Monday, July 6, 2009

A little beach wedding advice

I was excited to receive an email from my friend Brittney this morning announcing her engagement to long-time boyfriend Jacob. Congrats Brittney!

In the email she added, "I need to know EVERYTHING you know about having a beach wedding... need all your tips/tricks/and things to look out for! =)"

While I don't claim to be any sort of beach wedding expert (Ours was very non-traditional. No bridal party, no ceremony music, limited # of guests, etc.), I do have a few tidbits of advice for the low-key beach bride:

-Definitely consider how busy the beach is during the time of year you want to get married. Nick and I picked the weekend after Memorial Day weekend in hopes that the town would be pretty empty. We also picked a beach that we knew wouldn't be as packed (Manzanita) as say, Seaside or Cannon Beach (in Oregon). It worked out perfectly.

-Do you want a backup plan in case of bad weather? I was very anti-backup plan because I was so dead-set on getting married on the sand. You have to decide if getting married on a rainy beach is worth it to you. If you're like me, there are always umbrellas.

-Noise and music. We chose not to have any ceremony music for lots of reasons. First, it wasn't really in our budget to hire a ceremony musician and we didn't know anyone who could play an instrument for free (I was interested in splurging on a harpist, but was having trouble finding one in the area who would bring their harp out anywhere near the sand). Second, there was no way we were going to use an extension cord to drag a boom box onto the sand. It just wasn't realistic. Third (and most important), I loved just having the sound of the waves crashing in the background as I walked down the aisle. It was very serene. Also consider that you and your officiant will have to speak very loud so that your guests can hear you reciting your vows (ours had a hard time hearing us).

-Chairs. If you want to set up enough chairs for everyone and have a person in charge of hauling them off the beach afterward, that can be nice (assuming that like us, you are sans a day-of coordinator). We chose to just set up 5 on each side to create a makeshift aisle/allow for seating for those who physically couldn't stand the entire time. Depending on how many guests you have and what you want to set up on the beach (chairs, arbor, etc.) you might need to get a permit from the state (in Oregon). We didn't have to because we had under 50 guests. You may want to call the city that you are having the wedding in to double check.
-High tide and the sun. We planned our ceremony according to when we knew the tide would be out and the wind would be calm. Unfortunately, we didn't think about how bright the sun would be shining overhead in the afternoon. We originally wanted to take all of our formals beforehand, but ended up having to duck out of the reception a couple hours later in order to get some photos of us on the beach without squinting.

-Photobombers. Ok, ok. I'm kidding. But I did go through all of the photos my family took in hopes of finding one on the beach. No such luck. Just a few curious sunbathers. ;)

I'm sure I'm still missing some things, but my mind is drawing a blank. Once again, while our lack of music and decorations might not be for everyone, we felt the simplicity of it was much more "us".

Any other brides out there with some good beach wedding tips? Any questions?