If you're lucky enough to be getting married at the beach, you probably already know that your wedding photos are going to be incredible.
There are a few extra things you can do to ensure that your photos capture everything special about your day. The gorgeous blue-green backdrop of the ocean is a beautiful choice for your special day, and it's also a lot of fun to plan!
There are some things you need to think about that you might not have considered for your wedding. Here are my 5 tips as an experienced Cairns Wedding Photographer.
1. The ocean is the most beautiful backdrop possible.
The ocean is the most beautiful backdrop possible, keep all your other décor rather simple. You don’t want a bunch of bright colors and patterns competing with the view. Stick to one or two colors, plus white and cream, and you’ll be golden.
We love sun-bleached wood tables paired with simple white chairs for an outdoor reception. Keep tablecloths to a minimum, use a small greenery runner down the centre of the table instead of large arrangements of flowers, and accent with candles instead of flowers in vases.
In terms of the overall design, we recommend keeping it simple! If you’re having an outdoor ceremony on the beach, chose a few flowing fabrics that work well with the wind (think tulle) to create a modest altar space. Use lanterns or paper globes hung from shepherd hooks to guide guests to their seats once the sun goes down.
This will let your guests enjoy the view without being overwhelmed by too many details, and will allow you to create a cohesive look that still feels light and airy.
2. Pick the best time of day for your wedding location.
To get the most dramatic light at the beach, pick a time of day when the sun will be low in the sky. This is usually in the morning or later in the afternoon. If you’re having a morning wedding, this means you’ll have to start your day super early, like really really early, more like in the middle of the night. Be sure to let your guests know that in their invitations so they can plan accordingly! But really in Cairns, Port Douglas the ideal time for a Beach ceremony will be around 3:30 - 4 pm.
If you're having an early afternoon wedding and want to keep your ceremony on the beach, keep in mind that you'll need to find a space that's shaded or set up some type of cover for guests who will be sitting down (and sweating if it's hot out!). As our weather in the tropics can get really hot!
3. Plan for the weather and think about the tides.
As with any wedding, it’s important to have an alternate plan in case of bad weather. But for beach weddings, in particular, you should consider having a backup location that's both indoors and outdoors. That way, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate but your guests are reluctant to change out of their sandals and swimsuits, you can still salvage the vibe of your day by simply moving the ceremony or reception inside.
Tides are another thing to keep in mind when planning a beach wedding. Make sure you know what time high and low tides will be on the day your nuptials take place so that you can adjust accordingly, for example, if you want to get married at sunset while barefoot in the sand but high tide is late afternoon, then a rocky shoreline may not be appropriate for your ceremony.
Pro Tip: Think about the wind! If your ceremony will be on the beach, make sure your celebrant has plenty of experience officiating in windy conditions to guarantee that they know how to position you in such a way that your veil and hair won’t be blowing in your face every single time your wedding photographer will take a picture! And make sure they will provide you with a sound system and a microphone otherwise your guests won't hear a thing.
4. Practise walking on sand and wear comfortable shoes or none at all!
Walking in sand is tricky, even if you’re not wearing a wedding dress. Practise prior to your wedding day so that you don’t end up falling over in front of everyone.
If you are planning on kicking off your heels post-ceremony then have a pair of beach-friendly shoes available for after-the-ceremony photos. We recommend shoes that are comfortable and easy to walk in, there is nothing worse than having blisters during photographs or on your honeymoon!
Pro Tip: Think about the guests too, no one wants sand everywhere! Make sure you have chairs provided for guests and seating at cocktail hour that are not going to get filled with sand. If there are not any available at your venue, rent some from a party rental company, this will also help tie together all your décor as well as provide comfort for guests who might be uncomfortable standing on the sand for long periods of time.
5. Get a permit if it’s council ground.
Get a permit if it’s council ground. If you did your research and decided on having your wedding ceremony at the beach, then do a quick follow-up call with the council to make sure you won’t need any permits.
The price of your permit will depend on how many people you’re expecting and for how long. In most cases, it can be as little as $100-$150.
The processing time can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, so allow yourself enough time to get this sorted out before the big day comes!
A beach wedding doesn’t have to be a spur-of-the-moment idea, in fact, the best thing you can do is to be prepared and get professional help if you are looking to create a beautiful beach wedding.
A wedding planner will be able to assist you with things like booking council ground and getting permits as well as suggesting ways to make your day extra special.
They will also advise on things that could go wrong and help you figure out what can be done to avoid those issues.