Even though summer is winding down in most parts of the country, here in Florida it is still perfect beach weather! I personally don't recommend having the ceremony on the actual beach, for several reasons: the on-looking public, noise, wind, sand everywhere, not to mention Speedo-guy in the background of your photos. We have several lovely locations here in North Florida and South Georgia that overlook the beach while minimizing some of these issues. But, if you do choose to have your ceremony on the beach, here are some things to consider:
- Always have a backup plan. Weather in Florida is so unpredictable, and the soft ocean breeze can easily become a tropical storm force wind in a matter of hours. While a tent may be an option, it may not be the best solution.
- Think about access for older guests. Can your grandparents walk easily in the sand? If not, designate a family member (not someone in the bridal party) to help them.
- Warn guests that ceremony will be on the beach. Make it clear on the invitation that guests should be prepared to remove their shoes or wear sandals for the ceremony. Nothing is worse than high heels and panty hose on the beach.
- Have water available for your guests. Even when the temperatures are in the 80's, it can be hot in the sun. Remember that your guests will begin arriving about 30 minutes before your ceremony time, so have a water station to quench their thirst. Add some cucumber to the water for a fun treat!
- Have towels to wipe off feet. As I mentioned previously, there will be sand everywhere. It's a nice touch for your guests to be able to clean up before entering the reception.
- Rent a sound system. The sounds of the surf are romantic, but they make it difficult for your guests to hear what is being said during the ceremony. Be sure to ask about battery-operated systems, since chances are you won't have a power outlet nearby.
- Provide sunscreen in welcome bags. Some of your guests may be sensitive to the sun, even if your ceremony is at sunset. Add some sunscreen to your welcome bags, or have it available at your water station.
(photo from Shanae and Marlon's wedding at The Lodge and Club at Ponte Vedra Beach, by Naturally Photography)