According to Australian law, there is just one catch you need to follow. You’ll first need to supply an authorised civil celebrant that’s allowed to perform your ceremony outside of the church or synagogue.
But it’s more than just that, you need to know that anything outside (at the beach – ugh all that sand), presents a whole new can of worms.
That’s why you need to know what it’s going to be like to set up that dream wedding here along Australia’s coastline.
When it comes to planning a beach wedding there are key things that are needed. A celebrant, the couple and witnesses are all it takes to say I do. Most like to plan a big wedding while others like to keep it sweet and simple. Whatever you choose to make your day special make it your unique day.
No matter where you decide to take the big plunge, take the time to find the perfect spot. Perhaps that favourite surf spot, or from that unforgettable weekend at Palm Cove in Queensland.
You’ll no doubt want to have your friends and best mates attending, with a reception, food and drink, and obviously live music to boot.
All of these considerations need to be arranged – for that big day nonetheless. Here’s how you can put it all together to make it go a lot easier. These helpful tips might end up saving you time, money, and avoid headaches later.
20 Tips To Planning A Wedding On The Beach
It can sometimes be confusing when planning a wedding on the beach as to everything that will be needed to make things run smoothly on the day. We have created a checklist for you on the types of things that can be overlooked.
1. Pick A Date
Picking is usually a number one thing to do after getting engaged as many around you will be asking when the wedding is. This is usually because people like to plan it into their calendars and block out that time to join in your special event.
When picking a date it’s important to keep in mind the season in which you’re having the wedding, pick a date in the year that would be best for a beach wedding (usually Spring and Summer are best). This is due to the weather during that time of year.
Most places around the world have a rainy season and let’s face it rain and the beach are just not a good mix.
2. Pick Your Perfect Location
Location Location Location! this could not be any truer when it comes to picking the perfect beach for your wedding. Usually, people want to avoid crowded beaches so that they don’t have to deal with the many onlookers that may frequent that beach.
Of course, this isn’t going to mean that you are going to find a completely secluded beach unless you are on a private island somewhere.
Another thing when picking the perfect beach is the condition of the beach, yes that’s right the condition, is it known to be filled with garbage that washes up or is left by patrons of the beach, is it frequently checked by the local council. You may even be looking for a beach that doesn’t have very many shells, coral, or rock fragments that could be unpleasant if you’re planning to go barefoot.
It all depends on what you have pictured as your perfect beach and to make sure you book it quickly with the council which gets us on to our next tip.
3. Check With The Council
Yes, that’s right you can’t just have a beach wedding on just any beach without checking with the council first to see if that particular beach has any permit requirements. For all you know you could show up at the beach and there’s another wedding or event going on!
That’s why it’s important to register for your permit and to check with the council that no other events are scheduled for that day or time block. Usually, the fees are very low for renting the area for the day as well as any surrounding parks. They run roughly around $35 and up for a 4-6 hour block time period.
The council also help you by making sure the area has been cleaned beforehand and if need be a cleaning service once you’ve left, but keep in mind this does generally include an extra fee.
4. Bugs And Other Pests That Inhabit The Beach
That’s right the beach is home to many other unwarranted guests like mossies, flies, sandflies and everyone’s favourite the seagull. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about them but there are some handy tips that we can give you to ward them off and keep them at bay.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about sandflies except removing any seaweed from the area as that’s where they usually tend to make their home and feeding grounds. You also are not able to spread any chemicals or natural oil sprays of the like as they interrupt the natural habitat of the area and other species living there.
For seagulls, flies and mossies this is an easy remedy and also decorative as well! invest in using tiki torches to encompass the area(make a barrier) and use flags or flowing fabric. Surprisingly this helps to ward them off like a scarecrow to crows.
5. Have A Back Up Plan
Can not express this point enough, it is absolutely beneficial that you have a backup plan or venue as Australian weather is unpredictable on its best of days. One minute it could be the brightest of days and the next it’s pouring rain. Never underestimate a grey cloud in the skies.
Another thing to keep in mind is the wind, there is no worse thing than having sand blowing in all directions and ruining a perfectly good day.
6. Have A Just In Case Team
Allocate at least 3 people that you can rely on for any emergencies that may occur before, during, or after the wedding. This is a team that in case something happens, something is forgotten can run and get that needed item and relieve your stress. They can also be the team that if you don’t have a wedding coordinator takes care of all the set-up and takedown of decorations.
This is crucial to have and at the end of the day, you will be relaxed knowing someone has it all taken care of and you can truly enjoy all of the events of your wedding.
7. Hire A Wedding Coordinator
Now, if you choose to opt out of the tip previously mentioned, that’s ok too, but you may find that a wedding coordinator would have a similar team.
What’s the importance of a wedding coordinator? Well, you will find that all the tips that we mention today will actually take care of it all, they keep a journal and a list and strive to make your day the absolute best it can be and your worries can be put aside. After all that is their job, and the exact reason you’ve hired them.
