I know you want this day to be special. How about making it extra special? Most people when they think about the perfect beach wedding, they imagine a beautiful sunset setting, the light, balmy breeze, and the sound of the waves. Perfect. But there are a lot of other factors that you need to consider that come with beautiful beach nuptials anywhere. Here are a few guidelines for making the most of your most special occasion!
Choose a Local Wedding Coordinator
First and foremost, if you choose a wedding venue away from your home make sure you choose a local wedding coordinator or specialist. This will definitely help you out to no ends. They know the area, they can advise perfectly about the weather, local vendors, who to choose, why, where to get married, where not to and, more importantly, they will be the friendly face always available for you before, during and after the event. If you can’t inspect a place before you get married because you live far away they can do so and they most likely have done several other events there, they know who to deal with and how. By choosing a wedding specialist make sure you allow him/her to do his/her job, as s/he has nothing else in mind except to create the perfect beach wedding for you. Share with your wedding specialist all the details and keep him/her on the loop with any changes.
Book the Date as Soon as Possible
Beach weddings are always a beautiful thing to attend to and to have. This is why many of the most beautiful spots in the Caribbean and southern Europe can be very popular. Make sure your dream spot is available and remains as such. Choose the dates and book your spot as soon as possible. Consider that planning with enough time will not only allow you to choose freely the time and date you want for your wedding but will also give enough time to the guests to arrange their travel. Rely on a well reviewed local wedding specialist to help you choose the perfect date and time for the concepts you have in mind.
Make Sure all Guests Really Know About Your Dates & Details
Sitting down to make a guest list is always a challenge, but it’s a greater challenge to keep all of your guests informed about all your wedding details, especially when it comes to planning the perfect beach wedding away from home in Europe or the Caribbean. Most people don’t have the time to sit down and read all the instructions that can come on a wedding invitation. Communicate often with all of your guests and give them a straight line of communication with the travel agent and/or your wedding specialist.
Think of the Location as Well as the Weather
Every particular venue has its own weather and climactic conditions, so make sure to ask your local wedding specialist about weather options. Particularly if you have never been there on the chosen date, or maybe you have been there but laying on the beach or down by the pool with a cold drink on your hand and not necessarily fully dressed and under the sun for a few hours. Also, some beach locations have hurricane or rainy seasons. Make sure the venue you choose has a back-up (at no additional cost!) in case there’s a natural disaster or a heavy rain forecast. The weather factor should also help you determine your beach-wedding hairstyle and makeup. Don’t forget to take into consideration humidity and heat!
Create a Budget and Share It With Everyone Involved
A perfect beach wedding doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just make sure you and your honey settle on a budget before you start contacting the vendors or your wedding coordinator and specialists. Be straight and clear about what you expect as well as your budget. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need to make sure you are getting exactly what you asked and within budget. Big and beautiful beach weddings can be simple or on an affordable budget as long as you are sure how much you want to spend and you share this information and keep it clear.
Adapt Your Dress Code to the Venue
As with any special occasion, dress accordingly! Not only you, but all of your guests. Did you choose to have your reception or ceremony directly at the beach? Did you choose to do it on a more exclusive location like a Mayan Riviera cenote or on board a deluxe catamaran? In any case you and your guests need to dress in natural fabrics thought for humid and/or hot locations. Stay away from fabrics such as polyester, rayon/viscose, silk or nylon. Talk about your needs at your local wedding dress store or with your designer. Explain when and where your wedding will be to get a more accurate selection. You might want to wear beautiful and elegant shoes; that’s perfect! Just make sure those shoes are appropriate to your wedding venue (stiletto heels on a beach? Probably not a good idea).
Remember to talk with your wedding coordinator about your hair-do and makeup ideas, he or she will probably recommend you a local hairdresser and makeup artist that will suggest ideas that fit not only your dress but the venue. Not all hairdressers know how to deal with windy open spaces like the beach, or to use the right makeup so your skin can breathe.
And make sure your guests are aware of this so they, too, can dress accordingly. Let them know if they’ll be walking over rocks, sand, grass, or concrete so they can choose the right shoes. And consider setting up a sandal station where your guests can leave their shoes and get into comfortable sandals.
