It’s time to start planning a beach wedding! Your beach wedding. What an exciting time! As you start looking into options and making plans for your wedding day, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t panic. That’s completely natural! There’s a lot going on and a lot to think about. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Relax. Breathe. And enjoy the process. Because (ideally) you’ll only get to do this once!
I’ve put together a list of 15 tips for planning a beach wedding. This will help you get started for your special day. Good luck!
1. Choose your destination
You know you want a beach wedding, right? But there are beautiful beaches all over the world! So how do you decide which location is right for you? Well… the best way to decide is to start looking into all of your options.
The Dominican Republic is amazing! (But I’m definitely biased on that one.) There’s also Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Belize. The list goes on and on!
Or maybe you want to venture to a whole different side of the world and check out Thailand, Bali, or the Philippines.
Rather stay close to home? Check out beaches in California, Florida, or South Carolina. The options are endless!
Do your research online. Check out photos, read reviews from past brides, and talk to friends and family if you haven’t visited the places yourself.
Then choose the destination that you connect with the most.
2. Consider the laws of your destination
Look into what is needed to make your marriage legal in the country you choose. Or consider getting married at home first and having a symbolic ceremony in your preferred destination. (Secret: This is what 90% of couples do.)
Aside from the paperwork, most beaches have specific rules and guidelines you must follow. Some may have a limit on the number of people allowed, while others do not allow alcohol or bonfires on the beach. These are all things to look into depending on the type of wedding you’re dreaming of.
3. Plan Your Guest List
Sit down with your fiance and write down all of the people who absolutely have to be at your wedding. Are you inviting the whole family? Or just your closest family and friends? It may help to write down everyone you can possibly think of, and then work backward to cut down your guest list.
In general, you can expect about half of the people you invite to attend your destination wedding.
4. Set a Budget
This goes hand in hand with your guest list as your budget is going to change depending on how many guests attend. Many venues will charge per guest – not just for food and drinks, but for decor and entertainment as well.
So figure out how much you’d realistically like to spend on your wedding. And be flexible. Understand that your budget may change when you start looking at wedding venues and vendors.
Also, consider if you’ll be paying for the entire wedding yourself. Or if you will have help from family and friends.
5. Choose Your Venue
Now we start getting to the fun stuff: Choosing your wedding venue! Decide whether you want to have your wedding at a resort, an outside venue, or at a private beach. Each has its pros and cons so start by looking into all the options and comparing pricing for all three.
Then decide which one you like best.
6. Set a Date
Maybe you want a fun, easy date to remember, like 2-2-22. Or you know you want to get married at a certain time of the year. Consider your guests and when would be a good time for everyone to take off work (or off of school if you’re inviting the kids).
And don’t forget to consider the weather! Technically, you can get married at any time of the year, but prepare for scorching heat or pouring rain depending on the season. If you’re looking for more mild weather, the spring is usually best in the Caribbean.
Also, be advised that some places offer better rates during low season.
7. Choose your Ceremony & Reception Locations
Depending on your venue, you may have tons of options to choose from for the ceremony, cocktail, and reception locations. Other venues may only have one location. So if that’s the case, just skip this step 😉
But if you’re faced with (what seems like) hundreds of options, take a deep breath first, and then start researching.
Check out photos of each and decide which one fits best depending on your group size and your personal preference.
Don’t forget about your older guests or guests with disabilities, and remember to consider accessibility.
8. Choose Your Food & Drink Menu
Do you want a buffet or plated dinner for your guests? What about a special cocktail crafted just for your wedding day? Check out the menu options, and decide what you want to serve on your wedding day.
Just a heads up: this will likely be the most expensive part of your wedding!
9. Hire Wedding Vendors
Here’s a list of the vendors you’ll want to hire while planning a beach wedding. Depending on your venue, they may already have some of these included.
- Wedding Planner
- Wedding Officiant
- Hair and Makeup Artist
- DJ and/or Live Band
- Cake Baker
- Transportation Company
You may also want to consider working with a travel agent to help you make travel plans for your entire group.
10. Invite Your Guests
You should send Save the Dates about 8 to 12 months before your wedding. This should give guests enough time to save money and make travel plans. You can send your formal wedding invitations about 2 to 3 months before your wedding date.
11. Start a Wedding Website
This is a crucial part of planning a beach wedding as you’ll be able to share important details with your guests and help them prepare for the trip.
Include dates and times for ALL of the wedding proceedings, including any events you have scheduled before or after the actual wedding day. Include hotel info, airport details, and transportation options. And be very specific!
It’s also a good idea to include some info about the destination itself. Your guests will appreciate the extra info!
12. Help Set Up Accommodations for Your Guests
This is where a travel agent can really come in handy. Ask for group rates depending on your group size.
Also, consider having a couple of different options when it comes to accommodations. Obviously it would be ideal for all of your guests to stay in one place, but remember that your guests have different financial capabilities and this might not always be possible.
13. Choose Your Beach Wedding Attire
Yes, it’s time to find the perfect wedding dress! Check out this article for tips on how to choose the perfect wedding dress based on your body type.
Remember that you’ll also need to decide what your groom and the groomsmen will be wearing. As well as your bridesmaids.
Additionally, you may want to choose some dress options for your mom and your future mother-in-law. And don’t forget about grandma! She’ll be thrilled if you include her on this list.
14. Purchase Your Wedding Bands
Whether you have a trusted jeweler or you’re the type to order off of Etsy, reserve enough time to order your wedding bands and get them fitted. You may want to consider getting your engagement ring cleaned before the wedding day too – especially if you’ve had a long engagement.
15. Prepare for Wind & Rain
The beach is known for its strong winds, so be prepared for windy conditions on your wedding day. You may want to skip the long, flowy veil, as it will be flying all over the place, and messing up your hair. If you absolutely want to wear one, bring it for the photos! Those always look great!
Have a backup plan when it comes to rain. Most days (especially in the Caribbean) it will only rain for about 15-20 minutes, so you don’t have to worry too much. But you always want to have a backup plan just in case you get one of those heavy rainy days.
Extra Tips for Planning a Beach Wedding
Enjoy the process!
Take the time to bond with your fiance while planning your special day.
Remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. (Yes, perfectionists, I’m talking to you!)
Know that as long as you’re surrounded by family and friends, marrying the love of your life, it is going to be a perfect day!