How to plan a Wedding on the Beach

Ideas, inspirations and practical advice to make your wedding by the sea happen!

Dopo il successo riscontrato dall'articolo precedente su come organizzare un matrimonio nel bosco, ho pensato di approfondire l'argomento dei matrimoni legati a luoghi ben specifici, in questo caso tratto del matrimonio in spiaggia!

Quando quasi 10 anni fa io e mia moglie ci siamo sposati, avremmo tanto voluto organizzare un matrimonio in spiaggia, ma io ancora non ero un fotografo di matrimoni e lei ancora non era una Wedding Designer: avemmo molte difficoltà nel cercare di organizzare un matrimonio del genere a Roma, quindi ripiegammo sul lago e trovammo la soluzione giusta per noi a Trevignano Romano.

Col senno di poi, avremmo potuto organizzarlo anche sul mare, ma non avevamo le conoscenze opportune per farlo: adesso le cose sono cambiate, lavoriamo da tanti anni nel settore e possiamo anche permetterci di aiutarvi! Ovviamente tutti i miei consigli relativi all'allestimento sono frutto non solo della mia esperienza lavorativa, ma anche delle conoscenze in materia di mia moglie, Mary de La Sposa degli Alberi.

After the success of the previous article on how to plan a wedding in the woods, I thought it would be a good idea to investigate the topic of weddings set into specific environments, in this case I'm writing about the Wedding on the Beach!

When my wife Mary and I got married nearly 10 years ago, we wanted to plan a Wedding on the Beach, but I wasn't a Wedding Photographer and she wasn't a Wedding Designer: we had a lot of difficulties trying to organize such a wedding here in Rome, so we fell back on Bracciano lake and found the right solution for us in the graceful city of Trevignano Romano.

In hindsight, we could also have organized it on the sea, but we didn't have the necessary knowledge to do it: now things have changed, we have been working in the industry for many years and we can even afford to help you! Obviously all my advice on the set-up is the result not only of my work experience, but also of my wife's knowledge on the subject.

How to plan a Wedding on the Beach

A Wedding on the beach, at sunset.


You might think about choosing a section of a free beach where to arrange the set-up for the ritual, but I don't recommend it. It's a better idea looking for the support of a venue, even better a venue that is used to managing important events such as weddings: you will not have to deal with the Italian bureaucracy to request and obtain permits for the ceremony and the party and you will have support for everything.

There are Italian Wedding Venues by the sea where you can celebrate the official civil ceremony and therefore you will not be forced to celebrate a symbolic ceremony: in addition to have complete assistance for the bureaucratic part, you will not have to celebrate the official ceremony in another place in advance of the symbolic one directly on location.

When looking for the venue for your wedding on the beach, make one thing clear immediately: on your wedding day you must have the exclusivity of the facility, so to be able to celebrate the ceremony in the most private possible way. Of course, in the case of non-private beaches, a limited group of people may happen to be walking near the place dedicated to the celebration. But it absolutely must not happen that, close to the ceremony, people in bathing suits or guests of the same facility, are around. Nor should it happen that, next to the setting up of the ceremony that you have planned with so much care, there is an expanse full of umbrellas, deck chairs and sun loungers (that are typical here on Italian beaches).

Wedding on the Beach
Wedding by the sea

A wedding directly on the beach and one on a terrace overlooking the sea.

An Italian Wedding Venue by the sea also allows you to take advantage of a series of services that are already present and you won't have to worry about: toilets and electric energy availability for banqueting/catering and for the evening lighting are worth all the expense. Don't forget that your wedding day will probably be hot and just having electricity to keep food and drinks fresh is essential.
Furthermore, having a facility at your complete disposal, you may have even more choice in positioning the ceremony: in fact there may be terraces overlooking the sea or the beach, which could represent a valid alternative to the ceremony positioned directly on the beach near the water's edge.

