Decide which beach you’d like to get married on and find out whether weddings are allowed there. Especially if it lies within a reserve or protected area. Contact your local municipality as you may need a permit for the duration of your ceremony and reception.
Have a backup plan in the event of bad weather. Investigate sheltered areas on the beach and tents that can be easily manoeuvred should the wind pick up. Ensure that you and your guests will have enough protection from the sun. Go to www.weathersa.co.za for an archive of weather patterns to help you plan.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the tides, see www.satides.co.za. Be aware of spring, neap and high tides, which could have an effect on everything from space for the ceremony and photographs, to access for your guests and service provides, and the set-up for the reception.
Visit your chosen beach at the weekend to see which areas are the busiest and at which time of day – a Frisbee sailing through the crowd during your vows is not ideal, nor is an overly friendly Labrador fresh from a paddle.
If you are having the reception on the beach, consider factors such as toilet and bathroom
facilities, vehicle access and facilities for your caterers. Choose a caterer who has experience in beach productions and bear in mind that food that can be served cold or straight off coals, such as a seafood feast is more suitable than a traditional carvery or plated meal. Remember, it is illegal to consume alcohol on a beach, even under a marquee, so if you plan to serve alcoholic drinks, rather have your reception at a restaurant or private home.