The Ultimate Beach Wedding Guide: Read This First

Before planning a beach wedding, read this complete guide on what to expect and important considerations for couples dreaming of doing their ceremony at a beach location. We’ll cover everything from the essential must-haves, themes, decorations, and even the famous beaches for beach weddings. 

You’ll also know a realistic budget for a beach wedding and if doing the ceremony at the beach will be cheaper compared to any other venue. But in addition to this beach wedding checklist, read how to plan a beach wedding as another reference. 


Everything To Know Before You Have A Beach Wedding 


4 Beach Wedding Considerations Every Couple Must Not Overlook

There are four primary considerations for couples planning to do their wedding ceremony at the beach. These things are the permit, contingency plan for the weather, accessibility of the guests to the location, and comfortable attire for the outdoor venue. 

  • Do you need a permit to have a wedding on the beach? It will depend on the location, as some public beaches don’t require the couple to apply for a permit. 

However, you must check with the beach venue to accomplish the wedding permit on schedule and avoid any issues as the wedding day gets closer. For example, you must apply for the LA County beach wedding permit around 90 days before the event if you’re getting married at a beach in LA. 

  • Remember to have a contingency plan for the outdoor ceremony location. For example, if you’re having the ceremony at a public beach and not at a resort that will arrange everything for you, you must prepare protection against the elements. 

This can mean renting a tent for beach wedding guests and other essential ceremony details to comfort family and friends. But before renting and arranging things at the beach, check with the local country if there are restrictions to follow. 

  • The beach wedding might also be a destination that requires guests to travel. Remember that budgets and busy schedules might restrict you, so pick a beach location accessible for family and friends. 

If you’re having a beach wedding outside the country, sending invitations as early as 12 weeks before the wedding is essential. The couple should also guide the guests with their accommodations and prepare a questions page on the wedding website to clarify potential expectations, like who will pay for what. 

  • Since you’ll be under the sun, expect your wedding attire to be practical for the beach wedding venue. Of course, you can still wear the traditional wedding attire for the couple, a gown for the bride and a suit for the groom. 

But for comfort, pick breathable fabrics and light colors. The bride can also wear an A-line or mermaid silhouette for her dress as it uses fewer layers for better mobility, while the groom can still look dapper in a buttoned shirt and khaki pants than a dark and hot three-piece suit. 


2 Popular Beach Wedding Color Palettes And Theme Ideas

The most popular beach wedding themes are boho and tropical. Therefore, bright colors like red, blue, and yellow are often used for decorations and other beach wedding details.

You might also see muted tones for the boho color palette and neutral and natural colors like green and brown. But, of course, earth and warm tones will always complement the beach venue’s natural ocean backdrop and sand at the beach venue.  

But of course, you still want a classy setting, so make sure to balance your bold and neutral colors. You can even create a chic beach wedding with pastels and natural colors. 


6 Must-Have Beach Wedding Decorations 

What decorations will you need for a beach wedding ceremony? The naturally picturesque location means you won’t need as many decorations and details to change the designs and vibe of the wedding venue. 

However, you can still prepare a backdrop, wedding aisle, and arrange the chairs beautifully for the beach wedding. You can feature a natural backdrop with fresh flowers and greenery inspired by paradise or use boho and neutral colors for a wedding arch that still shows the ocean behind the couple. 

The chairs for the guests and the aisle leading to the front should also be done neatly. You don’t need to overdo things around the beach wedding venue, but boho flower arrangements, sea-inspired centerpieces, and tropical decorations of fruits and plants can elevate the overall setting. 


Top 5 Beaches For A Beach Wedding Ceremony 

Before anything else, picking a beach venue for your wedding ceremony should not only be about the picturesque backdrop by the water. Consider your budget, number of guests, and proximity to the location for a stress-free beach wedding. 

But to help you narrow your options for the beaches, these are the most popular locations in the US for beach weddings: 

  • Miami, Florida

Interestingly, couples often consider their beach destination wedding in Florida. There are also many resort options for easier planning for your beach wedding. 

Here’s how much is a beach wedding in Florida to know your expected budget. 

  • Orange Country, California

Orange County has many beaches that make the best wedding backdrop if you and your guests live in California. Consider Laguna Niguel and Dana Point for your ceremony or compare different waterfront resort venues. 

  • New Jersey Shore

New Jersey is another popular beach location option for couples who want to get married by the shore. Having a beach wedding in New Jersey on a budget is possible since some beaches have no permit fee.

  • Maine

Maine is well-known for its gorgeous beaches, so it’s only fitting to consider it for your beach wedding. According to reviews from other couples, some of Maine’s best beach wedding venues are the Inn by the Sea and Beachmere Inn.

  • Oahu, Hawaii

The list of the best beaches for weddings would only be complete with Hawaii; in particular, your destination wedding can be in Oahu. Every couple will get a permit to get married in Oahu. 

And if you’re eyeing Hawaii for your event, you might want to read how much does a wedding in Hawaii costs


Is It Cheaper To Have A Beach Wedding?

