The Reality of Beach Weddings

Ahhhhh beach weddings. People dream of their picturesque ceremony with the waves in the background, the dunes, maybe there are dolphins prancing, seagulls swooping, the air smells sweet and salty, and everything is PERFECT! You are surrounded by friends and family, the sky is a beautiful pastel blue, a gentle breeze…. In your head it looks sorta like this.

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Or maybe in your perfect wedding scenario in your head, it’s JUST you and your fiance… a private and intimate celebration uniting you in matrimony. Waves crash as the sun is setting and the sky turns to beautiful shades of orange and pink. Maybe it looks something like this?

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I know rain is good luck on a wedding day… sometimes it JUST works out so we miss most of the rain, but reap all the benefits! OOOOOOHHHH!!!!!

Is THIS is what you’re envisioning?! Magical and whimsical and absolutely stunning!



As a busy Daytona Beach wedding photographer,  I truly HAVE seen it all. Elopement beach weddings, HUGE beach weddings, sunny beach weddings, rainy beach weddings, rainbow beach weddings, NAKED beach weddings (yep… but that’s a blog post for another day! 🙂 ) And there are a few things I think y’all need to know before moving forward!! PLEASE don’t hate the messenger!


Yes folks, you heard that right. Your beach wedding WILL have sand. Think about what that means. You will have to walk through it. If you are envisioning beautiful stilettos for your big day,  you may want to rethink your beach wedding plan. If you have family that is not very mobile, sand can make things difficult. In Daytona there IS a beach mobility company that specializes in beach wheelchairs, Beach Mobility Rentals. This is their info:

If you are not a very beachy person and are planning your dream beach wedding from afar, let me put this in perspective for you. Sand can be hot. Sand gets in wedding gowns, in shoes, in eyes, and in hair. If you don’t want to get sandy, there are other options!!! (To be discussed shortly)


This goes hand in hand with sand. (lol I’m a poet!) I always recommend EXTRA EXTRA hair spray!!!! Up do is a MUST if you have fine hair. Short hair has a tendency to blow around.  Are you dreaming of that picture where you are gazing lovingly into your partner’s eyes while they say their vows? Now picture the veil blowing around,  the paper the vows are written on blowing away, and the big DOUBLE WHAMMY!!! Wind blows the SAND around!! I’m not saying it’s impossible to have a dream beach wedding because of wind. BUT, you do need to prepare accordingly! NO aisle runners!!!!!!!!! This is a huge pet peeve of mine… you want to bring a large fabric roll to the beach and lay it in the sand, and then try and make it down the aisle without tripping? Just don’t! Don’t do it!!!  Also, if you DO have a veil for a beach wedding, make sure it is a longer, weighted veil. Short, light veils BLOW AROUND! DSC_1762DSC_1673

  • IT COULD BE A MILLION DEGREES!!! (Or there could be a hurricane)

Don’t wanna burst anyone’s bubble here… but this is FLORIDA!!!! From… let’s say March through… DECEMBER, it could very well be in the 80s or even 90s on your big day.  Try and picture it! The guys in dark suits… you’re in a multi layered gown. You’re wearing makeup, which is running down your face. Your guests are dying. (But you provided fans so that’ll help?? Maybe?) The truth of the matter is, it can be uncomfortable. Not everyone is as lucky as these guys to have an ice cream truck show up next to your ceremony!!!


Aren’t they adorable????!!!

Take a look at this awesome pic of the groomsmen having a BLAST! So much fun, RIGHT???!!!


Looks pretty good, right? Nice composition, nice timing, proper exposure. Well… if we’re being honest here, I didn’t take it. The wedding officiant did. Why? Because I was in the sand with my head between my knees being VIOLENTLY ill and just happened to be able to pass the camera off before I went down. (Hey, the show must go on, right???!) Heat exhaustion is a VERY real possibility! Albeit, a worst case scenario. But the best case scenario is you’re SWEATING! If you’re a person that doesn’t like the heat, or the humidity, or sweating, you may want to consider a nice air conditioned beachside hotel as a nice compromise!  SHOUT OUT to Jillian Shaw with A Lovely Engagement for your amazing photography skills in a dire emergency! 🙂

The other extreme is also a possibility. Drizzle? Ok, maybe we can push through. But torrential downpours? HURRICANES? If you choose to move forward with your beach wedding, PLEASE have a plan B all ready to go. And prepare yourself mentally as well that it is a very real possibility!


I hate to break it to you, but Daytona can be FULL of tourists! Most people don’t care WHAT you are doing on the beach, sunbathing, building a sand castle, OR getting married…. they just MAY not mind their own business. And since it’s a public beach, they legally do not have to.  You may just be the center of attention to everyone vacationing on our world’s most famous beach! Sorta like this:


For the record, I do not hate beach weddings. YES, they’re very not good for the cameras. YES, we die out there wearing all black. YES I do try and photoshop out gawking randos in the background. But they can be beautiful if everyone going into it is as prepared as they can possibly be! Look, here I am with a BIG HUGE SMILE at a beach wedding! Totally NOT miserable!


If you are ok with all of this, and still want to have a beach wedding, then rock on with your bad self! These are my recommendations to make it go as amazingly as possible!:

  • Get your hair professionally done in an up do, or at least lacquer yourself with hairspay.
  • Lose the veil, and RUN AWAY from the aisle runner. You can use sheppherds hooks, seashells, etc etc.
  • Don’t make your guys wear black tuxedos!!!
  • Choose your gown and shoes appropriately. More casual and lighter weight white sun dresses are great, and sandals or those pretty foot chains are so elegant!
  • Make SURE your planner handles the permits! YES you need permits!
  • Keep in mind a lot of companies charge extra to set up chairs/arches/etc on the beach, depending on the beach access.
  • There could be cars, people, lifeguard towers, wind surfers (yes that happened) or who knows what in the background!
  • PREPARE yourself for the fact that it could rain. Find a plan B that you would be happy with if you need to!
  • Bring a bucket with bottled water and some fans for your guests.
  • Hire a beach mobility company for any guests that may have trouble walking on the sand.
  • Avoid ANYTHING other than close to sunset in any months that may be hot. (basically all of them) And just avoid July and August regardless.
  • And last but not least, consider an alternative. There are a number of hotels that have patios and gazebos that overlook the beach, but don’t necessarily have you ON the beach. Just food for thought!


Thanks for reading everyone!!! (I know y’all are still wondering about naked beach wedding! lol sorry, that’s for another time!)

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