Some Beach Wedding Do’s, Don’ts, OKs and FYIs

Please note these are just some personal observations based on attending and photographing countless weddings. You might read similar experiences elsewhere, and some are Ocean City and Delaware Beaches specific.

DO – Book in advance. This might seem a given but you might miss out on locations or service providers you wanted based on availability and the summer window of opportunity.

DON’T – Do Not have your wedding at NOON or anywhere around that time if you can help it. It’s the worst time for photos as it creates dark shadows under the eyes for example, not to mention its right around the hottest time of day. Instead, aim for the sunset time which is the best, maybe an hour before sunset for the actual ceremony and gives you 40 or so minutes for photos after.

OK – Sunrise or Morning weddings. As these early morning weddings on the east coast beaches are nice, it works well for elopers or very small groups. It’s hard to get everyone together and on the beach so early in the morning with coffee. And photos can turn out really good or really bad, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Try and use the flash when shooting against the sun and for point and shooter camera users get closer to your subject when shooting against the sun and use a flash.

DON’T – Do Not use bubbles, unless you do it right. It seems like such a waste of money if you don’t do this right. You might imagine your guests showing up and someone handing them a mini container of bubbles and they go to their seats. What you didn’t consider is when you say your “I Dos” and kiss, I now pronounce you husband and wife people are sometimes caught off guard or lost in emotion they forget they have this thing of bubbles. Too late, you just walked back down the aisle and the moment is gone and no bubbles. Tip, get a bubble machine they have them battery operated, and assign someone to turn it on. Or assign some bubble people to get the others started.

DO – Wear sandals or flip flops on the beach. People in heels or nice dress shoes do not walk well in sand. And let your guests know this, to bring a pair of sandals or flip flops and if you’re wedding reception venue is somewhere else to bring a back up pair of footwear.

DO – Get a professional photographer. More and more I see, couples either saving money by having an aunt or uncle or inexperience friend take their wedding photos. Don’t let your friend who thinks they are a professional photographer after buying a $600 camera and never been to a wedding before. Reasons why the professional is better – better equipment usually in the $3000 – $10,000 in equipment coming to photography you. More experience – the countless weddings has taught your photographer about lighting to look your best, placement, posing, and to anticipate various wedding situations. And because this is one of the most important days of your lives you want to have something really nice to look back on and show others.

DON’T – Do Not use a wedding aisle runner. They might be nice to look at, but ultimately as waste of money. People walking on them tears them up and often time’s trips on them if they get bunched up. And having one at the beach is so wrong. That is what having a beach wedding all is about, having the sand under your feet.

FYI – there will be other people on the beach unless you have access to a private beach. If you don’t have a private or secluded beach, be prepared for other people you don’t know to be in your photos, unless your professional photographer knows how to hide them or make them disappear. You wouldn’t want an awesome photo of you and your new spouse and have some unattractive person lying out on the beach behind you in the photo.

DO – Pick the perfect wedding gown. Some dresses are better for the beach then others. You wouldn’t want to pick a dress that as you walk across the beach it collects a lot of sand and becomes really heavy. Think about choosing a dress that will flow with you, that is not too long, and that will be comfortable in the heat of the summer weather.

FYI – Unity Candles or a Sand Ceremony? Candles would be hard to keep lit on the beach, instead consider incorporating a Sand Unity Ceremony in place of lighting the unity candles. And to start the Sand Ceremony off, be sure to collect sand from under your feet on the beach where you are getting married. Then you can combine your colored sand in your unity vase.

DO – Make sure you have your beach permits. Some beaches in Maryland and Delaware require you to have a permit to hold a function such as a wedding ceremony on the beach. Assateague Beach is crazy when it comes to permits and there will be an entrance fee for getting on those beaches. Delaware beaches will require you to have a permit for specific beaches, and getting married around Rehoboth beach parking will be limited and be prepared to keep feeding the meters.

DO – have a Plan B or Location B ready in case of rainy weather. You can always count on Mother Nature as being unpredictable, so you should have an alternate plan in case that beautiful beach wedding doesn’t happen as you have dreamed. You will find that a lot of wedding venues located on or near the beach will have enough space to have the ceremony in doors. Just make sure what the cost will be on having it in doors so you can plan to have that in your budget, just in case.