Weddings are simultaneously one of the happiest and most stressful days of many women’s lives. You get to be “queen for a day,” surrounded by so many special people in your life, and the day officially marks the beginning of the next phase of your life as a duo! What could go wrong, right? Well, lots! But, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems if you’re willing to prepare properly and if you know what to expect. I loved helping so many couples make great decisions on my discovery+ show, The House My Wedding Bought, and now, I’m excited to help YOU plan your beach wedding

Say Yes to the Dress

It goes without saying that attire is a major part of the planning for any wedding. When you intend to say your vows on the beach, you definitely up the ante. When many women think about their dream wedding, the first images that come to mind are of the gown they will wear on that special day. I was pretty amenable about most elements of my beach wedding, but the thing I knew I had to have was “the dress”! 

Many bridal consultants advise against ball gowns and extraordinarily formal wedding dresses if you marry on the beach. I say do what you wish! In my opinion, the bride’s preferences trump any “rules” someone else holds. If you have always envisioned yourself in a gown with tons of tulle, go for it! If you’d prefer to be in a simple white number that feels light and flowy, that’s perfectly fine too. What matters most on that special day is that the bride feels beautiful and comfortable in her choice. Never lose sight of that as you plan for your wedding.

Adopt Appropriate Apparel

Let’s be honest, planning an outdoor wedding can add an extra layer of stress because of all the natural (literally) factors that you cannot control. Planning a beach wedding actually might take a little stress off of your shoulders because these types of ceremonies are typically less formal than the traditional indoor alternative. 

The beauty of a wedding often largely depends on a theme or color scheme. People can spend hours determining which colors will pair well together and what style of dresses and tuxedos or suits the bridal party should wear. My advice? Keep it simple with white and khaki. While most bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t wear white, there is something about standing on the sand with the waves as your backdrop that makes this combo especially picturesque. Forget about a black-tie dresscode and concentrate on creating the feeling and vibe that complement your venue. In this case, relaxed, romantic and organic is in order!

Nature Always Wins

I don’t know if there is a more important tip than to respect the elements when you’re planning a beach wedding. There will be wind. There will be humidity. And yes, there will be sand. These things you cannot prevent or fight against. Instead, plan to work with and around them for the least amount of frustration and unwanted surprises. When arranging for hairstyles, both yours and the bridesmaids, consider that wind may destroy perfectly coiffed tresses. Opt for ‘dos that are either secured by hair-ties and hairpins, or go for a look that works well when “wind swept.” 

Humidity is a force, as well. The moisture in the air can turn luscious curls into frizz in the blink of an eye. It can also contribute to the swift breaking down of foundation on the skin, especially if the wearer already has an oily skin type. I suggest paying a professional makeup artist to do everyone’s makeup. He or she will be able to select products that guard against the looks deteriorating in the elements.

Don’t Take the Beach Out of Your Beach Wedding.

It’s easy to get so consumed with calculating the details of the day to ensure everything is perfect that you forget it probably already is! Remember that Mother Nature already provided the perfect scenery for your wedding, so there’s no need to go crazy with decorations. Invest in a lovely floral arch that will frame you in as you celebrate your love and maybe chairs (though my wedding was standing room only), and you have all the beauty you need! Don’t forget that with the beach comes sand. Traditional footwear may not be conducive to the best time for your guests. We purchased lots of flip flops and a pretty basket for them, and created a sort of “valet parking” for everyone’s shoes. It was a sweet gesture that let our guests know we were invested in their enjoyment, too! Consider those types of details when you plan a beach wedding.

Love, Honor, Cherish… Obey the Law

So you’ve chosen your bridesmaids and groomsmen. The colors are perfect, and your dress is a showstopper. All of your friends and family have gathered to see you, and the groom is standing in front of blue water awaiting his bride. This is your moment. You begin your walk down the aisle, and you hear… police officers! Yes. It happens! The police showed up at MY wedding! We were lucky, but you might not be if you don’t remember one very crucial element. Get a permit! 

People tend to think that the beach is free for anything and everything. Contrary to popular belief, for some beaches you MUST have a permit if you plan a beach wedding. Nothing would be worse than showing up to your own wedding and having it canceled. So do your research. Another option is to select a hotel that has beach access. Your guests will have somewhere convenient to stay, and you won’t run into issues with the law. 

Weddings are such beautiful events. Two people coming together to pledge their love in front of the important people in their lives is enough to warm anyone’s heart. The planning of these moments isn’t always the easiest, but keeping these tips in mind will help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls along the way. My biggest suggestions of all? Take lots of photos, and enjoy every moment. Life isn’t perfect, but luckily for us all, love doesn’t require it to be! Happy marrying!

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