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Beach Weddings

By Lesley of Wellspring Wedding Planners – specialist in planning weddings on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

South Coast

We are able to assist with  the planning of weddings and specialise in elopements and small weddings up to 50 people. Most of our wedding pictures are posted on https://www.facebook.com/wellspringweddingplanner/photos_stream

The Wedding Planning Beach Ceremony Package

We  will discuss a beach location on the south coast. On the day we will greet you on the beach to make sure all goes well. Everything is planned beforehand. .  .

  • A Marriage officer
  • A table on which to sign the register
  • A bridal bouquet (not tulips or arum/calla lilies/vark ore because they wilt at the coast).
  • A beach permit (we apply to the beach authorities for you – a permit is required by law).
  • You will need two over 18-year-old witnesses. We can arrange for two if you are eloping.
  • Bridal arch plain, white draped, to add to the general wedding ambiance.
  • This ceremony package is the same price for any sized wedding (even just the two of you).
  • Extras, like flowers and chairs, are available. You fill in a form and choose what you want.

The above package includes all the essentials for a beach ceremony. If you are interested contact Lesley on lesley@wellspring.co.za Please enquire about our wedding planning reception package, too.

More … If your dream is to say, “I do” to the rhythmic beat of the waves and sand between you toes, it can come true. However, there are a few things you need to consider if you want to get married on a beach in KwaZulu-Natal.

The weather

The beach is lovely in good weather. But you must have a Plan B in case of inclement conditions. But we discuss plan B options. Tropical cyclones and flood conditions are commonplace – as are droughts. The coast does not get the short, sharp showers like inland towns. Rain can set in for a couple of days and its windy even on a good day. A beach you love today can be washed away in a storm by tomorrow, so it is always a good idea to have a wedding planner who can check that you beach still exists or warn you about a change of location the day before the wedding.

 Not that you’ll care, cocooned in your romantic haze. You’ll be immune to howling gales, pouring rain or scorching sun. But your guests won’t. There’s nothing less romantic than guests in their finery dripping with rain ,while the wind sandblasts their legs, and chills them to the bone. Neither is it fun sweating in the scorching sun. Bring on Plan B.

 Plan B – having an alternative location with a roof. This means linking your ceremony with a venue or a restaurant or where you are staying. Most options carry price tags. There are lots of lovely venues in KwaZulu-Natal where you can get married with an ocean backdrop without actually getting sand in your shoes. You need to implement Plan B at least three hours before your wedding – in time to notify the location change to those in charge of chair delivery, décor and flowers and allow for your arch to be moved and draped and your chairs to be set in position. Then your guests need to be notified (Whatsapp group) or somebody has to redirect them. Hopefully you have a wedding planner directing operations! You can have your photos taken on the beach and if the weather is really foul, you can dress up again the next day or even next month, when the weather is bound to be glorious. As long as you end up with beautiful wedding photos, it doesn’t matter when they get taken.

Red Tape surrounding a beach wedding ceremony

Hey, we don’t make the rules! It may come as a surprise that you can’t have a ceremony on the beach without getting a permit. Beaches in KwaZulu-Natal are under the control of the municipal sea shore by-laws and they expect you or your wedding planner to apply for a beach permit to ensure that you know the rules. There is a cost for a beach permit and here are the rules: no tents or marquees, no advertising, no vehicles on the beach, no booze, no litter, no confetti throwing, no encroachment on the promenade or grassed area, no nearer than 50m from bathing areas, no reception to be held on the beach, no horse and carriage on the beach or on the grass – not even a horse on its own – just in case you were think of bringing your steed. Rules may differ on some beaches but the bottom line is that municipalities don’t mind you being on the beach for the duration of your ceremony, but then they expect you to buzz off and play somewhere else.

 Number of Guests

If you want to wait until the last minute to change to Plan B, a beach wedding ceremony works best with smaller groups.  You need three hours notice for large groups, it can’t be left to the last minute. A wedding planner can handle any size group. Plan B can mean moving the ceremony into the reception venue – so be prepared for that to happen.

Private beaches

Nobody can own a piece of beach in KwaZulu Natal so there are no “private” beaches. If a remote beach with no facilities, is the one in your dreams be mindful of guest who need to use a toilet – there needs to be one within 3 minutes walking distance – maybe a porta loo. You don’t have to have those blue ones, you can hire a nice white flushing one that comes on a trailer, but they are costly. Lack of toilet facilities is another reason why having a large group on a beach becomes a challenge. Easy access and parking is also important for guests and those carrying and setting up a bridal arch, chairs and other decor. They will object and charge you extra “portage” if they have to clamber over sand dunes or bash through bush.

Sound System

Wind and breaking waves are noisy, especially if there’s an on-shore wind. If it is important that all your guests hear you say “I do” then consider having a DJ with a silent generator or a battery operated sound system. This powers a PA system and also supports a CD player or  keyboard.  Otherwise have your chairs in a circle or semi-circle so that everyone is within earshot. No power = no music, so consider having a violinist, saxophonist  or an acoustic guitarist  to entertain and create a magical ambience – even if you don’t hear every note because of the surround sound wave pounding.

Bridal Attire

Well, if you are opting for sand in your toes, why spend money on high heels? Warn your guests, too. If you intend having a full-on reception with dancing afterwards, have beach a pair of each event. Bring a dry towel and talcum powder to clean your feet afterwards.

Brides who opt for beach weddings don’t usually wear elaborate, crystal encrusted, stiff wedding dresses. A soft, frothy, flowing, feminine gown that billows in the wind looks beautiful against a backdrop of breaking waves. But, hey, it’s your day, wear whatever your heart desires.

Have a veil designed with the wind in mind. Try it on in front of a fan and see what it does. You might find that a veil flapping about your face becomes irritating. A long, very light veil  that you can hang on to during the ceremony might work best, but  make sure it is anchored tightly with combs, velcro, Alice Band or even a hat, or it will blown  to Australia. Ask your bridesmaid to make sure your veil is kept under control. Who says you need a veil anyway?

Time

Unless you have a very small wedding where you can bully your guests into getting up before dawn, forget mornings. Our beaches face east and that’s where the sun rises (but, you know that). After sunrise and before 3pm the sun is so bright your eyes will be screwed up in all the photos or else you will be wearing sun glasses. After 3 is best although that’s when the wind blows, but don’t worry, the photos will be lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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