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Article - Preparing for a Beach Wedding

written by author, Jane Graves, CWC, Premiere Weddings

With so many beautiful waterfronts, it is no wonder that brides from all over the country want a San Diego beach wedding. And there are so many choices. There is the grand Pacific Ocean, the Bay and the Harbor, all with incredible views for that unique backdrop for your beach wedding. However, there are a lot of things to consider besides the beautiful waterfront. The first is if a permit is required.

Check with your city/county parks and recreation department. Costs are minimal, but with the permit you will have legal rights to be on the site for your beach wedding and won't be asked to leave if the Port police happen by.

The permit also allows you to ask anyone else on the site to leave if they don't have a permit. Permits are usually extended for the entire day and only one permit per site.

How do you prepare for this unique setting? If it is a public beach remember there will probably be sunbathers, happy screaming children with their sand pails, or even metal detector addicts that have the right to share the beach with you. Even if the photographer can eliminate a lot from the digital photos, there may be items they cannot. At a public beach, you are not allowed to force people away from your site and don't count on everyone being courteous. They will probably tell you they have a right to be there too; walk behind the altar area, and possibly come close enough to be your uninvited guest.

If you are compelled to have a beach wedding in spite of the public site, other things to consider are also the logistics for all the equipment you will need. Whether an arch or not, you still have chairs to place and of course take down. This is probably the biggest challenge. You definitely don't want to do it yourself even though you might think you can handle the aerobic workout. (And how many can you carry at one time?) While the ceremony itself will be only about 20 minutes, remember that your guests will be ready to be seated about 20 minutes prior in order to get the best seat, and they will not want to stand around in the sand for nearly an hour. In other words, chairs are a necessity. Part of your equipment may include a table for Unity Sand or wine, an arch to establish an altar, and possibly some umbrellas out of consideration for your guests from the hot sun. Your local party rental store is the place that will be able to handle all of these needs. They will charge additional fees for the delivery, set up and pick up, but it will be worth it. Plus, your florist may charge additional delivery/set fees for her services also.

Along with that you should consider how your elderly guests will manage to make it through the sand to their seats. Are they able withstand the heat from the reflecting sun on the sand? What about your female guests with high heel shoes? One of our weddings at the famous Hotel Del Coronado had a 2 year old ring bearer. He made it to the sand in his little his patent leather tuxedo shoes and went directly to the first place he could to sit and attempt to take them off because he couldn't manage to walk in the deep sand with them. I have to admit, it stole the show and made a great photographer's moment to have the Wedding Coordinator help him get barefoot so he could complete his walk down the aisle.

Another thing to consider is wind and sun. The three hours and $125.00 you spent with the hair and make up artist hopefully will not be ruined before the reception. Hopefully your make up artist is waiting near by for a fresh touch of powder and can sponge off any lines from squinting around your eyes before your Grand Entrance at the Reception.

Consider the time of year and day also. If you select a setting near the ocean, you may have to bear with drizzly marine layer in the morning…your photographer will be thrilled for those perfectly filtered shots but could pass on the moisture.

Are you counting on a Sunset moment to say I Do? While this may be ideal, actual sunset is momentary and anything can interfere with it. don't set yourself up for disappointment and hope for actual sunset. You may be disappointed that Mother Nature isn't cooperating, or any other small detail that may affect that certain moment.

All in all, if your dream wedding means a beach setting, take the challenge head on, be well prepared and go for it. Remember, it is your wedding…not the one other people think you should have. Then find a competent professional wedding coordinator that will handle all the hassles, so you can relax and just enjoy your day!


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