Helpful Tips

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE HAVE TAUGHT ME...

Beach weddings can be the most beautiful, magical weddings in the world. The white sand, crashing waves and warm sunshine make a perfect setting for a wedding on the beach. Even so, years of experience as a wedding officiant have taught me that there is no substitute for being prepared. Here are some beach ideas.


  • Bring sunscreen. Even in October, You don’t want your friends to refer to your wedding with the words “lobster” or “crispy.”
  • Remember, the sun and beautiful white sand make the beach very bright. Take your sunglasses off at least 30 minutes prior to the wedding to allow your eyes to become accustomed to the glare. Otherwise, your pictures will show you squinting and people will think you look drunk.
  • There will usually be people on the beach no matter where you go. In the summer, lots of people will watch your wedding. Be prepared. They are usually very respectful and happy for you. You may even get applause!
  • Remember that the sun does not set “into the water” in the Gulf like it does on the west coast.  You are facing south. As you face the water, the sun will set over your right shoulder behind condos.
  • Bring insect repellant just in case. It is not often, but sometimes there are little biting flies that will nibble at your ankles. Screaming “ouch” during the ceremony ruins the mood.
  • There will be a breeze. Candles don’t work on the beach. If you need candles, buy battery powered ones and get married at night.
  • Because of the breeze, beautiful flowing hair will blow into your face. It may be necessary for you to face the wind even if a beloved aunt insists you stand on the right because of tradition. It’s important that you see who you are marrying.
  • Because of the breeze, some light, short dresses will require you to spend the day holding your dress down with both hands. Then how will you tweet the ceremony? Plan accordingly.
  • Remember that fake flower petals and glass are not allowed on the beach. Publix grocery store has real flower petals.
  • No matter how well behaved young children are, they will want to play in the sand and water during the wedding. You may want to appoint a lifeguard.
  • You will perspire. Bring a handkerchief. Use appropriate mascara.
  • The sand is fairly deep. Normal wheelchairs don’t roll well. There are companies down here that rent beach wheelchairs.
  • When you choose your spot, remember those guests who may not be able to walk far in deep sand. Remember that it is the same distance out as it was in.
  • There are no power outlets on the beach. Be sure your phones and other devices are fully charged. You don’t want your sister to miss videoing your wedding because she played Candy Crush all day.
  • Be prepared for rain. For example, light colored linen is beautiful until it gets seriously wet. Then it becomes see through. More of a problem for some than others.
  • The sand will not hold up an arbor against the wind without deeply embedded stakes. “Catch the arbor” is not a fun wedding game.
  • The rolling waves crashing against the shore are magnificent…and noisy. The closer you get to the waves, the more likely no one will hear your ceremony.
  • Phoenix Condos (and a few other condo companies) have condos named Phoenix I, II, III through X, East, West, Suites and they are not always in numerical order. Be very specific with your guests. Share landmarks with your guests. It is easier to drive while looking for Waffle House than Phoenix IV among all the Phoenixes.
  • Many beach houses have colorful names such as “Mermaid Mansion” or “Flipity Do Da.” Your guests won’t be able to put the name in their GPS and find the house. Find out the street address.
  • Trust me. You do not want to stand calf deep in the water for your wedding unless you are wearing a swimsuit.