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With the weather getting chillier by the day, the beach may be the farthest thing from your mind — unless, of course, you’re planning a beach wedding! The beach is a classic as far as wedding locations go, but logistically, they can be tricky to navigate. Since the South is blessed with some seriously beautiful beaches (including one of my personal favorites, Virginia Beach!), sit a spell and let’s chat about planning a Southern seaside wedding!

1. Get a permit. Permits are not always necessary, depending on your location, but this is one logistical detail you won’t want to overlook if you do end up needing one. When getting your permit, you’ll also find out the specific guidelines your beach has for weddings, from what types of equipment can be used to guidelines for decor.

2. Reserve a spot. Avoid having to wander up and down the beach the day before your wedding searching for the perfect ceremony spot! Pick out a location well in advance, and find a way to make sure it’ll be free on the big day. At Virginia Beach, you can even reserve the exact spot in the sand.

3. Consider the weather. As with all outdoor weddings, it’s important to think about how the weather will affect your day. For example, if you’re getting married in the summer, plan to have lots of water and fans available. If it’ll be chilly (we love the idea of a winter beach wedding!), pass out pashminas and set up a hot drinks station.

4. Come up with a backup plan. A detailed backup plan is another outdoor wedding must-have. As well as planning for rain, think about what to do if you’re faced with a particularly windy day, which can affect beaches more dramatically than other outdoor areas.

5. Work with the natural beauty of the beach. The number one reason I imagine couples choose the beach for their big day? The scenery! Take inspiration from the colors and textures of the beach and choose details that complement that for a beautiful, cohesive look.

6. Plan your attire. We are certainly in favor of brides wearing whatever they desire on their big days, but taking location into account is helpful in more ways than one. Along with choosing an outfit that fits your wedding’s style, you’ll also want to consider how comfortable you’ll be. On the beach, this may mean something like a lightweight dress, a short veil, and wedges or sandals.

7. Be clear about the dress code. One of the most gracious things you can do for your guests is to make sure they know how to dress appropriately for your wedding. Let them know that you’ll be on the beach, and inform them about your dress code. If you don’t want to go into too much detail in your invitations, direct them to a more in-depth explanation on an information card or your wedding website.

8. Consider noise levels. Between the wind and the waves, there is quite a bit of noise to account for during a beach ceremony. Particularly if your guests will be more spread out or there are a large number of them, consider using microphones for your officiant and any important speakers.

9. Provide shade. Beaches rarely have much natural shade, and even on the mildest day, some of your older guests may not be able to sit in the sun for long. Parasols or sun hats at your ceremony can help, but be sure to designate a shady spot where people can sit if they really need to.

10. Keep guests comfortable. Southern hospitality is always a priority to us! Along with a few of the things we typically recommend having on hand for outdoor weddings (namely water bottles and bug spray), we also suggest stocking up on sunscreen, fans, or even sunglasses for your guests to use. This is where thinking through your wedding as a guest comes in handy–what would you need to be comfortable if you were attending?

Friends, this is only a starting point–there are so many amazing tips and tricks for beach weddings out there! Beach brides, what would you add to this list that was helpful to you?

This post is brought to you by Virginia Beach Tourism. Many thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors!

lisa Written with love by Lisa

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As much as I love fall, I’m already starting to get just a little bit nostalgic for summer. This was one of the first years my family didn’t spend any time in Williamsburg, Virginia, and summer wasn’t quite the same without being there. On sunny Saturdays, I love driving the short hour to Virginia Beach from Williamsburg for a day of lounging in the sun and strolling down the boardwalk! The South is blessed with so many wonderful beaches, so I can only imagine many of y’all have similarly sweet memories. This makes a beach like Virginia Beach such a meaningful wedding venue!

Virginia Beach boasts 35 beautiful miles of waterfront property, which means plenty of location options for your ceremony. Whether your dream is saying “I do” with perfect sunset views (try Chesapeake Bay Beach!) or your priority is close proximity to a lovely reception space (like the rental homes and guest houses at Sandbridge), there’s no shortage of places to choose from along Virginia’s coast.

