Wedding Planning

Want to Get Married on The Beach? Read This First.

Everything you need to know about a successful on-the-sand ceremony.


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Planning a successful on-the-sand ceremony can be magical, but requires a bit of forethought. To help you dip your toes in, head wedding and event coordinator Crystal Hunt of Cape May’s Shore Thing Event Services shares her best shore wedding ceremony tips.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to New Jersey Shore Weddings

Have a backup you actually like.

“Beach weddings are my favorite, but they’re also weather- contingent,” says Hunt. Especially during the fall hurricane season, it’s important to scope out a covered option you feel solid about (pavilions work great!), because there’s a chance the skies will turn on you.

Get your permits in order.

Nope, you can’t just gather guests and waltz out to the water. Fees and permissions vary by township — in Cape May, for example, you’ll pay $25 for a 30-minute ceremony — but Hunt says they’re mostly put in place to avoid event overlap. Find an overview of policies under the Community tab at Capemaycountychamber.com.

 Schedule your rehearsal for around the same time as your ceremony.

This will give you the best insight into where the tide and sun will be while you exchange vows. Hunt recommends positioning yourselves 10 feet back from the high-tide marker and selecting an angle that keeps the glare out of everyone’s eyes.

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Give guests the heads-up on parking.

Come summer, weddings will have to contend with the uptick in weekend visitors. “Let guests know to leave a little early, and that they might have to walk a little further,” says Hunt.

Make a few adjustments to hair and wardrobe.

If you have your heart set on wearing your hair down but are worried about it blowing in your face, Hunt suggests pulling the face-framing pieces back into a half-up look. Veil weights can work, she notes, but only if the veil you chose already has a bling-y look. Finally, shoes: Flats — or none — are your best bet.

Don’t forget the bug spray!

Mosquitoes and greenhead flies can be a big nuisance during early spring and fall, especially if you’re marrying on a beach by the marsh. Hunt suggests setting bottles of bug repellent at the entrance to your ceremony, so guests can spray themselves down before taking their seats.

This story was originally published as “Plan a Successful On-the-Sand Ceremony” in the Summer/Fall 2019 issue of Philadelphia Wedding

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