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Beach and Destination Weddings

"So many times I find that the 'wedding of your dreams' actually comes true as your toes are walking across a sandy aisle while trade winds are blowing through your hair!" (That’s why I keep my passport handy! - E. Walter Smith



How to Plan the Perfect Beach Wedding

Our DWH A-List Planners know a thing or two about planning perfect beach weddings. We solicited their best advice for an oceanfront affair — everything from choosing the right gown to windproofing your decor — to keep you worry-free while exchanging vows on the sand.

by Rebecca Kinnear

Dress Accordingly

Skip the big dress. Let’s face it: A ballgown belongs in, well, a ballroom. “You may be able to get down the aisle in a full dress and long train,” notes Paulette Davis of Bahamas Wedding Planner, “but walking on the beach and taking photos won’t be easy. If a large dress is a must, make sure it can bustle easily.”

Think light. “Dresses with lace trim can be difficult because they pick up debris from the beach,” says Kate Bentley of Happily Ever After Wedding Planning & Design in Key West, Florida. “Instead, choose a lightweight fabric like chiffon or charmeuse so your gown flows in the ocean breeze.”

Nix the veil. “When marrying outside, think twice about a long veil,” cautions Stacy Mulcare of Ceremonies of St. John. “If it’s windy, it will be a nightmare for you and the photographer.” Instead, accessorize your ’do with fresh flowers or a fascinator.

Consider an updo. “Think of the elements when deciding on a hairstyle,” says Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events in Los Angeles. “A tried and true updo will keep you looking polished all night.” Larissa Banting of Weddings Costa Rica suggests doing a trial run at your location. If wearing your hair down is the only option, Helmstetter recommends investing in the services of a stylist, who can do touch-ups throughout the day.

Ditch the heels. Sand and high heels just don’t mix. “Wear flat-sole sandals, espadrilles or wedges — shoes that won’t sink into the sand,” says Banting. Have your gown hemmed with or without shoes, depending on which option you choose. “Remember, sand can get pretty hot. Have an aisle runner made of fabric or thick flower petals to help keep your tootsies cool.”

Avoid tan lines. “Be very careful of sunburn and unwanted tan lines,” advises Somchit Srimoon of Thailand Weddings. “Constantly apply waterproof sunscreen,

especially while swimming.” Adds Tara Soloway of Luxe Destination Weddings: “This goes for the bride, bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom. Everyone knows what they’re wearing in advance, so they should plan bathing suits accordingly.”

Let your guys go informal. “While many brides envision their groom in a tux, black wool is a no-no in tropical climates,” says Helmstetter. Allister Simmons of the

Bridal Suite Bermuda Weddings adds, “We save the ‘penguin suits’ for our many beautiful chapels and churches. Lightweight cotton pants or even Bermuda shorts are great options for the beach.”

At the Ceremony

Stay natural. A gorgeous ocean backdrop doesn’t need to be too dressed up. Instead, highlight the natural beauty of the setting. “A beach wedding can be about shells and starfish, but it can also take inspiration from the harmonious color palette of sand, dune grasses, stones and water,” says Karen Bussen of Simple Stunning in New York. “Decor should be simple; avoid going over the top with fussy flowers.”

Add color. To make your setup really pop, Sasha Souza of Sasha Souza Events suggests, “Choose colors that contrast the sand and the surf rather than blend in, like corals, greens and other vibrant tones.”

Read the rest of the article at Destination Wedding Magazine.

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