Tips 'n Tricks — July 31, 2014 at 5:00 am

How to Plan the Ultimate Beach Wedding

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MandyElkCollection / iStock / thinkstock.com

Whether you’re traveling to an exotic locale or simply celebrating on the shores of your local lake, a beach wedding is a truly memorable experience, provided it’s done right. Read on for the ultimate guide to planning, executing, and enjoying the dreamiest day of your life.

Temper Your Guest-pectations
If you’re planning on marrying your beloved on the white sand beaches of a far-off locale, you need to consider the fact that as much as they may love you, a tropical vacation just isn’t in the cards for everyone. Your wedding day may be one of the most important days of your life but that doesn’t mean it holds the same weight for others. Naturally, they’ll be delighted to have been invited and incredibly happy for you, but sometimes finances, vacation time, childcare, and general responsibilities mean that some of your would-be guests won’t be able to make the trip. Instead of being hurt or offended, try to see it from their perspective. And maybe throw a small reception upon your return.

Say Yes to the Dress (and Suit)
One that’s fit for the sand, that is. Elaborate ball gowns are beautiful but tend to become a bit of a burden when worn on the beach. When choosing your wedding dress, think about how it’ll hold up against the sand and surf. Will the train drag too much? Will the lace detailing pick up too much debris? Will the corseting feel suffocating in the heat? The same ideas apply for menswear, too. A heavy, dark suit may photograph nicely but even the most skilled photographer can’t do much about an overheated groom. Lightweight, natural fibres (think linen) are excellent options and lend a gorgeous, laid back vibe to your wedding.

If The Shoe Fits
Shoes are often as important (if not more so) as the dress. After all, you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of footwear they rock. When selecting the shoes that will take you into your happily ever after, think about how you plan on wearing them. Are you saying your vows on the sand? Then definitely skip the stilettos as they’ll just sink into the uneven surface and create more trouble than they’re worth. If you can’t imagine yourself forgoing heels, consider having your ceremony on a boardwalk or even bringing in a special surface that will help even things out. Another option is to skip the shoes entirely. There’s something impossibly dreamy about a barefoot, sun kissed bride.

Digital Vision / thinkstock.com

Digital Vision / thinkstock.com

Be The Ultimate Host(ess)
Since beaches tend to be hot and sunny (which is part of what makes them so awesome), you’re going to want to plan ahead to ensure that your guests remain comfortable throughout the ceremony, reception, and all the other fun to follow. If you can, consider setting up umbrellas or sun shelters so that people can step out of the sun, if need be. Providing chilled water, small fans, sunscreen, and wide-brimmed hats are also excellent ways to keep your guests from feeling too much heat. Even if your ceremony isn’t a seated affair, leave a few chairs out so that anyone who feels the need to get off their feet can. Happy guests make for a happy wedding and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Know The Rules
If you’re getting married near home, you’re good to go. Just get the appropriate documents and get ready to say “I do”. If, on the other hand, your plan involves a wedding in another country, be sure to know the local rules and regulations regarding marriages. Some countries require special forms that need to be filled out ahead of time, others have strict guidelines when it comes to previous marriages, and in certain cases, a marriage that takes place in one country may not be recognized in another. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, do your research and talk to others who have been there before to glean insider information and save yourself potential headaches.

Embrace The Local Flavor
Regardless of where you choose to get hitched, incorporating a little of the local style into your event can make even the most unfussy affair a night to remember. If you’ve chosen to get married in another country, try contacting local vendors to see what they can do to help your wedding day dreams come true. It saves you the hassle of lugging your own decor and favors on the plane and chances are, you’ll be delighted with what they come up with. Even if you’re
getting married seconds from home, find out what fish are freshest, pick some wildflowers from a nearby field, or source the best cake that the neighbourhood you’re in has to offer.

Enjoy the Ride
Planning a beach wedding means having to let go. You can’t control the rain, you can’t control which direction the wind will blow, you can’t control the clouds, basically you just can’t control Mother Nature. Instead of worrying about what’s out of your hands, focus on what you can do. Enjoy the process of planning this incredible event with your partner. Take pleasure in all the people who are excited to share in your love. Get excited about what it will mean to be married to your soulmate.

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