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wedding home > unique wedding ideas > themes & style > which beach wedding fits your style? casual or formal?

Which Beach Wedding Fits Your Style? Casual or Formal?

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Themed weddings are a great way to showcase your style and personality while giving guests a memorable experience. Beach weddings are a popular summer wedding theme, and for good reason! The beach represents summer, vacation, and happiness for many people.

In order to successfully plan a beach wedding, you'll need to answer these essential questions:

  • When is your wedding: morning, midday, or sunset?
  • What is your wedding budget?
  • Will the ceremony and reception be formal or casual?
  • Are you having a large wedding or small, intimate ceremony?

Answering these questions will help you pick decorations and other essentials while working within your budget.

Setting the Mood with Invitations

Whether you're aiming for a sophisticated air or a laid-back fun in the sun vibe, your invitations will help set expectations for guests so they can better prepare for your big day. Do you want your guests to dress in their finest formal wear, or don loose cotton clothing over bathing suits? Should they go with dressy shoes or bare feet? Answering those questions in the invitations is an easy way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

For informal gatherings, choose invitations that help your guests envision a relaxed beach-side event. Anything related to waves, palm trees, and sea creatures will get your guests in the beach wedding spirit. For more formal weddings, select invitations that are decorated with rich colors, pearls, or similar symbols that evoke a black tie affair.

Wedding Ceremony Essentials

Formal or informal, first find out if you need to secure a permit in order to have your wedding on the beach. Once you have reserved the beach for your wedding, it's time to start planning the ceremony!

For informal ceremonies, make things more intimate and memorable by going without chairs and inviting guests to stand close for the vows. Have the wedding party wear floral garlands or leis instead of carrying formal bouquets, and add flowers to your hair rather than wearing a traditional veil. Let the natural beauty of the beach and its surroundings enhance the beauty of the ceremony. Keep décor to a minimum to keep guests focused on the ceremony.

For formal ceremonies, rent flooring and seating to help your guests stay comfortable during the ceremony. If the sound of the surf is loud, you may need a sound system to help guests hear the vows. That means you'll need to figure out how to power and where to position the electronics for maximum effect and safety. If you're having your wedding at sunset, accent the altar and aisle with dramatic lighting.

Planning for Bad Weather

Keep an eye on the weather forecast in the days leading up to the wedding - no bride wants to get caught in a sudden downpour! Weather on many beaches can vary wildly, swinging from hot and sunny to rainy and windy in a matter of moments. Whether you're planning on a formal or informal beach wedding, you should have a tent or backup location ready in case you need to take shelter from wind or storms.

Even if it doesn't rain, temperature swings can make guests uncomfortable if they are not adequately prepared. Help your afternoon wedding guests beat the heat by setting up shady areas with cool drinks, hats, and sunscreen. At sunset weddings, make sure to have blankets, sweaters, and heaters on hand to help guests stay warm in the event of sudden temperature drops.

Decorating Within the Theme

Add flair to both formal and informal weddings by making arches for the altar out of palm fronds or driftwood. Decorate your altar with tropical flowers and seashells for a unique accent to your ceremony. Hang bolts of linen cloth - they double as décor and shady areas for guests to lounge. Adorn hanging cargo nets with shells, sea creatures, tropical flowers, and strands of pearls.

For a simple beach ceremony with few people, decorating may not be necessary - the waves and sand are often enough, especially when you add a splash of color with some tropical flowers. In that case, save your money for the reception area. Use beach themed decorations that evoke a low-key, natural, and airy vibe for informal events. Think sand, water, seashells, sea creatures, and sun. For a fun twist, use recycled materials that commonly wash up on beaches. Old colored glass bottles make great candle holders and centerpieces when artfully arranged!

Food and Favors

Finger foods and seafood are perfect for a daytime beach wedding. Use natural cotton linens for tablecloths and napkins, and let guests serve themselves buffet style. Mark their seats with seashell place card holders, or let them sit wherever they please.

For evening or formal events, have a romantic candlelit dinner in a tent or nearby reception hall. Grilled meats and summer fruits make for a great meal that is both light and tasty.

Beach themed favors can be really simple - collect seashells and hand them out as a token of your appreciation. For more traditional wedding favors, give guests Jordan almonds in a natural cotton favor bag. Or, get creative with beach-themed favors by giving your guests personalized sunscreen or lip balm.

These tips and tricks are great ways to kick start the planning for your ultimate beach wedding. Use them to decide how formal you want to be, and then incorporate your own style for a wedding that is uniquely yours!

For more creative ways to celebrate your love, check out our wedding ideas and inspirations articles.

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