On the Beach Weddings: Planning Ahead Reduces the Risk of Disaster

So you and your betrothed are determined to begin your journey into marital bliss on the beach. Weddings on the sand can be extremely romantic, but few marriage ceremonies go off without a hitch, and beach weddings can present some unusual challenges. Here are a few pointers to make sure on-the-beach weddings flow as smoothly as gentle waves breaking on the sand.

Have a Plan B
This tip is first because it's the most important: Mother Nature is fickle. No matter what the weather forecast, things can change quickly on the beach.

Weddings have been ruined by more than rain, though. Strong winds can whip up a sandstorm, algae blooms can raise an overpowering stench, and of course summer means hurricane season.

Making matters more uncertain, your wedding planning likely begins months before the actual ceremony. Other than perhaps consulting the Old Farmers' Almanac, you'll likely have no clue what the weather will be on your wedding day.

That's where a Plan B comes in. At the very least, you should pencil in a couple of hours of rain-delay time. If you're lucky, you know someone who owns a big house nearby where you can move the ceremony if necessary. Otherwise, contact local chapels, churches, restaurants, convention halls and hotels to determine if they might have room on your wedding day. Depending on your budget, you might want to put down a deposit to hold the space, just in case.

Memories, and Photos, Last Forever
Find a wedding photographer who is experienced with beach photography. He or she will tell you to schedule the wedding for late afternoon because the natural light at sunset is the most ideal for shooting photos on the beach. Weddings only last about fifteen minutes or so; the photos will be around for a while.

Be sure to consult with several photographers before choosing one. Don't rely on Uncle Bob, who has a "really nice camera" and a knack for taking snapshots. Your photographer can also offer tips on what type of attire will best work for photos on the beach (seersucker and sandals, anyone?).

Scout It Out
Do your homework. Choose the beach where you want to be married, and then make sure it's allowed! Some municipalities forbid on-the-beach weddings.

Try to keep your guest list in mind, too. If you live in Atlanta, you might want to have the wedding on, say, a beach in Florida rather than Hawaii. More guests will be able to make it (unless your family and friends all live in Hawaii). Save the exotic locale for the honeymoon.

Hire a Pro
The world is full of folks who make a business out of planning weddings. Just make sure, as with the photographer, that you consult with several wedding planners and that the one you choose has experience with weddings on the beach. There are few life events more stressful than planning weddings – on the beach or not – that you can gain a lot of peace of mind by putting the nuts and bolts into someone else's hands.

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