Marriage & Wedding Information

Florida Beach Weddings

There is nothing more romantic than a wedding by water especially at dusk.The sound of the waves lapping to shore provide music to a resplendent sunset creating an unequalled backdrop of constantly changing reddish orange gold hues dancing above the ocean's horizon.

Reasons for not opting for the traditional church wedding are many and varied. This is not a discussion about that, but of a beach wedding.

A wedding at the beach can be a spiritual or contemporary as you choose. If one partner is more spiritual or the religious than the other, incorporating both into the ceremony should not be a problem. Choose an interdenominational or interfaith minister or chaplain that is open to what is important and meaningful to you. Ask for their expertise and ideas and what they have done before with other couples. If you choose a celebratory minister, you will avoid receiving a dry ceremony. They are also a great source for recommending other wedding vendors such as florists, photographers and harpists or DJ's.

Beach weddings are affordable. Articles claim the average traditional wedding is between $19 and $30 thousand dollars. Beach Weddings won't empty your pocket books and are more joyful! At a beach wedding, the focus is on the bridal couple not the hotel and dinner ware. After the wedding, people are at the waterfront, often enjoying a few more days of bliss.

The beach is casual, spacious and inviting. Guests can relax and just enjoy your special moment in the open air, moving as they wish without being stuck in their traditional chairs.. Rules are few, rewards plenty. The passing pelican or possible glimpse of dolphins just adds to the delight. It is truly a celebration of life, a threshold crossing, a unity of two people or combined families in the midst of life.

Children can be children and run and play immediately after the ceremony.

Attire can be as dressy or casual as you choose for the bridal party and the guests can wear their favorite casual clothing. You might even ask all guests to wear one or two main colors such as denim and white or off white or tan and white so that your photos have a beautiful uniform look. Women can enjoy getting dressed up in dresses that flow in the wind if they want while men can choose rolled up khakis and dressy casual shirts. It's all a matter of choice and you have lots of choices. You may even choose to have a theme or have an integrated look by simply giving every one an inexpensive flowered lei to wear.

You can have your reception catered right on the beach under the stars or enjoy the amenities of a beach area. The reception can be as simple or as elegant as you wish. If at sunset and depending on time of year, sunset is late in the evening, a cake and champagne ceremony may be all that you need. Cake and Champagne ceremonies are quite popular at the moment. Sometimes but not often, couples add to it a bridal brunch.

Written by Rev. Elizabeth Berry in conjunction with Ed Strong, Serenity Photos, Fort Myers, Florida.

The disadvantages in my opinion are minor, but here are some:

Most obvious disadvantage is untamable weather, primarily rain. This is easily overcome with a back up plan to have the wedding at your hotel if it has a great lobby, restaurant, minister's residence if appropriate or better yet, consider a waterfront gazebo or pavilion near the beach. If you choose the latter, you can still get married on the beach and use the gazebo just in case.

Some beaches do not allow you to put up structures. If you are planning to bring anything but the chairs, check out what the rules are with the local authorities. Wedding Arches are rarely a problem but anything larger often is.

Receptions on the beach often require further information on prohibitions and requirements. Again, a nearby pavilion or gazebo that is often used for this may be the way to go.

If the beach is narrow, remember that when you go to see it, the tide may be out. Ask around how far the water comes in and if necessary choose another beach.

Be on the lookout for swamp areas near the beach. If there is a swamp and the time of year is right, there may be bugs. Ask the locals about flying insects and sand fleas.

Standing in the sand barefoot or in shoes may just be your thing. For many it is. Some couples even choose to have the ceremony while standing in a few inches of water. For those would rather not, choose a location with a deck, cement or other firm flooring.

Most beach weddings do not require chairs for the 15 or 20 minute ceremony. However, the elderly often need a place to sit down. Use your bridal party and make sure enough inexpensive fold up garden chairs are in the trunk ready for use.

The pluses far outweigh the negatives. What few negatives there are can easily be overcome.

This article was written by Berry and Strong from Serenity Photos and Berry Weddings in Fort Myers, Florida. For information or comments

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