It’s possible that a beach wedding will cost you less than a traditional wedding in an indoor venue. After all, some beaches won’t even incur a permit fee, so you’re eliminating the expenses for the wedding location. 

However, if it’s a destination wedding, the beach wedding will cost more since you’ll also pay for the travel and accommodation fees. Weddings in a luxury resort should also be pricey, especially during peak season in your chosen destination.


Are Weddings On The Beach Free?

A beach wedding might be free as some hotels and resorts offer a wedding ceremony to couples staying in them for a specific duration. The free package usually includes everything for the ceremony, such as the officiant, chairs for the guests, wedding paperwork, decorations, and sometimes, even a dinner for two. 

However, a resort’s free beach wedding will have a limited number of guests. You might also be given the option to add other things like the music, champagne, and cake for a small fee compared to planning the entire beach wedding yourself and finding vendors for the event. 

To give you an idea of your expected expenses, you can check how much does a beach wedding cost


Do You Have To Pay To Have A Wedding On The Beach?

If you’re planning on having your wedding on a public beach, you must check with the local country and acquire the necessary permit. You will need to pay a permit fee in some locations, while other beaches are free for a wedding ceremony. 

However, no beach wedding would be entirely free, especially for other ceremony needs like chairs, rentals, food, and the payment for the wedding paperwork. This is why some couples would instead find a destination resort offering wedding packages with a wedding planner who’ll be responsible for everything they need. 

Remember that outsourcing vendors will be pricier, especially if they’re not from the location. You should also clarify to family and friends the expectations on who’s paying their travel and accommodation fees to avoid miscommunications. 


What Is A Fair Budget For A Beach Wedding?

A wedding budget between $5,000 to $10,000 should be realistic if the couple wants their ceremony venue to be a beach. However, it’s possible to do a destination wedding for only $5,000, especially with few guests, a simple wedding, or by acquiring deals from a resort. 

A local beach wedding would also be affordable since you don’t need to pay for travel and accommodations. And in some locations, the beach wedding permit does not cost anything. 

Another way to do a beach wedding on a budget is to do a quick ceremony at the beach with just the officiant. This is called an elopement, but the couple can celebrate with their family and friends at another venue for the reception to cut the event costs. 


Where Is The Cheapest Place To Have A Beach Wedding?

Because you won’t be spending on airline tickets and hotel accommodations, your local beach would be the cheapest venue for the wedding. In addition, some locations won’t also incur a fee for their beach wedding permit, so you only need to pay for the wedding legalities, officiant, and other things for the guests. 

If you’re in or close to Florida, you can consider having your beach wedding in Palm Beach County, as they don’t charge for a wedding ceremony. You also don’t have to acquire a permit to use the beach area as long as it’s an intimate gathering without structures, chairs, or sound equipment. 

You can also browse Belize, Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic resorts. These places are known for their beautiful beaches, so many affordable resorts will accommodate guests. 


What Is The Best Time To Have A Beach Wedding?

The best time to have a beach wedding is in the morning before 10 am. This ensures a comfortable temperature, especially for the couple and their guests. 

It would be best if you still prepared a shaded area or hand guests umbrellas or fans, especially for a summer beach wedding. Then, the ceremony can transition into brunch at another location. 

When having a destination beach wedding, it’s also better to set the wedding date during the off-season to score affordable prices from vendors and beach venues. Early fall and late spring at beaches have lesser visitors, so most beaches and resorts are likely to offer great deals for couples who want to get married in their venue. 


Do You Need A Wedding Planner For A Beach Wedding?

You’re not required to have a wedding planner for a beach wedding, but there are many benefits to having one, especially for destination beach weddings. The wedding planner will help you prepare the venue, book the necessary vendors, and assist you with the requirements for a legal wedding ceremony at that location. 

You can also check with some resorts that offer beach wedding packages. With these packages, you’ll have everything for the beach wedding, including the rentals for the guests, venue decorations, and even the officiant. 


Who Is Officiating The Beach Wedding?

Non-religious officiants typically perform beach weddings as religious officiants like Catholic priests would only marry couples in the Catholic church. However, you still need a registered and legal wedding officiant to perform your beach wedding ceremony. 

If you’re having a destination wedding, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the marriage laws in that location to know if they have requirements for a legal ceremony. You can also find an officiant who’s registered in that place. 


How Many Guests Should Attend A Beach Wedding?

It’s up to the couple to decide the number of guests they want at their beach wedding. Keep in mind that the size of the event significantly affects the expenses, so most beach weddings are intimate events with the couple’s closest family and friends only. 

And to guide everyone you’ll invite, you can refer them to beach wedding guest dresses.



And that’s it! We hope we’ve covered everything you need for planning the ultimate beach wedding stress-free and on a budget. 

Remember to acquire the permit, prepare a weather contingency plan, consider the beach location, and plan comfortable beach wedding attire. Tropical and boho are the most popular themes, and you can expect a starting budget of $5,000 for a beach wedding. 

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