Now is the time for beach weddings. And if you find yourself newly engaged (congratulations!), you might consider a beach wedding for your special day sometime next year. And why wouldn’t you; exchanging your vows in a gentle breeze as the water softly laps at your feet is a beautiful way to start your marriage! So here are a few tips to ensure it ends up as stunning and memorable as you have in mind:

Beach Wedding Tips

1.) Choose the right beach. A beach in Mexico is vastly different from a beach in Hawaii, which is vastly different from a beach in North Carolina, which is vastly different from a beach in California, so be sure to choose the right one. And the right one is often one that is special to you. Are you both avid surfers? Perhaps you can use the beach closest to your favorite surf spot.

2.) Be prepared for the weather. Any outdoor wedding needs a backup plan, and the beach is no different. A large tent might do the trick if the weather is generally mild, but if the weather is known to be particularly nasty that time of year, you might need a sturdy indoor location to direct guests. Ensure all guests are away from your backup location before the wedding day.

3.) Don’t overthink the decorations. The great thing about having a beach wedding is the setting itself. There’s no need to go overboard on decorations when you’re never going to top the view of the sun setting over the ocean anyway. Keep things simple and let the venue do most of the work. Some creative touches (like unique sandcastles, brightly decorated tables, or some tiki torches) might be all you need to compliment your gorgeous background.

Additional Tips

4.) Keep the food on the theme. If you’re having your celebration at the beach, seafood will, of course, be welcome! If you’re on a beach in Maine, a traditional clam bake might be a clever idea. A Hawaiian wedding might lend itself perfectly to a Hawaiian pig roast. Or you could just put something on a grill, like chicken and steak skewers! As long as you make sure to have a few food options for guests with specific food needs (shellfish allergies, vegetarians), everyone is sure to be thrilled with the cuisine.

5.) Don’t forget the lighting! As with all outdoor weddings, you must provide some lighting when the sun goes down (or behind clouds). On a peaceful night, candles will work beautifully, as will glowing lanterns gently swinging from a few trees. If no trees are on site, a handmade trellis will lend nicely to strings of white sparkling Christmas-style lights. And when in doubt, a few firmly planted torches will illuminate the sand beautifully.