choose. The beach won’t be safe until after the storm passes. An effective strategy will have a secondary date a month or two after your wedding in case of emergency. Depending on your finances, you can always host your wedding at home or your original venue.

Enjoy Planning Your Beach Wedding


Anyone can plan a beach lovely and memorable wedding if they remember these essential tips. Consider potential challenges like other couples booking your date or the weather changing last minute. You’ll come up with everything you need to host your dream ceremony at the most beautiful place in the world.