Wedding ceremony overlooking ocean

10 Tips for a Beach Destination Wedding


January 5, 2024
Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of various

So you’ve decided to host a destination wedding on the beach – congrats! You’re probably thinking to yourself… “Now what?” First things first, if you haven’t chosen a specific destination, start your research immediately. Good thing you’re already in the right place! Now read on for 10 tips on planning a beach wedding that you may not think to consider…

Bride posing near cliffs in the Caribbean.Photo courtesy of The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Secure necessary permits and understand regulations.

Before you set your heart on a beach wedding, research and secure any necessary permits required for hosting an event on the beach. This step is crucial because many public beaches require permission for gatherings, especially for events like weddings. Understand and comply with all local regulations and restrictions, which could include rules about noise levels, alcohol consumption, and environmental protections like restrictions on certain decorations because they might be harmful to wildlife.” – Shermain Jeremy, Romance Lead & Events Manager, The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Beachside bride and groom kissing by sailboatPhoto: All The Little Stories Photography // Planning: Hummingbird Events & Design

Communicate with your guests!

“Communication is key – if you are hosting your wedding on uneven ground, like sand, ensure that your guests are aware so that they can prepare appropriate footwear and attire. Additionally, if you have any guests who have mobility challenges, ensure that an appropriate plan of action is in place to help them move through uneven terrain.” – Mandy Connor, Owner, Hummingbird Events & Design

Wedding couple standing under arch in ceremony on the beachPhoto by Isabella Rodriguez Photography 

Make sure you keep yourself AND your guests comfortable.

“The beach can be windy, so keep that in mind when choosing a hairstyle. Embrace the wind and go for loose waves, and even a veil would look amazing flowing behind you. Don’t forget to consider every option to keep your guests comfortable during a beach wedding. Fans and parasols are always appreciated under a hot sun, and they can even lend to the wedding aesthetic by having them personalized with your initials or wedding colors.” – Lisette Gatliff, Lisette Gatliff Photography

Wedding reception of tables and rattan chairs on a beach under treesPhoto by Chrisman Studios

Plan for the elements.

“Have a solid backup plan in place in case of inclement weather. This could involve renting a tent that can withstand wind, or having an indoor location nearby on standby. Ensure there are adequate amenities for guests, such as restrooms and changing facilities. You may need to rent high-quality portable options if the beach location doesn’t have these facilities. Provide comforts like shaded seating areas, fans, or heaters (depending on the weather), and even flip-flops for guests who didn’t anticipate the challenge of walking in the sand in formal footwear.” – Shermain Jeremy, Romance Lead & Events Manager, The Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Bride and Groom walking hand in hand barefoot along the beachPhoto: Adam and Becca Photo & Video // Planner: First Class Events

Keep accessibility in mind.

Ensure the location is accessible to guests and decorators. It can also be beneficial to have the ceremony location and reception at the same venue. Eloping instead? Then it’s up to you! If you want to have a climbing adventure to your ceremony location, go for it!” – Jessica Evans, Lead Planner, First Class Events

Empty wedding ceremony set up of an aisle, chairs and wedding arch.Photo: Hilo Rojo // Planning: Vivid Occasions // Flowers & Decor: Blush n’ Roses // Aisle Platform: Bunker Project Studio

Consider the décor.

“Are all the elements accurate to the area? When designing your event we always consider what the weather is going to be like; if there are shaded areas, if it may be windy. Why is this important? Because some décor such as long tablecloths, types of chairs, tall centerpieces are not recommended and sometimes, certain flowers wilt quickly under the sun so the floral choices are important. So before picking a beach wedding, you should understand your style and décor vision clearly and decide if it is a fit or if you will need to compromise on some aspects.” – Gaby, Vivid Occasions

Wedding couple walking away from camera on beach, holding handsPhoto: Our Tribe Photos // Planner: LuckEleven Events

Have a cleanup crew.

“Arrange for a cleanup crew to ensure you leave the beach as beautiful as you found it. This is essential for preserving the natural beauty of the location. By keeping these ten tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for your beach wedding. With careful planning, your special day will be a beautiful and memorable seaside affair” – Anastasia Shevchenko, Sheff Production Photography & Videography

Married couple in wedding dress and suit kissing on Hawaiian beachPhoto by Lauren Scotti

Pay extra attention to your photographer and videographer.

“Photography and cinematography are two vendors that you will want to spend extra time considering. Whether you’re choosing local vendors at the destination or a destination photo and video team, be sure you love their work and feel comfortable with them. You’re about to spend a lot of time with them! You’ll want to ensure they have experience with the unique challenges beach weddings can create from a lighting perspective as well as how to be prepared for sand, wind, and more.” – Jessica Evans, Lead Planner, First Class Events

Wedding couple walking on beachPhoto: Rustic Bloom Photography // Planner: Bridal Bliss

Consider private beaches wherever possible.

“One of the best options is to check in with beachfront hotels or resorts who may have private beach access. Not only can your guests utilize room blocks for lodging, but you can also take advantage of in-house catering or indoor spaces as a backup rain plan if needed.” – Ari Busch, Operations Manager and Lead Planner, Bridal Bliss

Bride wearing a red dress walking with her groom along a wedding reception set up on beach with pink floralsPlanning & Design: My Wedding Songbird & Grace & Gold Events // Venue: Viceroy Riviera Maya // Photo & Video: Viva Photography

Hire a wedding planner.

“Your wedding planner can help with the entire planning process, ensure permits are arranged, vendors have clear expectations, itineraries are made, invitations are clear, and so much more. They will make the destination planning process so easy for you!” – Jessica Evans, Lead Planner, First Class Events

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