Finally a venue used to managing weddings will certainly also be organized for any emergency plan in case of bad weather: if you do not have the chance to move the wedding, it will be different from how you imagined it, but you will still succeed to celebrate it and create an unforgettable party!

The Style of a Beach Wedding

When you think of a Beach Wedding, you usually think of ropes, starfish, nets, shells, worn woods and all the other objects and colors concerning the sea. In themselves, these are elements that certainly bind well with the environment and that, if they are to your liking, nobody forbids you to use.

Colors of a wedding by the sea
Beach Wedding Colors

Even if you are inspired by nature, you can go beyond the classic blue among the colors that characterize your wedding.

However, always with the aim of making you aware of all the solutions you might have, also think about something different. Get rid of blue color and the elements I have listed previously and, for example, play with shades of colors close to those of sand: light woods, natural fabrics such as linen and jute, stone, warm colors of candles.
Imagine a Boho Wedding on the Beach with drapes, macramé work, flowers in white, pink and red tones, green foliage and all the other elements that characterize it.
Again, imagine a beach bordering a tropical forest: the characterizing elements in this case will be unusual flowers, lots of vegetation, bright colors... and you can also push yourself to use a completely themed setting table!

Beach Wedding Invitation
Beach Wedding Tropical Style

Beach Wedding Tropical Style designed byLa Sposa degli Alberi.

Do not feel limited by yourself or by the classic proposals that you will surely receive: Pinterest and Instagram are surely a source of inspiration, but the important thing is that you find the right suppliers able to satisfy your requests or, even better, to propose new and original ideas!
Once you have decided on the style that suits you, everything will be easier: based on that, the many other choices that affect the entire stylistic aspect of the wedding will be more natural, from your clothes to the position and structure of the ceremony, from the type of tables to be used in the banquet to the setting table, from the type of food to be served to the music to play.

Practical advice

Organizing a beach wedding may seem simple, but there are really lots of things you need to think about in time, otherwise you could ruin the experience of a potentially wonderful day for you and your guests. For your convenience, I am gathering my suggestions by themes.

The ideal time

It goes without saying that the ideal times to celebrate a wedding on the beach are those in the late afternoon just before the evening. Considering that the useful time close to sunset is limited, it is up to you to choose whether to have the ceremony about an hour before sunset in order to have photographic portraits immediately after the ceremony itself, or if you prefer amazing photos of the ceremony in the best light of the day.
To remedy this problem, you might consider doing a couple shooting (we prefer to call it Love Shooting) a few days before the wedding, at sunset by the sea or even in the same wedding location, so you can have both!

Beach Wedding in Italy
Beach Wedding in Rome

Beach wedding at sunset or in the morning: in the latter case it is better to choose a structure sheltered from the sun.

Getting ready

The venue doesn't necessarily have enough space for you to get ready. If so, look for a facility in the area, furnished in a style similar to that chosen for the wedding.
If, on the other hand, it had enough space for you and a few friends... how about the idea of extending the wedding to the day before and the day after? You could spend a few more days together, with the sea at your doorstep and surely the evening before the wedding will be special and fun!

Watch out for the wind

Whichever theme you choose, keep in mind that it's almost always windy by the sea. So pay attention to drapes, flowers, leaves and anything that is not sufficiently anchored. If you have a seating table, don't make it on loose sheets or hung on strings, otherwise your guests will go crazy trying to figure out where to sit.

But the wind is not only annoying: not only a cool breeze can bring relief on a particularly hot day, but you can use the wind to your advantage if you love the sound of shells flapping between them, artfully hung on structures already present or specially created. In addition, the wind that ruffles your hair a bit give the photographs that sensation of movement that always makes them a little bit special.
I'll talk about other problems and opportunities related to the wind later on.

Flowers for a Beach Wedding
Mother of pearl in a Beach Wedding setup

Compact floral compositions and mother of pearl free to move and "play" gentle sounds in the wind.

The Ceremony

You have two basic things to think about.

