5 Steps to Throw an Unforgettable Beach Wedding This Summer

By Maria Yeonhee Ji

The beach lies at the heart of a New Zealand summer, making it the ideal venue for a wedding. Though it’s a non-traditional venue with a few extra logistical hurdles, the unparalleled beauty of the oceanscape, the delightfully relaxed atmosphere, and the freedom of the outdoors are all benefits worth planning for. Smooth sailing relies on some expertise in event management, so we’ve simplified the ordeal down to five fundamental steps that will help you throw an unforgettable beach wedding this summer.

1/ CHOOSE A VERSATILE VENUE

beach, wedding, New Zealand, planning, bride, groom, guests, fun, outdoor, summer, sunny, styling, bouquet

Image by Levien & Lens Photography

When it comes to beach weddings, a versatile venue is really important. An indoor area for getting ready and/or contingency wedding plans in case of bad weather is vital, but there are also other aspects that make the venue perfect: nearby getaway spots for a photoshoot before and/or after the ceremony; power supply sources/options for caterers and music; other venues in the area for a reception if you want to have it in a more traditional spot after a beachside ceremony. Fortunately, New Zealand’s reputation as a dream destination for weddings mean there are many exceptional places that fit this bill – just do your research and make sure the venue you choose can cater to all the aspects of your wedding plans no matter the weather.

2/ PROMPT THE FESTIVITY

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Image by Cassie Rosch

After the formal proceedings of the ceremony, sometimes guests need a little encouragement to let their hair down and have some fun afterwards. Encourage a laissez-faire approach to the merriment, but also have some option on hand to prompt the less spontaneous guests. A swing, team games/activities, balls to kick around, and a volleyball net are just some ideas to help keep the spirits high. Also, something to think about beforehand: sometimes waves and wind can be loud and render the run-of-the-mill portable beach speakers ineffectual for a crowd of 50+. If you’re big on having music playing, consider hiring an amplification system (this is also important for the ceremony so that all your guests can hear the celebrant, vows, etc.).

3/ THINK ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY

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Image by Evynn LeValley 

There are two important aspects of access to consider when it comes to planning a beach wedding. Firstly, how accessible is the ceremonial site(s) for your guests? Will any of your loved ones be using a walking frame or wheelchair? Though there might be a seemingly perfect, secluded spot you’ve come across in the venue scouting, your grandparents, for example, might struggle with even short treks to get there if the path isn’t friendly to mobility aids. Make sure to also think about seating options for those who are less independent on their feet so that everyone can enjoy the celebrations. The second thing to think about is how accessible the venue is to the general public. Unless your wedding is on a private beach, there may be some unexpected guests at your wedding, especially on public holidays. Pick a date and venue that’s not going to be too crowded, so that getting married is a personal, special affair to celebrate with your friends and family.

4/ KEEP THE SUN ON YOUR SIDE

beach, wedding, New Zealand, planning, bride, groom, guests, fun, outdoor, summer, sunny, styling, bouquet

Image sourced from Mister Gelato

A beach wedding can be the most blessed by or the most exposed to the elements – so make sure you keep the sun on your side. Plan your ceremony so that guests don’t have to be standing through the sunniest, sweltering hours of the day (you’ll avoid sunstroke as well as sunburn). If the sand is likely to be scorching hot and you’re opting to go barefoot down the aisle, an aisle runner can help keep your feet comfortable. A supply of sunblock, sunglasses, umbrellas and other shaded areas is a must for early afternoon receptions on the beach. And optional (but an inevitable favourite) is the provision of hydrating, cool treats. Whether it’s the classic scooped ice cream, a variety of ice block flavours, mouth-watering gelato, or shaved ice heaped with creams and sauces and jelly pieces... an abundance of summer treats is the best way to ensure your guests enjoy being out in the sun.

5/ OPT FOR DÉCOR THAT IS MEMORABLY MINIMALIST

beach, wedding, New Zealand, planning, bride, groom, guests, fun, outdoor, summer, sunny, styling, bouquet

Image by Levien & Lens Photography

Though the available bounty of beach-inspired décor is as boundless as the sea, don’t go overboard with the styling in a beach wedding. The ocean has a charisma that speaks for itself; against such a dazzling backdrop, too many decorations can seem superfluous and render your aesthetic kitsch. Keep your decorations minimalist but striking – play with textures and colours that blend with the beauty of your environment, not drown it out. The driftwood archway and the plumes of toitoi in silver buckets in the image above are perfect examples of beach wedding décor done right; the styling is unfussy yet eye-catching (not to mention kind to the environment).



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