Picture this: a cloudless azure sky arches overhead to meet an emerald ocean and waves gently wash onto a sweep of white sand. You and your partner stand framed, perhaps by an arbour, or perhaps simply by the ocean, a backdrop already provided by nature. Your favourite song drifts on the breeze. You’re about to be married!
It’s an idyllic setting for the start of your married life. There are however, a few things you may wish to consider to ensure your marriage ceremony goes as smoothly as possible.
Celebrant: Rebecca Wright
Do your research
If you’ve ever been to the beach on a hot summer’s day, you know how punishing the sand can be. Neither you nor your guests want to be hot-footing it from one point to another on your special day, and you don’t want to be sweltering through your ceremony either.
So, do your research, find out the average temperatures and plan accordingly. In summer, have your ceremony either at the beginning or end of the day when the breeze is gentle and when temperatures are cooler. And, it’s also worth finding out about tides.
Be precise about the location
Beaches can be big places. For instance, Bondi Beach is 1 kilometre long, Woonona-Bellambi Beach is 2 kilometres long, and Seven Mile Beach at Gerroa is actually 7.8 miles or 12.5 kilometres in length, so make sure you give your guests and wedding vendors a precise location. It also pays to think about accessibility for some of your less active guests; perhaps the beach parkland overlooking your favourite beach is a good option? That way, all the special people in your lives can be present for the ceremony, and you can still have your own private photo shoot on the beach afterwards.
What to wear
Beach weddings are synonymous with simplicity and romance and are typically relaxed by nature. Opt for beautifully manicured bare feet (yes, pants-wearing partners as well) and put a lot of thought into the style of your dress, the style of your hair and the length of your veil. Google ‘windy wedding photos’ and you’ll see why!
Consider the lighting
Speak to any photographer and they will tell you that lighting is as important as setting. They describe the hour or so before sunset as the ‘golden hour’; the sun is low in the sky, so the natural light is softer and has a lower colour temperature which results in more flattering, warmer-toned, romantic images.
The sharp shadows that typify midday fade and we all look a whole lot better. However, if you do decide on a midday beach ceremony you may wish to consider providing cooling and shade for your guests such as umbrellas, fans and a water station. Also, make sure you have a nearby shady spot in mind for photographs afterwards.
‘Although most councils require a booking fee, this does not entitle you to exclusive use of the hired space. If you don’t want bikini clad, budgie-smuggler-wearing beach-goers photo-bombing your wedding pics. Again, consider the time of year and the time of day for your nuptials especially if you are after a more private setting.
Make sure your celebrant has a quality PA system. This should include a cordless microphone for the two of you, as without one, it will more than likely be difficult for your guests to hear the proceedings over the sounds of the wind and the waves.
Plan B is a must!
After all your planning and careful consideration of the pros and cons of your beach ceremony, the weather on the day may mean resorting to your Plan B. Make sure you’re content with it. And remember this: if, at the end of the day you’re married to the person you love, then your day was a total success!
Location: Hyams Beach, Jervis Bay NSW