Match Photography Plans With Local Conditions
Most people who marry on the beach want the sunset as the decoration when they say the vows. If you choose this, then take into consideration that beach wedding photos look better with natural lighting. So if you want a photo shoot with your groom/bride and your wedding party, you may have to do it before the ceremony. Ask your local wedding specialists which is the time they recommend to have the perfect beach-wedding photos. Most will recommend that your ceremony be held over one hour before sunset so you can take that hour for photos. Most photographers will tell you that the best lighting for outdoor photos is on sunrise and sunset. Plan with enough time when and who will be photographed; share a list with the main people involved and your wedding coordinator. Remember, you are going against the clock, and you will notice the light changes by the second.
It’s Important to Give Back and Acknowledge Your Guests
When choosing a location far away from home and your guests’ home it is important that they feel acknowledged. Yes, it’s your wedding but they did make a long journey to be with you on that special day. Take into consideration that most of the people that you invite will probably not make it. Make a list of those who absolutely need to be with you and understand those who don’t. It’s not personal, but probably related to budget or timing or both.
For those who travel with you, make sure to think about wedding favours. You can leave a beautiful bag or basket in your guests’ rooms with something they can treasure and keep as a reminder of their amazing time at your wedding. You wedding coordinator will give you plenty of ideas for amazing wedding souvenirs that also remind them of the chosen destination. Make sure that during the event all your guests have access to sunblock, insect repellent and personalised hand fans to fight the heat.
Technology Is Your Friend – But It Might Not be Your Guests’ Friend
More and more people are choosing e-mail invitations instead of paper invitations sent through snail mail or handed in person. This allows for more interactive invitations full of information that can even be updated if needed by any reason, and it’s also eco-friendly, which is always a plus. Just bear in mind that maybe some of your guests may not be as tech-savvy as you are. They could have e-mail addresses but might not necessarily check them often, or know how to access their spam folders, which many bulk invitations end up in. Be ready to speak either personally or by phone with all of your guests so they feel welcome and for a more accurate head count. For those who are tech-savvy, create a Facebook event or a WhatsApp group where you can keep everyone updated regarding the event. You will probably use this more when you’re on the venue, as you might want to let all your guests know about little windows of time where they can find you such as family breakfast or incredible tours you can take after the wedding to enjoy the local scenery.
Keep It Together
Not just only emotionally. If you choose to get married far from home, your wedding coordinator should be able to help you get everything else you might need, from transportation to lodging and everything else related to the actual wedding (flowers, arrangements, etc). If you and your guests are travelling together, it’s also a very good idea to try to stay together at the same hotel, that way your wedding is not just the ceremony and dinner, but also a mini-vacation with all your loved ones. If you arrive a day before your wedding, you can even think of having the rehearsal dinner and bachelorette/bachelor parties in the area. This way will you not only have the perfect beach wedding, but you will also have the perfect mini-vacation!
Put Together Your Personal Wedding Team
Your day is awfully important, and it is also for your closest friends and family. Rely on them! Before your wedding you might be able to deal with everything you and your significant other need to make time to go through your check-lists and complete all tasks before heading to your wedding venue but during the event you both might be too busy to handle a mishap. Here is when your wedding coordinator and your maid of honor/best man come into play – your family too! Designate an emergency contact person who can deal with the situation directly with your wedding coordinator without involving you while you are away getting ready or in the middle of the photo shoot, or during your first dance or song as newlyweds. There are things you will want to get involved with but during the event you need to enjoy your day and rely on others to keep the wheels in motion.
White Is the New White
If you’ve always dreamed about a beautiful white dress, take into consideration that many people when invited to a beach wedding will too be dressed in white. If you really want to stand out from your guests, make sure you let each and everyone know that the dress code includes a color restriction. Don’t be afraid to be straight with your friends and family, they are doing there to be with you and want the best for you. If you are having a beautiful Caribbean wedding on the white sandy beaches, bright white might not be the best option but you can choose from a wide range of off-whites that go perfectly with your beach-wedding dress selection.
Congratulations, and have a wonderful wedding!