One of the biggest benefits of hosting your wedding at Virginia Beach? Being able to reserve the exact spot in the sand where your ceremony will take place. Your location can be reserved for up to three hours, and will be closed to the general public for that time. You’ll be free to set up decor and seating as you wish and enjoy a private ceremony, without having to worry about curious tourists! I love this!

If your style leans more toward lively, the Oceanfront might be the perfect place for you. This resort area hosts a famous three-mile boardwalk, as well as a wide range of hotels and restaurants. If your top priority is convenience for your guests, a wedding near the Oceanfront is a wonderful option!

You can learn much more about planning a Virginia Beach wedding here, and of course, if any of y’all are already planning your wedding at this fantastic Southern beach, we’d love to hear about it! What made you choose Virginia Beach for your wedding? Anyone else have fond memories of family beach vacations growing up?

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Morgan Jones reply

    Oh my goodness North Carolina beaches are beautiful! I grew up going to the same beach house, Jonah’s Whale, with one whole a side of my family every summer. Caswell Beach and Southport hold such special places in my heart!

  2. avatar Cheap Wedding Dresses reply

    This wedding looks absolutely stunning!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Yes! Except my memories are from the very cold beaches of Maine :)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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And we’re back with more beachy goodness from Maile Lani! Bonnie + Brent’s Florida wedding feels so organic and comfortable, with details that feel festive without being fussy. The raw fabric bunting, mason jar candles and wildflowers — I love all of it! Bonnie was a DIY bride all the way, making the bunting and table runners and painting the corn hold boards, among other details. The bride’s amazing momma and granny also pitched in to make four wedding cakes for the newlyweds. This family-spun wedding was the perfect way to celebrate with the couple’s closest family and friends.

See all of the photos from Bonnie + Brent’s wedding in their Real Wedding Gallery!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Of course the little details and decorations: mason jars, wild flowers, good ole’ Southern BBQ (just the way Paula Dean would make it – well-seasoned and with plenty of butter!), family heirlooms and a reception site with a huge porch! The real dose of Southern was our family and friends! Nothing says Southern like sharing a day with your closest family and friends. You know, the ones you grew up with in a small farming town. You’ve known them since you were born, they have been through everything with you, and they’d do anything for you.
Describe your wedding cake: There were four cakes and my amazing momma and granny made them! I wanted something simple and homemade, and they were just that! I can still remember walking into the house when my mom was baking them. It smelled heavenly! We had an array of options for our guests: yellow cake with chocolate icing (my favorite), Funfetti cake, carrot cake, and coconut cake.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Too many DIY projects! I handmade the fabric bouquets, favors and place settings, arranged the flowers, hand-sewed the bunting banners, painted the corn hole boards, created my own hair piece, made the table runners and so much more. Looking back, I’m not sure how I did it!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? LESS than $10,000 and I am so proud of that! I was very grateful for my parents paying for the wedding and I wanted to make it as inexpensive for them as possible. We found ways to cut corners and were blessed by our dear family and friends who volunteered their wedding services.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? We planned on splurging with the photographer, but then Maile happened to us. Yay! So we splurged on the food. We’ve known the caterer for years and he works in my hometown a lot, so we knew the food would be divine. It was important to us to share the world of Southern food with our out-of-town guests.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? After the reception, Brent and I headed to our bridal suite while our guests were invited to continue the party at the Hotel’s poolside bar. Around midnight, we looked over our balcony to see both of our families and friends all having a good time together – and they did so well into the next morning. It was such an amazing moment because it was a visible representation of two families merging into one.

Photographer: Maile Lani Photography // Videographer: Eric Horner Films // Planner: En Vogue Event Planning // Ceremony venue: Courtyard Marriott // Reception venue: Indian Riverside Park // Florist: Rainbow Gardens // Wedding Cake Baker: Bride’s mother and grandmother // Caterer: Gator Hammock // Paper Products: bride // Bride’s Dress: Wtoo by Watters // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: bride // Bride’s Shoes: Antonio Melani // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: various // Accessories: bride

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Lydia reply

    Great wedding awesome photos:)

  2. avatar eve reply

    wow these pics surely do,look beautiful, and i guess its about time i got married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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