You found your soulmate, you set a date, and you’ve decided you want a beach destination wedding. Now, the real work begins. Once the location is set, you’ll want to hire a planner who specializes in destination weddings. We spoke with several seasoned destination wedding professionals to get some insider tips to help make your special day even more magical.
A professional wedding planner will help alleviate the time-consuming pressures that can distract your focus from what the day is really all about. “For example, different times of year may pose different types of challenges,” said Avis Glenister of Peach & Pearl Events. “Let your planner take the reins. They’ll know what venues are best for your aesthetic, specific venue nuances, and which vendors might take breaks at certain times of the year.”
“It’s very important to check sunset times at the exact location before finalizing your ceremony time and printing invitations,” said photographer Heather Durham. “You want to make sure you have plenty of good light for your images during your ceremony and for 30-60 minutes after.”
Most brides want to have their ceremony start 1-2 hours before sunset so they can enjoy dreamy, golden hour light for the ceremony, post-ceremony portraits, and cocktail hour.
“Book your planner and vendor A-team early on in the process, and be sure to have an alternate plan,” suggested Brian Watson of Myrtie Blue. “Since most couples come to the coast to enjoy an outdoor wedding and reception, dreams can be dashed if you’re not prepared to deal with unexpected blows from Mother Nature (rain, wind, cold, etc.). Have contingency plans in place for as many possibilities that you and your planner can conceive. That way, there are no real surprises, and you can still plan a beautiful ceremony and reception no matter what circumstances might arise beyond your control.”
“It’s important to search out the perfect venue and catering company to fit your needs,” said Cheri Peebles of Grayton Beach Catering. “Once you choose the venue and the food, the rest will take care of itself. Many venues offer preferred vendors to include the above, as well as planners, rental companies, photography, bakeries, and floral.”
One organic benefit of a destination wedding is that it allows you to embrace the local environment, using local flowers, backdrops and fresh cuisine. Cultivating the local food scene to serve at the reception is a way to honor and appreciate everything the community has to offer.
Hiring local vendors can also help save on lodging and travel expenses, and they know things about a destination that out-of-towners might miss.
“In terms of videography, for example, it’s important to find a vendor who is experienced in the conditions/environment where you’re getting married,” said Cali Hlavac of Silver Shade Studios. “Choosing a destination on the beach is not the same as a backyard or a church, so bringing someone from your home state isn’t always the best decision. Local videographers will have experience shooting on the white sandy beaches, and will know how to work with sunset lighting and more.”
While the day is about you, a destination wedding is also very much about your guests and their experience. Planning your guest list as early as possible will help make sure accommodation availability doesn’t become a stressful issue. Finally, be sure to plan some beach fun and enjoy spending time with your family and friends in attendance. Paddleboarding, biking, boating, or an evening surrounded by your loved ones at a beach bonfire will guarantee that you and your guests enjoy the full coastal experience.