Beach weddings are very popular around they should be! The coast of North Carolina has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! I shoot a lot of beach weddings every year and I have seen some go off without a hitch and I have seen some tank bad due to poor planning. In this post I will give you my top tips for pulling off an amazing beach wedding!

TIP #1 Ceremony Timing

This is the most important tip I can give you! Timing is EVERYTHING! The start time of your ceremony needs to be carefully thought out. The sunset plays a major role in everything during a beach wedding. There is no shade available on the beach, so scheduling your ceremony as close to sunset as possible is ideal. I recommend my clients to schedule their ceremony start time no more than two hours before sunset. Once the sun goes down, I have about 10 minutes to still be able to shoot and that's if it's not too cloudy. Ceremonies are usually about 30 minutes and then you have an hour of photos following. If you are wanting romantic sunset photos, I'd recommend starting no later than an hour and a half before sunset. This will ensure that you don't have to leave the reception to go do more photos later. There are lots of variables that come into play here. Time of year matters and daylight savings time matters. If you're doing a first look that will matter also. This is something that I can help you navigate so that you don't have to stress too much!

#1 Ceremony Timing

The sun is high, shadows are dark, and highlights are too bright. I am pretty good at editing these types of photos to make the lighting more even. The problem is that it's also very bright for the wedding party and guest, it's also very hot most of the time, and everyone will have on sunglasses in your photos. I have seen people pass out and get physically sick from being in the sun too long during weddings.

#2 Crowded Beaches

I find that a good number of people do not consider how crowded the beach might be when planning a beach wedding. Time of year matters almost as much as time of day. This was in the middle of June. There were even people set up in front of the ceremony. People will not move for you, and they will stand there and take pictures and videos of you the whole time. This is not a pretty backdrop or atmosphere for a beautiful beach wedding. Scheduling your ceremony in the late evening, especially in the summer, will ensure that you don't have so many people around.

#3 Tides

If you're planning a destination wedding at the beach, then most likely you will not know to consider the timing of the tides when deciding on ceremony start times. The tide is so very important. I have seen arbors wash away and wedding guest get soaked because the ceremony location was put too close to the water during high tide time. You can google tide times for the area you are getting married in and find out pretty quickly!

#4 Wind

It is ALWAYS windy on the beach, but sometimes it's VERY windy on the beach. While there's not much you can do to predict this, it's important to be prepared for it. If you're wearing a veil, make sure you to secure it with bobby pins. Be prepared to consider changing up your hairstyle choice on the day of if it's crazy windy. Maybe have your hairstylist stay until after your couples photos are complete so they can freshen up your hair after coming in off the beach.

#5 Sand & Water

Sand and ocean water do not mix well with guest nice shoes. Maybe have a flipflop table available if your guest don't want to mess up their nice shoes. A lot of times shoes will end up piling up at the bottom of a staircase that your bridal party and you have to walk in on. Shoes everywhere does not make a nice background. Plan ahead to have everyone keep their shoes in a certain spot so they don't clutter up your photos!

#6 Backup Plan

The weather around here changes every 5 minutes it seems like. You cannot depend on forecast during the summer time. It can and often does rain everyday here. Plus, we are very popular for hurricanes! If you are planning a beach wedding here anytime, especially during hurricane season, HAVE A RAIN PLAN!!! Even if it isn't hurricane season. If you are getting married outside you need to have a backup rain plan. Making these decisions well ahead of time will save you ton of trouble and stress!