Planning a Beach Wedding: 11 Amazing Hacks for a Stress-free Day

beach wedding

This is what dreams are made of…
Image: badjonni / CC BY-SA

When you’re dreaming of your perfect destination wedding, I’m pretty sure you picture a stress-free beach wedding with soft sand, the cool ocean breeze blowing gently in the background. Then you’ll have a gorgeous sunset as a backdrop.

The reality is you neglected to include the nosy crowd of onlookers or the mosquitoes. And that breeze? Try gusts of wind. You don’t really fancy getting tangled up in hair, veil and voluminous wedding dress, do you?

Yep. Wedding planning can be a real nightmare! Just check reddit.

Or, you know what? Don’t check reddit. I’m pretty sure we can work something out. We can still turn your theme from zombie apocalypse at the beach to paradise.

There are ways to get hitched, without a hitch. And here’s everything you need to know about it.

Get the word out for your beach wedding ceremony!

wedding invitation

Tell the world. You know you want to.
Image: Amy / CC BY-ND

You’re having a beach wedding! And your relatives and guests will curse you to high heavens when they arrive wearing wool.

So here’s tip no. 1: Notify the guests properly.

Your invitation should mention that the event is taking place on the sand. Include necessary items in your welcome bags. What’s a good horde?

  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled water
  • Towels
  • Had fans

Stretching the Bucks


Waves make a fantastic backdrop!
Image: Lindsay Clark / CC BY-ND

Oh, your friends think you need to spend over $10,000 to have a real fabulous wedding, do they? Well tell them their opinions do not count and they’re no longer invited! Kidding. I’m kidding!

Weddings can be expensive. But there are ways to save a few bucks and still get value for your money.

2. Pick an off-season date.

The weather should still be okay. Local businesses tend to be more flexible with pricing. And you won’t need to worry about making sure everything arrives on time. After all, there’s almost no competition!

3. Nix the chair rental.

Sure. Those perfectly lined white wooden chairs strewn with rose petals look real lovely. They’re also a lot of work and cost a pretty penny.

It’s a beach wedding, for crying out loud! It screams romantic and casual in equal measure. If your ceremony won’t take longer than half an hour, then just get a canopy and make your guests stand. But maybe add a bench or two for the oldies, you know?

This goes for the rest of the ceremony, too. The ocean is already a beautiful mix of colors and palettes. There’s no need to over-accessorize.

4. Look for a restaurant with speakers already built in.

You’d probably want the reception to happen in a nearby restaurant. Get them to cater, if possible. AND if you can find one with a deck overlooking the ocean with speakers then you won’t have to rent a sound system, right? Two birds with one stone.

Get a playlist ready on your iPod and just stick it in on the day itself. Done.

How’s that for stretching them bucks, eh?

Dressing the Part

No picture-taking in those heels!
Image: Martijn van Exel / CC BY-SA

Of course you want to look good on the big day! But just how beautiful do you think a full dress and long train will look on the beach? You’d be sweeping up the sand for sure.

5. KILL it!

That’s Keep It Light and Lissome.

Okay, I totally made that up and it probably doesn’t even make a lot of sense. But really, you want a dress you can move in. You’ll thank me once your feet are sinking into the sand.

You also want to forego material that sand clings to, like lace. Go for a lightweight fabric instead.

Glamour helpfully posted 36 beautiful dresses you can use for inspiration.

6. Put your heels down.

High heels and sand don’t mix. That’s the Lord’s own truth. So don’t risk falling flat on your face and go for flat-sole sandals.

7. No beach penguins!

Hey, you’re KILLing it (tee-hee!), why should your man be stuck in a tux? I’m sure he looks dapper in a suit. But in the hot beach climate? You’ll be watching him melt and then you’ll be stuck with sucky wedding pictures. Trust.
Lightweight cotton pants are a good option. And your groom will probably be all the better for it, too.

It’s Gonna Get Hairy

beach wedding hairstyle

Choose mermaid hair, not sea hag.
Image: Faylyne / CC BY

Sunsets be damned. You know what beaches are famous for, other than the actual beach? The breeze. Tell me you didn’t notice the gazillion products scented “ocean breeze.”
Unfortunately, ocean breeze and complicated wedding hair just don’t mesh very well. So…

8. Have an upper.

I meant the hairdo, jeez!
Getting an updo will keep you from looking like seaweed dragged to shore. But if you don’t really have a choice but wear it down, you might consider getting a stylist to keep you constantly touched up.
Bridal Guide gives you a dazzling array of 75 hairstyles to choose from. No time to look. Okay. One word: chignon.

9. Forget the veil.

Veil and breeze do not a happy marriage make. Veils are a nightmare in windy conditions. Long veils, unfortunately, are even worse.

So skip the veil and accessorize with flowers instead.

Taking Care of Business


Did someone say gatecrasher?

Image: Roberto Trm / CC BY

Depending on where you actually hold the ceremony, you might need to get permits. Do your research beforehand.
But if you’re lazy (like me) and hate paperwork (also like me), then,

10. Public beach, early morning.

Are you making a big WTF face right now?

There’s really a lot of benefit to this. One, you won’t see a lot of nosy people watching you. Two, you might not even need to rope the area off. And three, the early morning light is gorgeous.

The only real downside to this is your groom can’t stay up too late the night before. But hey, less time drinking and more time sober works for everyone.

11. Important random stuff that’s really not very random.

Shoe stations for your guests. They’ll love you for it. No one wants to spend a day with a shoe full of sand. If you can provide flip flops, all the better.

flip flops

For happier tootsies…

Image: Robert Neff / CC BY

Refreshment. It’s bound to get hot. Make sure you have a table of ice water, iced tea, iced lemonade, anything iced really. Or maybe you’d rather have cocktails? Here’s a good list of options. (I wouldn’t advice the Hurricane though. It just sounds a bit pessimistic, you know?)

Insect repellant. Bugs are a beach staple. Keep them at bay with sprays that don’t stain.

Wind. If anything can blow away, it will. So if you don’t want anything flying away, tie them down.

And finally, always have a Plan B. Murphy’s Law seem to be more prevalent in weddings, you’ll soon find out. So make sure you always have a backup for anything and everything that could go wrong.

Beach weddings don’t have to be shipwrecked disasters. And you don’t have to be a Sea Witch to get it done.

Your checklist:

  • Inform the guests of the venue.
  • Pick an off-season date.
  • Get rid of as many rental items as possible. Maximize the venue for decorations.
  • Choose a restaurant with a sound system.
  • Light dress
  • No heels
  • Informal attire for men
  • Updo
  • No veil
  • Permits, or no permits
  • Plans A and B

How’s that for no-fuss?

Of course, you may also just consider getting a guy’s take on it:

“Find beach. Throw wedding. No dress code. Stress-free beach wedding done.”


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