Saying 'I do' by the water is a popular choice for couples, but the sun and sand can create some unique challenges
Beach weddings are an increasingly popular choice. Not only do they make for an unforgettable experience for both the couple and their guests, they can often be more affordable to stage than a traditional wedding.
An oceanside setting also provides a stunning backdrop — no extra decorations needed! — and creates incredible photos. And the best part? The newlyweds can say 'I do' on the sand and jump straight into their honeymoon.
However, to make sure everyone has a comfortable experience, it's important to consider the elements, according to wedding planner Emily Coyne, founder of Emily Coyne Events. She has executed many beach weddings for her clients in such scenic locations as Los Cabos and Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
When you stage your nuptials on the beach, you'll be contending with the sun, sand, wind, insects and whatever else Mother Nature throws your way. But with some careful planning, Coyne tells PEOPLE, you can smooth over any ripples.
Here, she shares her expert tips for pulling off the perfect beach wedding.
Offer a Place to Stow Shoes
While guests will certainly enjoy the stunning views of a beach ceremony, they may be less than thrilled to spend the day in sand-filled shoes. Coyne has the perfect solution for the problem. "We recommend creating a shoe valet experience for your guests so they can safely and cleanly store their footwear prior to stepping on the beach," she says.
Options range from simple shelving to cloth shoe bags labeled for each guest. You can also supply flip-flops, ballet slippers or other beach-friendly footwear for people to slip into rather than go barefoot on the beach.
"Also, make sure to provide some wet roll towels for afterwards," Coyne advises. "People are going to want to clean the sand off of their feet before they put their other shoes back on."
Set Up a Hat Bar
"Your guests will love the festive touch and benefit from some extra sun protection," Coyne notes.
Depending on your budget, she says this can range from inexpensive hats ordered in bulk from Amazon to personalized styles. "You could even have a custom hot brander onsite if you want them to be truly elevated," she adds. "It’s something you can take low-end or high-end but still make it really fun."
Manage the Heat
Depending on the time of day or season, beach weddings can get hot with the sun beating down. Coyne says it's essential to be mindful of your guests' comfort. "Think tray passed mister bottles, parasols to shield the sun, hand fans at each chair, mini ice packs, cool welcome beverages, or chilled rolled towels," she suggests.
She also recommends timing the wedding for a point in the day when the sun won't be as fierce. "Determine where the sun will be at ceremony time and plan around it," she says.
Timing the sun just right can also create a magical wedding-day ambience. "There is nothing like a perfect sunlight glow or golden-hour glow, as we like to call it," Coyne notes.
Prepare for All the Elements
The sun isn't the only factor when hosting a beach wedding. It's also important to consider tide times, wind and the potential for rain. "Be sure to research wind conditions and plan decor accordingly. It’s also important to be aware of the high and low tide times to ensure the water levels are in check," Coyne explains.
Wind can also affect guests' ability to hear the ceremony, so Coyne recommends using amplification — either a hand-held mic or a mic on a stand.
Overall, she advises couples to seek out guidance and information from a local travel company, planner or resort venue before making any hard-and-fast plans for their event.
Make Sure to Have a Backup Plan
"Weather is unpredictable, so you need to have a plan B," Coyne says. If rain is in the forecast, for instance, could the ceremony be moved indoors or delayed slightly until the weather passes?
"Most venues know that rain can happen on a whim, so you’re going to get some guidance for them as well," she adds.
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Read the original article on People.