The Pros and Cons of a Beach Wedding

The sun’s glisten in your eyes, powdery white sand on your toes, and a cool sea breeze through your hair – is there anything more peaceful and romantic than a beach wedding?

Every year couples in every corner of the world choose to get married on the beach. And as idyllic as this setting may seem in photographs, the journey to a seaside wedding isn’t always met with calm waters.

Some destination locations are better suited for beach weddings than others but, no matter which country you wed in, every sandy ceremony comes with its fair share of challenges.

Having planned real beach weddings in Malta and other Mediterranean locations, I’ve seen first hand both the upsides and downsides of having one. Consider this helpful list of Pros and Cons I’ve put together before you set your sights on a beach wedding:

The Pros

The Perfect Backdrop.  Whether you elect to exchange your vows under deep ocean blue skies, against a coral sunset, or on a bright starry night, the ambiance of the beach is a splendid and serene setting. Surely, this is one of the top draws of getting married on the beach.

Photographer: Pixie Dust Weddings

Great Venue for Your Ceremony and Reception.  Assuming this is permitted, the wide open space of a typical beach can accommodate a number of guests for both a ceremony and a reception, so there is no need to shuffle guests from one location to another.

Less Decor Needed. The natural beauty of the beach is usually enough to compensate for any lack of decor. In some locations the beach is hugged by majestic cliffs, in others by lush greenery or tropical flowers and in others by charming wooden piers. Whatever the scenery, it will likely be more than enough to yield stunning photos, without the aid of decorations.

More Savings. Even if there are permits or fees to get married on your chosen beach, it can still be more affordable than a venue wedding because you’ll likely save on items like decorations, lighting and sound equipment, electronic installations, an over-the-top wedding gown, and other add-ons that wouldn’t really fit a wedding on the beach.

More Comfortable Attire.  Because you’ll be spending the day on the sand, you and your guests can most certainly get away with less formal attire, if you desire. You can swap suits and ties for khakis and polos or multi-layered ball gowns with stilettos for a simple sundress and rhinestone sandals.  Your guests will love the fact they could just wear simple items from their closet and can even go barefoot if they want to.

Stunning Pictures.  With the natural daylight and landscape of the beach, your wedding photographer will need little else to produce breathtaking photos of your big day.

Photographer: Alexey Leonov

A More Relaxed Atmosphere.  The beach vibe will quickly put everyone at ease. In an instant, guests will feel more like they’re on vacation than attending a formal wedding, bringing out their most fun, laid-back side.

Go Gaga on DIY Projects.  No one expects a beach wedding to be extravagant, making it the perfect excuse to let your inner crafter come out. Let your personality, creativity and DIY skills shine through homemade party favors, place cards, invitations, gift tables, signage and more.

A Great Place for Your Honeymoon.  Most couples say that the wedding day passes by in the blink of an eye. Luckily, the honeymoon is often a whole week long! And if your heart is set on a sandy ceremony, you might as well choose a spot that’s also fit for a vacation. When couples call me to plan a Malta beach wedding, I can usually count on them planning their honeymoon in Malta too. It’s the practical thing to do; you save by having your wedding and honeymoon in one location and you get to enjoy the beach for more than just one day.

The Cons

No Such Thing as Perfect Weather.  No matter how perfect the year-round weather typically is in your chosen location, there are no guarantees when it comes to the beach. After all, your outdoors. There is always a chance you’ll experience rain, lightning storms, strong winds, blazing heat, and sometimes even hurricanes (God forbid). To combat this, research seasonal weather forecasts so you can pick a date that’s the least risky. Also, consider having a Plan B; an indoor or tented space should the weather take turn for the worst.

And if you just can’t stomach the idea of your wedding day being left up to change? I recommend considering a property that can give you a little bit of both – a sightline of the beach with the security of an indoor backup option. For my destination clients who have this concern, I help them select a Malta sea view venue that brings waterfront views into their photos without the unpredictable downsides of the beach.

The Tides.  When planning anything on the beach, one must always be aware of the low and high tides. Get educated about the times that the tide is expected to come in and go out on your wedding day because the timeline of your soiree will be impacted by those – including your photo sessions, the time you say your vows, time for eating, and more. What’s more, tides tend to become especially volatile after a hurricane, so you’ll want to stay informed about the weather leading up to your wedding.

The Sand.  The powdery sand is good if you’re only thinking about you and your guests’ attire and footwear. But apart from that, sometimes the mere fact of having to deal with sand becomes a disadvantage. It may sweep into your eyes right in the middle of speaking your vows, fly into your guests food as they eat, or even soil clothes and belongings.

The Uninvited Guests.  I’m not referring to gate-crashers or wedding crashers here. On the beach, it’s the animals, insects, and other wildlife that may pester you and your guests while you celebrate. Because you are outside in nature, expect to have flies, mosquitoes, birds, and more.

Intense Heat and Sunlight.  As I have already mentioned, timing your beach wedding is really everything. Natural lighting is really great for photos. But if we’re talking about too much sun, heat, and glare, then it becomes a disadvantage. Attendees risk hyperthermia, dehydration and sunburn if exposed to the heat and sun for too long.

Rules and Permits to Comply With.  Even if a beach is public, many local municipalities require  permits to be acquired and environmental fees to be paid in order to conduct a legal beach wedding. Although the fees are usually inexpensive and the permits simple to obtain, it’s important to get your ducks in a row so that your beach wedding has no delays.

Not Really That Private.  Well let’s face it; unless you’re willing to rent a private island for your beach wedding, you can likely expect to see some strangers while exchange your vows. They could interrupt ceremonial traditions with loud music or yelling or wind up in wedding photos. And, as is the case with any public place, guests should be mindful of their personal belongings to avoid theft.

Photographer: Pixie Dust Weddings

There is no question that beach weddings have a definite appeal, even if they come with some unique obstacles. Hopefully, the perks and setbacks I’ve shared of having a beach wedding will help you determine if it’s the right type of venue for your wedding.

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