Planning A Beach Wedding Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of the Beach Wedding Series.  So far, we have discussed key things to keep in mind when picking a destination as well as tips for purchasing and transporting your gown.  Today let’s get off the beaten path and look at some ways to make your wedding day unique for you and your guests.  

  1. Add some local culture.  If you are in an exotic location like Mexico or Cancun, hire local performer(s) to sing a love song in their native tongue during the ceremony or to teach you and your guests a traditional dance or craft.  You can dress in traditional costumes and exchange vows in your location’s mother tongue.  
  2. Fish as Witnesses.  If it’s just the two of you and no guests or you have a very small group, hire a boat and exchange vows surrounded by the beauty of the ocean.  With the vast expanse of blue around you, the moment becomes even more intimate as you and your intended are briefly removed from the hustle and bustle of life on land.  You will feel like it’s just the two of you, for those brief moments.   
  3. Scavenger Hunt.  While you are taking pictures, challenge your guests to a scavenger hunt for items found on the beach.  You can print up a list before hand or make it as simple as asking them to find a specially colored shell.  At the reception, reward the most unique find with a small gift.  
  4. Photo Hunt.  This is similar to point 3, but requires the guests to use digital cameras to photograph the items.  Use a card reader at the reception to display the photos and reward the most creative with a small gift.
  5. The Extended Party.  If your guests have travelled to celebrate with you, invite them to share your honeymoon for a couple of days.  As a group, take in the local attractions, go on a small cruise, book an island tour, or enter a sandcastle building contest.  After the couple of days are up, your guests return home while you and your husband spend the next few days together…just the two of you!  
  6. Vow Renewal.  Beach weddings are romantic and make even the longest married couples a little misty eyed.  Surprise your married guests with a chance to spontaneously renew their vows.  Pre-arrange with your official to have couples come the alter and renew their vows while you and the groom are having your pictures taken before the reception.  

A beach is a beautiful place for a wedding so take advantage of your surroundings to create a truly unique experience for you and your guests.

Planning A Beach Wedding Part 2

You are planning a beach wedding.  Congratulations!   In the previous post, we discussed key issues to keep in mind when selecting a location.  Today we will discuss the part brides look forward to the most…selecting the dress!  As young girls, we have dreamed about this day, flipped through magazines gazing at the lovely white gowns, and perhaps even carefully took mom’s dress out of storage, unwrapped it, and tried it on. Now it’s your turn.  So, just what are brides wearing on the beach these days? 

A beach wedding is not as formal as a church ceremony; therefore, your gown choices can be less formal too.  What you wear is completely up to you, from a bikini to a sundress to a gown that would make Cinderella green with envy.  Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you will be standing in the sun with emotions running high so there are some things you want to avoid. 

Tight, restrictive clothing and corsets are not a good idea.  While these can be bearable in an air-conditioned space, wearing such garments outdoors in hot weather is a recipe for fainting.  The same goes for breathable fabrics.  Look for something lightweight and permeable.   Flat sandals or bare feet work best on sand unless you have a carpet or something firm to stand on.

If you want a traditional dress, check out your retailer’s casual/informal section.  These dresses carry all the elegance and romance of a formal gown, but have less fabric, minimal (if any) trains, a lighter weight, and can be shorter in length.  You will have the freedom to move around the beach without sweating or dragging your train through the surf.  Many of these gowns bare the shoulders, which is perfect for showing off your tan and keeping you cool during the ceremony. 

 If you need inspiration, type “beach wedding” into Google and click on “image results”.  These results will be a mix of personal and professional photography, enabling you to see different gowns and suits/tuxes in a beach setting.  You will have a clearer visual as to how your gown and color choices will look at different times during the day (for example, sunset on the beach is a great time for silhouette photos). 

 If you are flying to your destination, phone the airline ahead of time and ask if you can hang your dress in a garment bag in the cockpit where the pilots put their jackets.  If this option is not available, follow this advice from ABC Bridal .  Make your dress a carry on in case your luggage gets lost or delayed.  Open the zipper a little bit and gently fold the dress back and forth ending with the hanger on top.  Place your shoes and veil in the bag and wrap everything in acid free tissue paper.  Follow this with a plastic waterproof layer. Unpack the dress as soon as you reach your accommodations.  If there isn’t an on-site laundry facility equipped with steam, turn on the hot water taps in the bathroom and close the door. Once the room is full of steam, turn off the taps, put clean towels on the floor (if your gown is long) and hang your dress from the shower rod.  Make sure the shower rod is dry.  You do not want any water touching your dress.  Hanging your dress in steam for a day will eliminate the wrinkles.  Never use an iron on your wedding gown or the veil as this can burn or discolor the delicate fabric.    

 Let’s close with a side note for the men.  When travelling by air or more than a day by land, do not assume the groom and groomsmen can rent tuxedos in their hometowns.  Many rental places expect the suits back the next day; you may have to rent at your destination.  Once again, however, this is a less formal situation so a light suit or even a dress shirt and pants may suffice. 

 Choosing a gown is exciting and a big part of planning your wedding.  Enjoy the moment and the memories you will have of making this important selection.  Check back soon for Part three of this series when we discuss beach themes and other unique ideas you can use to customize your special day.

Check out part 3