When I share with new friends and co-workers that my wedding was on the beach and I explain why I chose that venue, they are often very surprised at how affordable it was. I would say that choosing to have my wedding on the beach was one of the best decisions we made about our wedding, which was almost 5 years ago (already?)
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love all kinds of different wedding venues, (variety is the spice of life after all!) but if I had to do it all over again with a very small budget, the beach would definitely be my number one choice. Here’s why.
1. Cost of a permit= $150 -$250
Depending on the beach you choose, it is often a very inexpensive permit. Just remember that it must be a public beach and not private. Private beaches often come with more difficulty to book and often expensive full wedding packages including gazebos, food, reception areas, etc. The absolute cheapest opportunity is a public beach which is a blank canvas; just the sand and the ocean are included.
However, with a public beach, you may want to consider that buying a permit to hold a wedding (or large event, usually over 50 people) does not mean that you will get the beach to yourself. You will have to have a few people “hold” the spot that you were planning on using early in the day so that others don’t put their beach chairs and umbrellas where you were planning on walking down the aisle. This is the only way to reserve it. Also, you will likely have strangers looking at your wedding from a little ways down the beach, because people are still allowed to use any of the beach legally. The good news is that people are typically very respectful and keep their distance, but they will likely watch every second and clap when appropriate. And the way I see it, what’s wrong with having strangers be happy for you? You probably won’t even notice if you’re staring into your love’s eyes as you say “I do.”
Also, don’t forget that if you are tight on money, you can choose to host the reception on the beach as well as the ceremony. The permit will allow you to use two different large sections of the beach, as long as you stake both of them out hours before. The venue cost that many couples spend on both a ceremony location and a reception location can be avoided and simply rolled into one really low amount in this case.
We decided to place the chairs and tables near a picnic structure and serve our food on the picnic tables, but there are a lot of different ways you can set it up, including more expensive yet beautiful white tents with lights hanging from the ceiling, if you wish.
Source: Elegant Wedding Invites
2. 5 star view for the price of 1 star
This one is pretty obvious, but I can’t make a list of the benefits of a beach wedding without pointing out the fact that it would be at the stinkin beach. I mean come on, those views are some of the best our planet has to offer!
You will need to choose what type of beach you would prefer for your wedding, whether it be an easy-access public beach with parking and a picnic structure nearby like we did in order to host almost 100 people, or a secluded clifftop with spectacular views. The amazing thing is that no matter which beach you choose, as long as your background is an ocean view, it is bound to be beautiful.
Source: Style Me Pretty
One thing I would caution you in regards to the type of beach is to think through is the logistics of getting to your beach venue. If you are only going to have the most important 10 people in your life at the ceremony, then you have a lot more freedom to do a beach that is more adventurous. For awhile I really wanted Thousand Steps Beach in South Laguna beach to work. Thousand Steps Beach is gorgeous and exciting with 223 steps to get there. Can you imagine the photo ops with that staircase? The problem was I knew I had about 75 people to consider, and not many of them would want to climb that many stairs under any circumstances, let alone in high heels.
Source: California Through My Lens
I was trying to dream up ways to get those that needed it a boat from a nearby beach with easier access and deliver them on the sands shore, but in the end I knew I had to give up on this unrealistic fantasy because it would be just too difficult.
You will have to decide how much difficulty you are willing to sacrifice for, and I wasn’t ready to sacrifice my guest list. But hey, every bride is different and that is what makes every wedding so unique and special!
3. The weather
Okay, so this doesn’t apply to every beach. If you are considering hosting your wedding on the coast of Oregon or Washington, then you may want to just skip this section. In my situation, I found that an outdoor wedding would be much less expensive than an indoor venue, and a sunny beach in California would be the perfect combo of heat and a nice coastal breeze to go with it. That type of weather is exactly what we got in the beginning of May in San Diego. I encourage you to be willing to travel a couple of hours if it means going to a beach that gets lots of sun to warm the sand and water and as far south as you are able. And if you can’t travel much, I recommend planning it for July or August to maximize your chances that the weather will cooperate.
And worse case scenario, even if it does become overcast and windy, wedding pictures are still adorable with a couple of cardigans and scarves thrown in.
4. The theme
The thing I love about beach weddings is that there is a very obvious theme that plays right into your surroundings without having to try too hard. However, you aren’t stuck to just one way of decorating– there are several different ways you could approach the decor.
You may choose that you want to focus it around seashells and place shells in all of the wedding party’s hair or bouquets and have the flower girl throw tiny shells as she walks down the aisle. [seashell hair piece pic] You may want it to be centered around starfish and put one in your hair and one on the guest book table. Or, you could go with a different approach and focus on nautical decor, such as tying a fisherman’s knot as your symbol of unity during the ceremony.
Source: Infinity and Ovation
The possibilities are limitless, and you can choose to mix and match the items together– no one ever said you have to choose. They all will tie in perfectly with the beach scenery.
5. The photo shoots
I know it’s not very difficult to find a beautiful spot to take photos at for any wedding venue, but I think the amount of spots at the beach with a gorgeous backdrop increases ten-fold. You can’t get any easier scenery as a photographer. “Hey everyone, if you could just look at me with your backs to the ocean, we’ll be good to go!”
It astounds me at how beautiful God created the ocean. You can admire it during sunset, middle of the day or sunrise. Heck, you can even get stellar pictures with the ocean during cloudy or stormy weather. I absolutely love pictures of the beach with a beautiful wedding dress involved.
Source: Style Me Pretty
Plus, we can’t forget the easy ability to draw something cute or romantic in the sand. It’s like having a classy etch a sketch wherever you go during the wedding. Actually, I will take it one step further and say that almost anything is beautiful when placed on the sand. Flowers, rocks, lanterns or lights, bibles, rings… the list may in fact be infinite, but I have never tried.
Source: My Wedding Guides
Although there may be venues that are more fancy or extravagant, I think nothing beats a wedding on the beach when considering beauty and affordability together. Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us are not swimming in dough, and even if we have those resources we would rather invest our money into our future marriages. Instead of dropping the average cost of a wedding venue, $13,000, consider this much more wallet-friendly approach. Don’t worry, your guests will still be just as impressed that you’ve created an amazing atmosphere starting with nothing but sand and ocean.
Source: How Do It
So, have I sold you on beach weddings yet? Let me know in the comments if your wedding was at the beach or if you are considering the beach for your future “Big Day.” Did you find a different venue that was also inexpensive? I want to know!