Beach wedding ceremonies are a popular romantic alternative to the more traditional church nuptials. Guests will love your outdoorsy flair and breathtaking details as you plan the beach wedding of your dreams.
The Advantage of Beach Wedding Ceremonies
While beach ceremonies have become more popular over the years, they are still less common than church and garden weddings. Especially if you live in a landlocked state, a beach destination can be romantic and fun for your guests as well. If you grew up next to the ocean, your nuptials can still be special, including a backdrop of a location special to you and your fiancé – perhaps a strip of beach you walked on a first date, or the spot where he proposed. Whatever the symbolism, a favorite spot on the beach will provide you with special memories and great shots for the photo album that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Beach weddings are also great for planning a wedding on a small budget. If you can’t spend a lot, you can coordinate your wedding yourself on certain beaches. Some towns just require a permit or two in order to be married at the ocean, and you will be spared the shocking fees charged by other wedding ceremony and reception sites that other couples choose.
Beach Wedding Altars
Now that you have decided to have your wedding on the beach, you will want to take décor into consideration. Chances are, you’ll want something that falls in between the classifications of casual and formal, and a detailed wedding altar is one way to achieve that perfect ambiance. Since most beach wedding ceremonies are minimalistic, your altar will set the stage for the rest of the event’s theme.
Try to think of altars that fit both your personalities and the environment around you. Many brides choose for bamboo archways or incorporate other tropical outdoor life such as palms, large branches, or native flowers. Delicate swags of transparent fabric in your chosen wedding colors can also add to a beach wedding altar. Try a pale blue or lavender for the springtime, or a deep orange or vibrant red for an autumn event.
Moving Away from Churches and Civil Unions
One of the great pulls of beachside vows is how far it strays from traditional church or courthouse weddings. Even those who are religious often opt to leave the standard church affair in exchange for something different and memorable.
Beach ceremonies are different from church events in many ways. First, you usually have more freedom in choosing an officiant. Some churches require you to use their priest or pastor for your vows, while others may allow you to bring in someone else, as long as they are associated with the church’s specific denomination. For those who love their faith, but desire to have a close friend or family member officiate, this can pose a problem.
Also, church weddings often demand some sort of rental fee, be it for the ceremony itself or a cleaning deposit. Again, the fees vary from church to church, but sometimes couples run into fees they just cannot afford.
Church weddings also restrict your creativity. For example, few churches allow real rose petals to be scattered in the center aisle, as they stain carpeting and can pose a slipping danger to the procession – a liability some organizations do not want to be responsible for. You also may be limited in the size of your wedding party or certain music that you wish you have played, as it must be determined based on the size of the church’s alter and seating area.
Civil unions also fail to meet the details of many brides’ dreams. While some girls are no frills, many do dream of a romantic ceremony and reception a courthouse wedding just cannot provide. If your fiancé hopes for a casual day, the beach is a great compromise between a public office and a formal church event. Also, many couples choose a civil ceremony either because they are of different faiths and could not decide which heritage to honor, or they are getting married on a romantic whim. A beach wedding easily solves both problems, as you are free to celebrate each of your faiths in special ways and there is plenty of sand and sea available for spontaneous vow exchanges.
While getting married at the beach is a fun and freeing way to tie the knot, you will want to keep your guests’ comfort in mind. If you have elderly relatives, or a friend or family member who is wheelchair bound, make sure there is some way for them to get across the sand and into a front row spot for your vow exchange. A wooden ramp or walkway is a great solution to this difficulty. Also, mind the weather reports as much as you can when planning your big day. Risking your event during hurricane season is not attractive to either guests or your wedding attendants, so be reasonable in the month you select, and always have an indoor plan B.
Review your guest list and ceremony logistics with a close friend to cover all your bases, so you can ensure each and every loved one will enjoy your wedding day as much as you hope to.
Beach wedding ceremonies can be as unique or as traditional as you desire. If a sandy celebration is right for you, your wedding will be filled with wonderful memories as you sail away into married life.