When picking a wedding coordinator there are some things to keep in mind when choosing one. Reviews from other customers, videos and photos from previous events they’ve planned, how much do they charge for their fees, do they have all-inclusive packages. Most importantly the relationship between the coordinator and the couple.
8. Find A Caterer
Taste, Taste, Taste! This is usually one of the most looked forward to things in planning a wedding, is the tasting dishes for what will be served at your wedding. So shop around and have fun with it, try many places don’t just settle on the first one. It can become a bit like a bidding war when it comes to choosing a caterer, each one striving to get a contract for your big day.
Make it personal, make sure the food you are choosing suits you and your partner’s style and represents who you are as a couple. Whether you are going buffet style, 3-course meal, on the ritz, or grazing platters. Make it about the two of you.
It is good to keep in mind though your guest’s dietary needs and have them expressed to your caterer so that they can accommodate them as well.
9. Do A Final Head Count
This is so important to have the final number of people attending your wedding, not only for budgeting purposes but for your seating, favours, and your caterer.
Having the right amount of seating makes sure that nobody on the beach is left standing except for you and your betrothed and your wedding party. It’s unpleasant to have guests standing as it takes away from the focus as you as the couple.
10. Find A Florist
Unless you are not a flower person or want to have a flower free wedding which is perfectly fine, it is best to shop for a florist ahead of time as many places book out quickly and only open their calenders 3-6 months at a time.
If you’re unsure as to what type of flowers you want don’t worry your florist should be well experienced to help you with your vision, if they are not it’s probably not best to go with that florist so shop around.
If you have an idea or want to get inspiration, the best way is to check social media sites, Google or Pinterest for ideas. Make it yours, match your flowers to your season, or just keep it simple. A bouquet of babies breath or native flowers can go a long way.
11. Set A Budget
So you are engaged, you have a date in mind and a rough idea as to where you want to have the wedding, whether you want it to be intimate or a bunch of people. Then there’s the budget for the wedding, who’s funding it, parents, relatives, friends, or yourselves?
Before any places can start to be reserved or any planning for that matter can start you need to have a set budget. Stick to this budget and keep on track, as every little expense can quickly build up to be a huge expense, sit down with your partner and whoever may be funding the wedding to go over a budget plan and how much is going to be allocated to each area.
Buy a wedding planning book to keep track of expenses, receipts, and anybody you have hired for the day, it’s even a way to keep track of the vision you have set in mind.
12. Get A Proper DJ For Your Wedding Music
The modern wedding is bringing back the sights and sound of the live band. Lucky for you there is no shortage of live bands to hire around town.
Most of these bands are willing to play at your wedding if they get the same terms they’re offered in the clubs and pubs.
This usually includes food and drink, a set price for how long they need to perform, and usually bar drinks too.
As long as you deliver what they need to perform (such as a stage riser, show lights, electricity), you’re good to go. If you’re already friends with a band, it makes perfect sense to ask them to play at your wedding.
For those who want some variety or even Top 40 music, you should ask a proper DJ to supply music that can suit everyone who attends.
13. Hire Portable Flooring And Shelter
If you are having your wedding event at the beach, your wedding and reception will need some steady ground. Especially if you would like to include some kind of music entertainment and also dancing space.
Depending on the tent or canopy that you decide to rent, if they don’t offer flooring for beaches, you’re not out of luck just yet.
When it comes to flooring, one such source rents out its affordable flooring to cover sand or beachside terrain. This great company: Proflooring offers module sized event flooring that is specially designed for dancing too.
Their modular design snaps into place easily and fast and a tent or canopy is placed on top of that floor. Just make sure that any sandy surface is nice and level, so there are no uneven bumps everywhere.
You can even use a standard push broom to smooth out big patches of sand before laying down new floor tiles.
Add the needed stakes to stabilise the canopy or tent in the sand so it won’t blow over if there’s any wind. To estimate how big of a tent you need to rent, you’ll need to know how many guests are attending first.
The tent rental company can determine what size is best for your needs and make suggestions after that.
14. Hire Decorators
If you have not allocated a team within your wedding group or you are not planning on setting up the decorations yourself, hire a decorating company. They can help keep costs down as they will already have a surplus of the items you might want to incorporate into your wedding, rather than you needing to go out and buying the supplies.
Another reason this could be important is what will you do with all the decorations after your wedding? It can be such a fuss trying to resell the items, making it important to just hire someone instead. They will usually set up several small displays for you to look at and to choose from.
15. Don’t Forget The Wedding Cake
Now the biggest question boils down to the cake you decide to order. The local cake shops around town should have one that’s good at making wedding cakes.
Be sure to let them know how many people will be at your wedding, so you can get an idea of what they’ll charge. They can even give you an idea of how big it needs to be determined by the number of guests who attend.
Try to stick to a solid theme for your wedding from the beginning to the end, This should reflect how your wedding cake will play into that theme too.
If you want the big fancy cake, it could stand out looking out-of-place and not match with the rest of the dressings.
Then again, ask your cake designer to make the cake based on your theme. They can show your ideas and perhaps even draw pictures of how it would finally look.
