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How Much Does A Beach Wedding Cost?

A dream beach wedding is on the wish list of many couples. White sand beaches, blue water and a shining sun make a picturesque setting. However, beach weddings aren’t always as simple as movies portray them to be.

The good news is that if it’s a local beach, these weddings can be a bit cheaper than traditional weddings at private venues. While with a destination beach wedding, the costs will be a bit higher.

wedding couple on beach.

Read more to know how much a beach wedding costs and what contributes to the cost.

What Determines How Much a Beach Wedding Costs?

A lot goes into determining how much you will spend on your dream wedding. If the wedding is on the beach, you can spend anything between $5,000 to $50,000. The average cost of a wedding on a local beach is around $10,000 while the average price of a destination wedding is around $35,000.

However, the details determine the exact cost of your beach wedding. Check out some factors that determine how much a beach wedding costs.

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Location

The first and most important determinant of the cost of your wedding is the location. A popular misconception is that you have to travel to places with the most stunning beaches before you can have a beautiful beach wedding. This is not so. You can find a beach nearby to reduce the wedding cost.

Also, some locations are traditionally more expensive than others. For example, most public beaches do not require payment. Instead, you only need to get a beach wedding permit to use the beach, which may cost between $30 to $300 in most cases. On the other hand, a private beach wedding venue attracts a higher price tag but offers more amenities.

The budget

Once you’ve sorted the location, it’s time to delve into the budget. Even a local beach wedding still has costs involved and they can stack up quickly if you don’t keep an eye on the budget.

The budget needs to cover –

  • Food, the wedding cake and alcohol
  • Wedding attire
  • Marriage license
  • The wedding officiant
  • Photography and Videography
  • Stationery and flowers
  • Décors like centerpieces and bunting
  • The hiring of marquees, furniture, linens, plates, cutlery and glassware
  • Music and lighting
  • Wedding insurance
  • Beauty appointments, gifts and other miscellaneous costs

Number of guests

This element is a must for every couple to consider, no matter the type of wedding you are having. It is equally essential while planning a beach wedding because your plans will be affected by the number of guests you invite.

If the wedding destination is far from where you live or in a high-end place, it is better to have fewer guests. However, if you are using a beach close to home, you can invite more people to share on your special day.

Also, it is known that the bigger a wedding is, the more expensive it becomes. If you invite many people, you must prepare to cater to them. This will cost you more. To keep the costs down, you can invite only family members and people that are closest to you and use a beach close to your home.

Outfits 

One of the most important categories when creating a wedding budget is the couple’s outfits. The bride’s dress takes a chunk of the money, depending on whether you rent or buy one. Buying a new one typically costs more than renting, especially from a high-end brand. However, beach weddings are usually with less fuss, and you can buy a simple gown to match the relaxed atmosphere of the beach.

While the bride’s dress is arguably the most important outfit of the day, others must receive adequate attention. The groom may also opt to rent a tux instead of buying one. Renting a tux can go from $50 to $300 while purchasing a new one costs about five times that. The wedding dress will cost between $200 to $5000.

Travel costs and accommodation

This is where things usually get more expensive. For example, having your beach wedding in a destination far from home will require your guests to arrive days before the wedding and leave days after. Since they will stay for several days, they will need suitable and affordable accommodation.

Usually, travel and accommodation are the responsibilities of each guest. However, you can check inclusive packages at wedding resorts to get a better deal for your guests. Inclusive destination beach wedding packages sometimes include transportation from the airport.

An inclusive resort may also offer discounts on accommodation for wedding packages. At the end of it all, the total cost of travel and accommodation will depend on distance and location.

couple in frame on a beach.

Food and Refreshments

Like every other wedding, a significant part of the wedding budget will go to preparing good food, drinks and other refreshment items for your guests. The cost of this category depends mainly on the type of meals you want to serve at your wedding.

Many couples usually go with a simple vibe for beach weddings. In line with this, they keep the refreshment light during the reception and book a restaurant to serve proper meals later.

Depending on the refreshment style you choose, the cost of feeding each guest may go from $100 to $900. If you are having the wedding meal catered, you should communicate well with your vendor on what you want and how it fits into your budget.

Customization

A beach ceremony allows you to add a personal touch and try unconventional things, like ditching shoes, veils, and elaborate hairstyles. In addition, you can choose to get creative about how each part of your wedding goes. For instance, you can have a backup plan in case it rains.

