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He asked and you said yes! Now your big day is approaching and you are imagining the prospects of a perfect beach wedding--but, slow down for just a second. The reality is that no matter how much you plan, you won't be able to control whatever the elements have in mind. From high tides to rain clouds, sunburn and sand fleas, choosing a beach as your venue can be a daunting decision. Thankfully, there are ways to plan accordingly to make your beach wedding dreams come true.
Though I myself am not an expert in beach weddings by any means, I am someone who has been to beach weddings and plans to get married on a beach someday, so, you could say I've put a lot of thought into it.
Here are my top 10 tips to make sure your Florida beach wedding goes without a hitch.
1. Plan for the cool, dry season
The worst time to plan a beach wedding in Florida is during hurricane season. Not only will you risk hurricanes popping up around the same time as your wedding, but since hurricane season coincides with the state's wet season, there's a decent chance your party will be rained on--not to mention how hot and humid it is around that time too. The best time of the year to plan an outside wedding would be during our dry season from November-May.
2. Remember the bug spray
Florida is full of bugs--many of which think human blood is delicious--and they don't care if it's your wedding day or not. If you are planning a wedding on the beach, particularly around the evening hours, you may find yourself tangling with hordes of no-see-ums and mosquitoes which can leave you and your guests itching to leave. Nets, bug spray and proper timing can certainly help mitigate this issue, but still note it may not completely resolve it.
3. ...And sunscreen
You may be able to outsmart the bugs by having your wedding during the heat of the day--but remember the sunscreen. Chances are that you and your guests will be spending considerable amounts of time in the sun (even if it's just for photos) and just like the insects, the sun doesn't care if it's your wedding, it will burn you and your wedding party all the same and those dress tan lines will be extra weird (like, weirder than Mark Zuckerberg's sunscreen face). Leave the sunburning for your honeymoon.
4. Tie everything down
If you know why the ocean has waves then you probably know that beaches are pretty darn windy, like, all the time. If you bring objects to the beach that can be easily blown away, be sure to stake them into the ground so you can focus on saying "I do" instead of "someone grab the tent before it flies away."
5. Pick an appropriate beach
With so many beautiful beaches to choose from, it's not uncommon that couples are unfamiliar with the beach they've picked for their wedding... But just because other people do it doesn't mean it's a good idea. As someone who lives in Florida and has been to many beaches, I cannot stress enough how different they can look in photos. I highly recommend going to a few different places in person before committing to a downpayment on your event. And if you think you'll just have a sneaky little elope on the nearest beach, do note that some will require a wedding permit and others just straight up won't be family friendly at all. And really, I mean, the last thing you need is a park ranger to write you a fine on your wedding day--or worse--wouldn't it be rather embarrassing to host a wedding at a nude beach?
6. Get a beach-friendly dress
Some dresses are inarguably better suited for beach weddings than others. Ball gowns, for example, as gorgeous as they may be, will likely not be a great candidate for a wedding on the beach. They're cumbersome and their extra layers will make them very hot, not to mention, could you imagine what would happen if they got wet? And let's be real here, if you're hosting an outside wedding you should be prepared for your dress to get dirty, sandy, and possibly even wet. Maybe don't get a dress you're too attached to that you can't stand the thought of it getting ruined.
7. Invest in a wedding planner
You're probably not an expert on planning weddings, so why are you trying to be? Leave the hard work up to someone who knows what they're doing by investing in a wedding planner. They should already know all the ins and outs of how to plan a successful Florida beach wedding within your boundaries.
8. Don't rush through planning
Give yourself ample amount of time to plan. The more rushed you are, the more problems you will overlook and the more mistakes you will probably make along the way. Wedding experts suggest planning at least one year ahead of time.
9. Have realistic expectations for your budget
A castle with ocean views might sound like the perfect place for a reception, but is it worth it when a moderate pavilion nearby could work instead? Perfection will undoubtedly be an added expense and let's be honest, a fancy and expensive wedding is only great until you get the bill. That's why it's so important to have realistic expectations for what's comfortable in your budget. After all, you shouldn't have to spend your honeymoon stressing about your financial situation.
10. Have a backup plan/consider alternatives
No matter how much planning you do, there's no predicting how things will actually turn out the day of. Consider having a backup plan for things you identify as potential problems like if it rains, have umbrellas for your guests if you can't move the event inside. It may also be a good idea to plan only a portion of the ceremony to take place outdoors (or even just the photos) to lessen the chance of such things happening.