16. Special Features
No, we don’t mean the latest movie that has come out. We mean features that are special to you both as a couple or important to the family that you want to incorporate into the wedding. These are very important things to discuss with your wedding coordinator, your caterer, your baker, your decorator, basically everyone not on the guest list. That way it still comes as a surprise to everyone attending.
Keeping it personal and sentimental is usually what makes your wedding that much more special and something for you to cherish and remember for the rest of your lives. It can also be traditional to pass on to generations to come.
17. Hire A Shuttle Service For Transportation
Getting everyone to the wedding is obviously important. You can easily reserve transport vans that are offered by many car service companies to act as shuttle services.
This is especially helpful if relatives are staying at the local hotel near your beachside wedding.
Expect that weddings here in Oz aren’t with a fair share of alcohol, so be sure that friends get home with a designated driver.
Guests are another story since they might be staying at a nearby hotel.
You might offer them a free shuttle service back to their room so they don’t need to drive.
Many weddings parties even set up a special guest hotel room, just in case your mate is too tipsy to get home. Remember that you are somewhat responsible for their safety since they were also a guest at your wedding.
18. Pick A Celebrant
Yes last but not least, you cant have a wedding without a celebrant or someone with the legalities to legalise your wedding. Otherwise, you might as well call it a fancy gathering. But how do you pick the right celebrant?
Well, that’s very simple, call the different ones located in your area or the area you are planning on getting married in and have a meeting with them to discuss your wedding plans and what you would like incorporated into your vows.
In fact even have a sit-down meal with them to go over everything to see how well you feel comfortable with them, as the more personal it is the better.
You will find some celebrants like to throw in a joke or two during the ceremony, or a short commentary on how they know you, but if that’s not your style and you just want a cut and dry ceremony and to the point, then that’s ok too.
19. Hire A Photographer
Now your wedding is planned to a T and picture-perfect, but who is going to capture those memories?
Hire a photographer to catch every glimpse of your wedding from the preparations, to getting ready, for your first dance, and the goodbyes at the end of the day or night. Even catch photos of your guests having a good time that you can look back on and relive the day again when looking in your wedding photo album.
Many photographers offer great packages to capture the day, but as always shop around, even have your engagement photos done with them to give you a good idea as to how it will be on your wedding day. Are they engaging or standoffish? It’s important to build a relationship with your photographer.
20. Keep Your Guests Well Hydrated
That’s right! Hire a bartender, no easy way around it and a good way to keep guests hydrated and happy. Most people will choose to either put a tab with a bartender and after that, it’s up to guests to pay for drinks, or you can choose to go with an open bar.
Meaning you cover the cost of all drinks served at the end of the night, another alternate option is not tab and guests are responsible for paying for all of their own drinks.
Before you choose to hire a bartender and serve alcoholic drinks it is best to check with the council as to whether this is allowed, most beaches do not allow any alcohol on the beach, but you can serve them at a nearby park or green area in some cases.
This is due to the glass that could become shattered and or drowning risks for intoxicated guests.
Whatever you choose for your day make sure it’s about you and your spouse, as at the end of the day that who you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with and the day should be all about the two of you.
Food Catering For A Wedding On The Beach
First, put together a list of your favourite foods and ask around who is a good caterer. Even ask friends and neighbours who they know, and the results can help you save some money.
Finding your caterer won’t be so hard, here in Oz, but make double sure you have a second (or third) backup caterer just in case.
When you plan a wedding at the beach, there are all sorts of themes you can put together that you and your guest will remember forever.
Since it’s your wedding, your food should really reflect your personal tastes. It should be fun and friendly.
Instead of going the traditional route, how about mixing in the classic beach party BBQ that helps bring out your personal style.
Not to say that you should include some of the classic wedding dishes that will please Mum and Dad.
Let your caterer know how much you want to spend, and leave the rest to them to find the local flavours that can be purchased even with modest budgets.
If you decide to go fancy, the higher the cost may end up being. Especially if you want to have a menu that includes seafood like lobster and steak.
Give your caterer plenty of time to set up their tables and make sure a dining tent is already set up for them. Flies and other pests can ruin you and your guest’s eating experience.
Buy Local Grown Flowers For Your Wedding From A Florist
Be sure to take into consideration, the possible weather conditions at the time of your wedding. You don’t want to plan it during the monsoon season if you live up North.
On those especially hot days, make sure they’ve got air-conditioned transport vans to make sure your flowers stay cool until they are ready to be displayed.
As you know, Australia has quite a variety of beautiful flowers and plants. Talk with your local florist about the varieties that are in full bloom at the time of your wedding day. They might be perfect for your beach wedding setting.
If you want fancier flowers, those costs can be higher of course. Just remember that your florist probably knows a few good flower suppliers who can always get you a good deal, in the end, You’ll certainly save in that respect as well.
Though if you go with locally grown flowers, those might be better suited for drier climates. Perhaps you should even search the local seasides for items such as seashells, rocks and other scenery that can be built around your wedding stage.
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