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What you Need to Know about a Beach Wedding

So your dreaming of a beach wedding in Hawaii or in the Caribbean? Making that dream a reality isn't really difficult or as expensive as you might think. More and more couples are choosing destinations weddings and beach weddings are by far the most common. As you begin to make your decision about whether to have a beach wedding or not, we've put together a list of what you need to know.
It Can Be Easier . If you've thought of spending the day before (and the day of in my case) your wedding relaxing on the beach instead of running hundreds of errands then you are not alone. This thought is driving brides and grooms to think about beach weddings. You may worry about the difficulty of planning a wedding from thousands of miles away, but the truth is, destination wedding are often far less work than traditional weddings. Most hotels and resorts offer wedding-planning services and packages and take care of the details for you. You still have work to do up front in determining locations & travel arrangements for yourself and your guests but you won't have to worry about all the small details of the ceremony and reception if you don't want to. is here to assist you in making the planning easy.
It Can be Less Expensive. Beach Weddings are usually less expensive than traditional weddings. This is typically because you don't have as many guests that you are paying for. You still have to buy your dress, pay for travel and in some cases host a reception when you return, but all in all it's typically cheaper. If you check our FAQ you will find help with understanding who pays for what in a destination wedding.
It Can be Different...or Not. For some of you, the idea of the traditional church wedding is out. You want to do something different. A beach or destination wedding isn't your typical home town wedding reception with a dance band and bridal dance is it? However, you will see that you can still have a religious ceremony if you want, still incorporate traditional aspects to the ceremony or you can do something completely different. You have the option of making it your own, making it different, but making it as traditional as you want. Many brides still wear a traditional wedding dress (see pictures), many still hire a minister and many still have a reception when they come home.
It Can Be Longer. A beach or destination wedding give you the opportunity to turn a wedding day into a wedding weekend or even a wedding week. You guests will typically join you for three or more days and can join in the fun and festivities you have planned. You have the opportunity to actually get to spend some one-on-one time with your guests. You won't be so busy running around before the wedding or being pulled by the reception photographer & wedding coordinator in so many directions you don't have time to visit with friends and family. We've all been to wedding where we barely get to speak to the bride or groom.
It Might Be Smaller. At most weddings there are typically some guests that will have to travel, but generally that is a small number. With a beach wedding everyone will have to travel. You may have to accept the fact that your guest list will be smaller. Not everyone can afford to attend or can take off as much time as needed to make the trip. It's something you must seriously think about. However if you are looking for that intimate guest list, a beach wedding may be exactly what you are looking for. Typically your closest friends and family will be those most likely to attend.
You do Need to Save The Date . Invitations are supposed to be sent 4-6 weeks before a wedding. But that is not enough time if your beach wedding requires guests to travel or take time off of work to enjoy the destination you've chosen. It's important to give your guests as much advance notice about your beach wedding as possible. Sending out Save the Date letters or cards between 9 and 12 months ahead of time gives your guests time to save and make necessary arrangements. If you have a wedding website (which we think is a must) you can use the save the date card to direct them to the site where they can get information about the wedding.
You do Need a Wedding Coordinator . If you choose to get married at a resort that offers wedding packages, you will have a wedding planner there to help with the details. You will be communicating over the phone or e-mail so you have to ensure that your requests are very specific. If you choose to hire a wedding coordinator not associated with a resort you may have more flexibly in planning your wedding but more details will be on you to make decisions about. It's even more critical to correspond often with them and be as specific as possible about what you want. Check our beach locations for resources on hotels that offer wedding packages and outside wedding coordinators.
You Need to Understand the Legal Requirements. If you are getting married in another state or in another country, you will need to understand the legal & marriage requirements required by the local, state and country governments and as well as those in your own state. Passports may be required as well as local marriage licenses. Different states & countries have different requirements around blood tests or immunizations. Spend some time in our legal requirements page to read about the legal requirements for locations you may be considering.
Is a destination wedding for you? It's not for everyone. If you've been dreaming of the big church wedding with the formal fairy tale dress with 10 foot train and pipe organ playing for 300 guests, it might not be the right decision for you. If know you will be very controlling of every small detail it may not be right for you. With far away weddings you have to be able to turn some of the details over to site coordinators. You have to be able to relax and put faith in the planner you hire or resort coordinator. Figure out what is important to you. Then you have to be able to trust and let go. If you can't do that, a beach or destination wedding my not be right for you.
If your still ready to start planning your dream beach destination wedding, read our Getting Started article to being planning and check out the rest of the resources at to help you plan the beach wedding of your dreams.