Victoria's Beach Wedding Checklist

Tips to a Successful Destination Beach Wedding by Victoria Begault 2009

*this checklist is copyrighted and based on personal experience as a wedding planner

1.       Planning Your Date – Beaches are crowded from 1st thru 31st Streets where the action and the stores are.  Stay at the north end of the beach between 57th & 31st Street or rent a beach house – don’t schedule your ceremony on a major holiday!  Fridays & Sundays are recommended – allow one hour after ceremony for photos – keep an eye on sunset times tables.  Parking is always a problem – so plan ahead!  

2.       Arriving in VA Beach  - We strongly urge against scheduling your wedding day ceremony for the day you arrive.  Typical check in time is 3pm! For a relaxed and successful ceremony day, schedule 1-5 days after arrival is best!

3.       Day Of Coordinator -   If you are not using our day of coordination wedding services, please delegate someone other than the bridal party or parents to oversee all the details of your special day! They are numerous & require meticulous attention to detail to make sure something is not forgotten.

4.       Beach House, Hotel Efficiencies & Suites, Time Shares - If you are not using a “Load In or Shopping” day of coordination service, please delegate someone other than the bridal party or parents to oversee and coordinate purchasing and set up of groceries and supplies.

5.       Hairstyling and Dressing Use a local salon stylist to come to your hotel room.  We don’t recommend using a member of the bridal party to assist (i.e., helping flower girls) as they need to get ready too!

6.       Night Before Ceremony -   Indulging? Have a glass of water after each drink – reduces swelling & puffiness

7.       Marriage license and Certificate Envelope – the Groom or Best Man typically hands the envelope to the Officiate on site (aka marriage commissioner / justice of the peace) – we pay the Officiant fee, including travel and gratuity (if we arrange that service on your behalf)

8.       Wedding Rings – designate Maid of Honor and/or Best Man to be in charge of them – Have fake rings for the ring bearer to carry – do not use your real rings!! **you can purchase fake rings from us at $1.00 each

9.       Tan Lines – Be careful about tan lines when you are wearing a strapless dress – you’ll want to lay out and tan when you first get to the beach, but remember to drop those straps and/or don’t burn – use sunscreen!

10.    Accessories should be out of the boxes, ready to be carried to the ceremony, i.e.:   Ring bearer pillow, flower girl baskets, sand ceremony (all sand pre-poured into the bride and groom bottles)

11.    Flower Girls  toss REAL flower petals or seashells – do not toss silk petals as the City considers that as  littering, is hazardous for seagulls and birds who might pick them up – FINES CAN BE ASSESSED BY THE CITY

12.    Real Flowers – if traveling with real flowers – keep the bottom of the stems in water, layer of newspaper or bubble wrap around them and keep out of the sun – boutonnieres & corsages should be misted and placed in baggies or florist containers – blow a breath into the bag to fluff up & seal. The heat will wilt flowers quickly.

13.    Ring Bearers – we strongly urge against using toddlers under age 5 as ring bearers because typically the heat and strange surroundings cause them to be cranky AND out of sorts, crying, and frequently someone has to remove them from the ceremony, which is upsetting to everyone

14.    Foot Apparel -  Flip flops or flat sandals recommended – do not wear heels, especially on beach aisle runners – discourage guests from wearing heeled shoes – recommend insert with wedding invitation – sand gets hot!

15.    Guest favors -  do not toss rice (rice swells up) – suggest using streamers or bubbles, or something that is either biodegradable or something that YOU CAN easily pick up from the beach

16.    Processional Line Up - Know your bridal party lineup for the processional – READ YOUR TIMELINE

17.    Mother’s & Grandparent’s Escorts – Pre-arrange escorts for YOUR VIPs

18.    Bride’s Bouquet - The maid of honor holds the bride’s wedding bouquet at the ceremony site so her hands remain free for the vow and ring exchange

19.    Programs – Decide who will be handing out your programs -  who, what, when & where will handle these responsibilities Suggestion: print your program, cut out edges & attach on a hand held fan – a great COOL keepsake

20.    Friends & Family Photographers10 Foot Rule – you have hired us to take your wedding photos, so please ask friends and family to give you a 10 foot radius for your ceremony – you don’t’ want their faces, cameras & camcorders in your background wedding pictures – ask them to use their ZOOM feature -  ALSO you won’t know who to look at!

21.    Arrival Time – tell guests to arrive 30 minutes prior to the ceremony – groom to arrive 20 minutes prior, bride, attendants, and family to arrive 15 minutes prior – “Murphy’s Law” what can go wrong will go wrong, people will get lost, stuck in traffic (common Friday & Saturdays), can’t find a parking space!

22.    Miscellaneous - bring scissors to cut tags, press and/or steam all clothes AT LEAST THE NIGHT BEFORE

23.    Xtras   Encourage friends and family or yourself to bring:  bottled water in an ice cooler, sun glasses (especially for the bride and groom if you want “beachy photos”, straw hats, umbrellas, flip flops, hand held fans – remember that many people are from out of state & not used to our climate -- **pre-arrange purchase through us for paper or rayon parasols, ladies’ hand held fans, cooler with iced bottled water

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