The first, seating for guests: the feet of the chairs sink into the sand, so get yourself chairs with wide feet or that don't cause the issue. Let your suppliers show them and try them out for yourself! Alternatively, you could replace them with benches, with or without cushions, or even with towels and cushions to seat guests directly on the sand. However I do not recommend it in case you have aged guests. Another solution may be to eliminate all types of seating but, honestly, I don't prefer it because people tend to stay in a messy way and move around during the ceremony.

The second, the wind (again): especially in the presence of many guests, if it is windy they will hardly be able to hear your words and those of the celebrant. It may not look pretty, but a PA system (with its microphone) might be a must.

Wedding dress, suit and clothes in general

Let's talk about both your dress/suit and those of your guests.
I recommend: choose comfortable clothes, give up the veil (which in the wind could really bother you) and think about your clothes even in the configuration without shoes – you might want to take them off, from a certain moment of the day onwards, unless you don't want to wear them from the start.
Communicate effectively to your guests that the ceremony and/or reception will be held directly on the beach: even recommending a dress code, in such cases, is not seen as an imposition, but it is a way to avoid embarrassing situations for you and your guests. Can you imagine if someone showed up at your beach wedding in a tuxedo suit?

Dancing during a Wdding on the Beach

Comfortable white clothes, often abandoned open shoes.

A tip that is not really part of this section, but still relates to your appearance, is to avoid both being too tanned and having the typical tan lines, especially for the brides.
In the first case, the tan will stand out much more on the light clothes that you will probably wear and, especially if you normally have a fair complexion, it will have a strange effect on you to see yourself so tanned in the photographs.
In the second case, however, the tan lines could ruin the effect of the neckline of the dress you dreamed of so much and discovering it at the last moment could turn out to be a bad surprise.

Food and drink

For a wedding by the sea there is certainly no lack of themed food and drinks: a fish-based menu is ideal (unless you are vegetarian), in general focus on fresh dishes, finger food, tapas, dairy products rather than a real dinner that, with the heat, would weigh down the evening and your guests.
Make sure that there are always fresh drinks of all kinds at hand: water, soda, beers, iced tea, better if accessible in DIY mode, directly from containers full of ice (and the container could also be a boat!) and the beer from a tap to be served directly. Obviously, if you want a more refined atmosphere, you can instead opt for the classic service from the staff in charge.
For the evening I am sure you will not forget a cocktail corner, but also remember those who do not hold much alcohol and prefer non-alcoholic cocktails: a wide choice of this type of drink will certainly be appreciated!

Beach Wedding: table setting
Table setting wedding by the sea

Two different table settings, very special and unconventional, designed by La Sposa degli Alberi.


If you expect guests to arrive earlier than sunset, make sure there are ample shaded spaces where they can shelter from the direct sun: they will be eternally grateful, especially if they will also find some fresh drinks.

You might also consider letting them find, sometime in the day, a sort of themed pitstop corner where they can take flip-flops: you will be able to convince even the most serious to let loose and finally take off his shoes to enjoy all the comforts of a reception on the beach! Flip-flops could be customized to leave them with a memory of your wedding.
If, on the other hand, you foresee that the evening could be refreshing, another idea could be to hand out some blankets: your chilly friends will appreciate it!

The lighting

Beaches, even if they are part of venues, are hardly illuminated. Depending on what you plan for the evening, you may need to contact a light designer well in advance to design the right lighting for your needs. In this case, I recommend avoiding do-it-yourself, unless you have experienced acquaintances in the field: the atmosphere you want to have depending on the situation is the result of many variables (quality of light, type, quantity and distance of light sources), moreover the anchoring of the wires and the lights is a delicate operation and there is no room for mistakes. A professional in the field will certainly be able to guide you to the right solution for you.

Beach wedding: evening celebrations
Beach wedding: relaxation

Good lighting, not at all intrusive, and relaxation on the beach.

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