Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{Beach Wedding Week} Practical Tips for Planning a Beach Wedding

Unless you're planning a fancy resort destination beach wedding where all your wedding worries are whisked away on the tropical winds or your budget allows for a super awesome planner who manages every last piece until you walk down the sandy aisle (all of which are really nice), you've got some serious planning to do if you want the beach themed wedding of your dreams. So grab your Pinterest app, your to do lists and a cup of coffee and let's get down to business with some de Lovely practical planning tips.

Location - After you've chosen the date, narrowed down the guest list, location, location, location is the most important thing on your list. You've fallen in love with a gorgeous secluded beach, its printine sand and breathtaking view but it's a bit out of the way, the services are few, and the only bathroom is a stinky public 1/2 mile down down the beach. Okay, a little over the top but you get my point.  Your location must be is easily accessible for you, your guests and vendors, who may charge more for an inconvenient location. Pre-wedding jitters should not include location stress for you; do you have a place to dress, relax, pose for pictures? Guests should be able to easily park and walk, and vendors need to access facilities. Plus your DIY projects and wedding party need a staging area.

If you want to be directly on the beach, research public and privates beaches. Beachside hotels may the best option since they offer beach access, reception services, and guest accommodations. Boathouses, state parks, historical beach homes, or small seaside communities offer perfectly good alternatives to the traditional resort or hotel beach wedding. Depending on the size of your guest list and wedding party, you may be able to get away with a secluded beach wedding. Hire an accommodating planner who can handle all the small details and set your DIY projects in motion.

Photo courtesy of Intimate Weddings
BOTTOM LINE TIPS: * Permits may be needed if your guest list is large. * Check city ordinances for laws regarding alcohol and music. * Sun and wind may be a factor, plan for the right time of day and year.

Photo Courtesy of Sproullie Designs
Do It Yourself - I am a huge fan of DIY; it saves you money, it's a fun way to get people involved, and it adds a true touch of your personality, making your wedding anything but cookie cutter. When it comes to Beach Weddings, choose three to five DIY projects; more than that you risk overwhemling yourself. I like the idea of one or two items per time period: pre-wedding, ceremony, and reception. Carry your beachy brand thoughout the entire wedding for a cohesive and visually pleasing theme. Check here tomorrow for great DIY ideas.

BOTTOM LINE TIPS: * DIY is better with friends, invite your bridesmaids to help out. * Assign a family member or friend to be in charge on the big day. * DIY projects are supposed to save your money, don't go over the top buying sand, when you can get it at the beach.

Photo Courtesy of The Knot

Beach Theme: I suggest limiting your "beach" look to a few pieces of varying sizes here and there; not every decoration needs to be themed. It just looks cheesy and can actually cost you more money if vendors need to customize every single item. Instead use color, music, food to enhance the celebration.

Wedding invitations set the tone, location sets the mood, reception centerpieces continue your brand and a touch of the beach on your cake finishes the theme....going overboard (pardon the pun) can ruin the sentiment behind choosing a beach theme in the first place.

BOTTOM LINE TIPS: * Choose a brand and stick with it but sparingly. * Find other ways to incorporate the beach theme instead of just shells and starfish. * Scour the web and blogs for inspiration; Pinterest and are all the rage.

Photo Courtesy of National Garden Month

Go Local - When it comes to food and flowers, request your vendors go local or work directly with a local provider, such as a flower farm or farmer's market. It is easier to deal with smaller companies for catering or rentals as they can be more accommodating. A wedding trend for 2012 is to request caterers and hotels go "locavore", which means that food must be gathered within 50 miles of the event. It is cheaper, better for the environment and supports small businesses.

BOTTOM LINE TIPS: * Vendors may charge less if they don't have to travel, especially musicians; search locally for good talent. * Use local business directories and sites such as YELP to help lcoate quality vendors.

Beach weddings can offer more savings, fewer headaches and more fun than a traditional wedding but in the end, it all comes down to planning and planning well. There are a million other tips to help you plan your wedding day but the very best we can offer: have fun, be casual, be yourself, make your wedding about you and your sweetie and let all the rest go.

Have a de Lovely day!

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