How to have a successful beach ceremony!

Who wouldn’t want to be married with the soothing sounds of lapping ocean waves with sand between their toes?
As beautiful and romantic beach weddings are, they do bring up their own challenges though.
Many of us at Sound In Motion Entertainment have been a part of MANY beach ceremonies. Here’s some insight from our very own Andrew Rivas.

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Finding the right beach:

Is your beach secluded from the general public? True story, at a wedding last year, the back drop to the ceremony was a packed beach with an older topless woman to the immediate right of the bridesmaids, standing up checking out the ceremony. I’m sure that took a bit of editing from the photographer to crop out.

Remember that these beach goers are on vacation and not guests at your wedding. So you could potentially get people heckling or saying stupid things. In general everyone is very respectful, but just know that this is a possibility.

Do you need a permit?
Pretty straight forward. City Beaches and State Beaches can have different policies even if they are adjacent to one another. The policy is often easy to find on the city or state website.

How accessible is the beach?
If you have a guest list which has some seniors coming to your wedding, how easy it for them to get to the ceremony location? Also remember that if you are DIY by bringing your chairs for all your guests to the beach, that carrying anything in soft deep sand is TOUGH labor.

Check the Tides!
So you decided to pick a small secluded beach right next to the water. In certain parts of the world “tidal swings” (the difference between the
highest tide of the day and lowest tide of the day) can be upwards of 55feet. This can turn a small beach into NO beach! Make sure to check your wedding location during a similar tide to know what to expect (predicted tides available here:

http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/tide_predictions.html

Here are some Beach specific logistics to plan for:

My beach has no power! If you would like to have amplified sound, so all your guests can hear, you will need to have some mic’s and a speaker which require power. Since most beaches have no power, or no power within 100’s of yards, you will need to bring your own. There are such things as large battery powered speakers with built in microphones, which are very good for these situations. Also look into bringing a BATTERY powered Generator. High quality large battery generators are really the only generators acceptable for beach ceremonies, because they make absolutely no noise and still are able to power most ceremony audio equipment.

The soothing sounds of the ocean are louder than you think! Close your eyes and picture yourself at a beautiful calm beach with your future spouse. It’s a beautiful day, the birds are chirping, the calm waves breaking across the sand, a lovely ocean breeze, and you and your future spouse having a romantic conversation. Ah… so nice! Here is the tricky part of beach audio. Your microphone doesn’t know what’s important. It will pickup everything around at the same volume it goes into it (vows, waves, birds, and wind noise)****. Which will all be sent back
out to the speakers, giving a less than studio sound quality. Think about getting a lapel mic for the groom, and not just the officiant, as a mic closer to the person talking doesn’t have to work as hard to pick up. Make sure windscreens are on all the mic’s! Let your officiant know that by simply twisting their body even slightly to block the wind from the mic. It can make a huge difference in sound quality.

Lastly, hire people who have already worked weddings on the beach. When booking vendors make sure everyone you work with is wedding beach experienced from planners/coordinators, Hair and Makeup artists, Sound Tech’s/DJ/Band, any one else who will be working to make your ceremony the absolute best!

****To my audio nerds, I realize this is an over simplified statement removing stylesof microphones, compression, EQ etc..****

Andrew Rivas