So you've decided on a romantic beach wedding for your big day. Congratulations, excellent choice, especially where I live on The Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria. We have some extraordinarily beautiful expanses of sand and quiet little coves to choose from with Lorne and Torquay being the most popular.
But, before you get the sand between your toes, there are some timely reminders and tips when planning a beach wedding and, TA-DAH, here are my TOP 10!
No 1: Are you thinking of having it ON the beach or on high ground overlooking the beach? If it's going to be on the actual sand, you need to be mindful of the tides which change all too frequently. You will need to calculate where the high water mark will be for your wedding date and time. Seriously! You do not want to end up on YouTube.
No 2: Have a back up plan. As for any outside venue you need a Plan B! There might be wind, hang on, it's a beach AND it's in Victoria, 95% chance of wind. A stunning flower crown may be the go-to choice here over a veil. Aim for the protected cove over the long, windswept beach. There could be rain and even thunder. I did a beach wedding in Lorne, in winter, and we had exactly that! Having said that, the sun came out for the ceremony and it was magic, COLD but magic!
No. 3: Contact the Council as most public places require permits. Sometimes there is no fee but a permit may still be required. They will also advise about setup and packing up requirements.
No 4: What is access like? Do you have guests who may have difficulty getting to the location from the carpark? Even for the set-up and pack-up you'll need good access.
No 5: You may very well have to share the space with the public. You might need to watch out for the odd cricket ball or frisbee flying past or even something you didn't see. I've seen photos of a gorgeous couple during their ceremony with a topless beach-goer in the background. Awkward!
No 6: The time of day may be important in relation to bugs, mozzies, flies and sun reflection from the sand or sea. I'm sensing insect repellent, sunscreen, umbrellas, fans and bottled water for guests are all up for consideration.
No 7: Consider barefeet rather than heels, your bridesmaids will love you! And a basket of thongs for guests may be a cute option.
No 8: If permitted, bury a large piece of board/matting/perspex just under the sand. You can then have the signing table, chairs, etc on a flat, firm base AND it will save everyone scrambling around on all fours screaming for a metal detector should the rings be dropped!
No 9: Definitely have a rehearsal, and preferably, at the same time as the planned ceremony. This will confirm tidal movement and indicate the best position and angles for the ceremony sun-wise. No one wants photos with frowning, squinting faces.
No 10: Mornings may be worth considering. They generally have less wind, glare and more stable weather. Jus' sayin'.
Oh, here's a bonus tip, no 11: Engage a Wedding Planner. He/she can take care of all those pesky details, aside from the weather of course, and you can just pull up, float on down and enjoy the romance of it all. And, if they're local, they'll know all the ins and outs of the area. Go on, do yourself a favour, you'll thank me!
I hope this post hasn't put you off. I live in a coastal town and have done quite a few now and there's no question, they are romantic. But, you just need to be mindful of the above points when making your decision. These have been compiled from my own experience and from other celebrants across Australia, predominantly AFCC colleagues. They are only my top 10, well 11 really, and you may have something to add, so please feel free to comment below.
I'm more than happy to have a chat with you about your ideas and I welcome any feedback.
Hope to speak soon, Sue.