We are so lucky in south east QLD and northern NSW to live alongside some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Some of us grew up on them, some of us fell in love with them later – and plenty of us choose to marry at these special places with the Pacific Ocean as the perfect backdrop. It sounds picture perfect, and it can be – but there are always a few things to keep in mind when planning your dream beach wedding.
1. It will probably be windy.
Consider an updo, or at least a partial one, and it might be best to skip the veil – or keep it short. I’ve also seen arbours blow over in the coastal wind on a wedding day, so take this into consideration in your styling too. Fabric-draped arbours catch the wind like sails on a boat, which can send them toppling in seconds! Find an option that will move with the wind like macrame or strings of shells.
2. Check the tides and the sunset time before you lock in your ceremony time.
You don’t want to be squinting in harsh sun, and you don’t want your guests to suffer through your ceremony either. You also don’t want your dream location to be underwater – surprise! – if you accidentally planned your ceremony to coincide with high tide. The sunset and tide times change throughout the year, so look them up online. Also don’t forget to allow enough time for you to greet all your guests after the ceremony (at least 20 minutes), snap some family group photos (another 20 minutes), and then capture your bridal portraits before the sun disappears too – unless you plan to take them before the ceremony.
3. Have a rehearsal
And if you can, plan it for the same time of day as your ceremony will be, as close to the day as you can manage. Invite your photographer along to coordinate with your celebrant and advise on the best area for light. Often having your ceremony look out toward the water is actually the least visually pleasing option for an afternoon ceremony. If you’re in shade and the ocean’s still in sunlight, your photo background will be mostly blown out white patches, not the beautiful vista you can see in your mind’s eye.
4. Have a wet weather backup plan.
Sometimes the weather won’t come to the party, especially in February, March and April, but an indoor area can be just as lovely. Just like the beach lighting tip above, try not to have your indoor ‘altar’ back onto a window or balcony where the light will be behind you – your background in photos will just be white and your backlit images will lose contrast. Beside a big window is much better, where the light is coming in from the side.
5. Bring wet wipes.
Your feet will get sandy, and sandy feet do not squeeze nicely into those dreamy reception stilettos. Bring along wet wipes and wipe your feet down – or have a bridesmaid wipe them if your dress won’t let you reach that far. The last thing you need is sand in your shoes while you’re carving up the dance floor!