If you are having your wedding during the rainy season, you can choose to have a tent installed by the beach to protect you and your guests from the elements. In addition, your emergency plan may involve a hall where you can have the reception after saying your vows by the waterside. All these additions and other personal touches will cost more, so you should be prepared.

Wedding ceremony by beach with archway and seats.

Who Pays for What?

When drawing up a budget for a destination wedding, one question that pops up is, “who pays for what?” We will provide a simple formula for how the cost should/can be shared to ease your task.

The Couple

The couple commonly pays for most of the expenses incurred during the wedding. You must pay for the location, decoration, licenses and permits, food, drinks, other refreshments, outfits, and other things you want. The cost for all these depends on the style of wedding you want. If you want something with minimal cost, you will not spend a lot getting a permit for a public beach and feeding your guests with light refreshments.

On the other hand, wealthy couples usually go all out for their beach weddings. Besides renting private beaches for higher costs, most prepare more than one venue for their wedding. These weddings sometimes last more than one day and include various fun activities to entertain guests. So naturally, the couple will bear the costs for all these.

The guest list

Destination wedding guests usually pay for their travel and accommodation. To make things easier for your guests, you should notify them early, about 9 to 12 months before the wedding date. That way, they will have enough time to save up if necessary.

If you are having your wedding somewhere far from your residence, you should consider inviting only your closest friends and family. You can also opt to pay for or subsidize some of their expenses, like accommodation. 

word love written in the sand of a beautiful beach

Other things to consider

There are a few things you should know when planning a beach wedding. These will help you prepare well for your big day and prevent mishaps. Read about some of them below.

Selecting the Date

Selecting the date for a beach wedding must be done with more thought than usual. First, you must consider the time of year. Beach weddings can be great during the off-season when you can almost have the beach to yourself, however that does mean you really need to consider the weather.

Many couples prefer to have beach weddings in the summer or spring – basically, a time when there won’t be rain to mess things up. You may also want to pick a day of the week that’s not the weekend, to beat the weekend influx of beachgoers. Considering all these and more will take some time, so start planning early.

The time of day

You’ll need to consider when the tide is in and out on the beach at the time of day you want to get married. A beach is also very exposed, so think about where the sun will be during the wedding ceremony, so the guests aren’t squinting.

Have a plan B

On a beautiful day, a beach wedding can go off without a hitch. But if there’s an unforeseen storm coming, you need a plan B! Is there an indoor option if there’s rain? Or a large tent that could hold all the guests comfortably. You could also think about getting lots of cheap and cheerful umbrellas that can be given to guests in case of rain. It could make a pretty picture too!

Notify Your guests

Once you have a date and your wedding party sorted, start telling people, especially if it’s a destination beach wedding. You are not the only one who has to prepare adequately for a beach wedding. Your guests have to do so too. Send a Save the Date card around 9 to 12 months in advance. When sending wedding invitations for a local wedding, the RSVP date can be around 4-6 weeks prior to the wedding. For a destination wedding, have the RSVP date be 8-12 weeks in advance.

Informing your guests early shows that you care about them and consider them an essential part of your special day. You can also send reminders to ensure they do not forget. You can set up a website and send regular reminders if you want or get a wedding coordinator to do it if it is a large-scale wedding.

Visit the location before the wedding day

This is very crucial. You should not rely on pictures and videos from the internet or other people. Instead, take some time to visit the location with your spouse before the wedding. Doing this will allow you to picture yourself in the place and see if it fits your dream wedding.

You can also take the opportunity to scout suitable accommodation, transport and entertainment options for your guests.

Get an experienced wedding planner

Your best shot at ensuring that everything goes as planned is to hire an experienced wedding planner. It is better if your wedding coordinator is from the area you want to have your wedding. With this, you can be sure they know the best beach locations and where to get everything you need.

They can also help you plan how to reduce unnecessary costs and have your dream wedding within your budget.

The takeaway

Beach weddings are almost as incredible as you have always imagined them to be however don’t underestimate what needs to be sorted to successfully pull off the beach wedding of your dreams.

Of course, you can have a simple beach wedding with a few guests in attendance. You may not even need to hire a professional photographer. However, high-scale beach weddings sometimes require more planning than a typical wedding.

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