You can’t go wrong with the amazing colors of nature as the backdrop of your ceremony. Follow these guidelines for the perfect beach wedding — even when Mother Nature works against you — from David Tutera of WE tv’s The Wedding Planner and the author of My Fair Wedding: Finding Your Vision… Through His Revisions!
Find out as soon as possible what permits you may need. You’ll have to know which areas of the beach are public, and whether you’ll be allowed to install structures — such as the tall bamboo poles draped with flowing white chiffon I did for Christina and Ed’s wedding. These structures are a terrific way to create a sense of intimacy and yet establish a boundary between the ceremony guests and the beachgoers.
Time it just right. Schedule the ceremony no later than thirty minutes before sunset, so your guests can see every detail of your wedding clearly — and perhaps experience a marvelous sunset after you’ve said your “I dos.”
Have a backup plan! When a rainstorm threatens your beach wedding plans, you’ll need to be able to seamlessly move everything indoors. My rule is this: If there’s at least a 30 percent chance of rain on your wedding day, then you’ll need to implement your rain plan. And you must have this all figured out before — not on — your wedding day.
In case of high winds, ensure that everything that needs to be embedded in the sand — the arches, columns, gateways, and so on — is securely anchored down. You don’t want to risk anything crashing down on your guests.
It’s also a good idea to cover the entire ceremony area with carpet or flooring, so that no one has to worry about getting sand in their shoes or sinking into the sand with their heels. For Christina and Ed’s wedding, my team used Astroturf over a plywood subfloor. If it’s a hot day, you can make your guests comfortable by providing hand fans, water bottles, or even cold hand towels soaked in lemon or lavender water.
Most important, when you’re having an outdoor wedding, set up microphones at the altar to amplify the ceremony. You want your guests to actually hear you and your groom exchanging vows. After all, that’s why they came! You can run power from a nearby source or use a small generator that would need to be hidden.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Tutera, author of My Fair Wedding: Finding Your Vision… Through His Revisions! (Copyright tk), is one of the biggest names in the wedding industry, renowned for his wedding design and production firm that has catered to the bridal needs of celebrities like Star Jones and Antonio Pierce of the New York Giants. And, while not for weddings, David Tutera has also counted Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Elton John, and Barbara Walters as satisfied customers.