Basically the beach wedding you dream of is the closing scene from 27 Dresses, minus all the bridesmaids. In reality, planning a wedding in a non-traditional venue that also happens to be open to the public is anything but breezy. Read below to make sure you're covered before you imagine being barefoot, sand between your toes as you say 'I do'
As we've learned the hard way, there are a few necessities to consider before setting your sights on the ocean. From permits to personal space; if you’re thinking about a beach wedding, here are a few things to check on first!
There have been many an arguments over who has the right to sand for years and it all comes down to whether or not your dream beach is open to the public. If you're opting for a small intimate beach wedding, you should look at having your wedding on a private and secluded beach. You'll just have to find property owners who are happy and willing to host events in their space. But be warned, if this is what you're after, start planning early! Even the most lenient Airbnb hosts are often wary of weddings, so it can be tricky finding someone who has a private beach at their disposal and who doesn’t mind letting you rent their property as a home base.
There's a huge gap between having a beach ceremony and a full-on beach party with a 100 of your closest friends and family. So before you begin planning, figure out what type of beach wedding you're looking for. Permits play a big role depending on the kind of beach wedding you'll be having, whether food and drinks are involved or if you're needing to section off part of the beach. The easier option would be to have your ceremony on the beach and move your wedding reception to a venue better equipped to host your after-party!
The rules for beach permits vary from location to location and you'll often find yourself asking if you need a permit for this or that. You have to keep in contact with your local government to see what regulations they have in place concerning beach weddings.
The first step is to consider if your wedding will be small or large. There are regulations around events and the number of guests attending. Are you expecting your wedding to be a private affair? Everything revolving around a beach wedding will be easier if you answer 'no' to the above but you may be able to portion off a section of the beach to accommodate your wedding. Check your codes of conduct and see if there’s an option for obtaining a permit that keeps outsiders… outside. You'll also need to let the local government know if there will be alcohol involved as most beaches prohibit the consumption of alcohol. Also please take into consideration any extra activities you'd like at your wedding, a bonfire for example- you might find you need a permit for that too.
It may be your dream to get married with your toes in the sand, but your wheelchair-bound granny might think otherwise. Be sure to think through whether your guests will be standing and whether there is an option for seating? Like any outdoor event; space, traffic flows and accessibility play a huge role. Take a good look at your guest list for anyone you may need to make additional provisions for.
Have you listened to the crashing-waves soundtrack of the beach recently? Well, it's pretty loud and as you know, beaches don't exactly come equipped with power points. So think about how your guests will hear you say your 'I do's' and if your wedding is small enough that you won't need a sound engineer. Figure out all the stuff in advance, or you may end up shouting to compete with nature.
If you're getting married in a chapel, you stand a good chance that your ceremony won't disappear and be unavailable halfway through the day but that is an actual possibility with a beach wedding! Make sure you research the tide times to make sure you don't get engulfed by the ocean while you're reciting your vows and while we’re on the subject, don’t forget to check the seasonality of rain in your area. If you’re dreaming of a wedding in the Western Cape, thunder storm season is real. Happy Planning!