One out of every four couples fantasizes about getting hitched abroad, according to the Travel Industry Association Of America. Who could blame them? As beautiful as a traditional church ceremony is, the sentiment of getting hitched on a gondola in Venice or on a white sandy beach in Mexico is shared by many. There’s just something appealing about tying the knot in an exotic location and setting. What bride-to-be wouldn’t want to stroll down the sandy aisle barefoot to her future husband? And just think of those amazing pictures!

However, the idea of that daunting process involving long flights, language barriers and foreign vendors puts a lot of couples off. That’s why they get married in the comfort of their home country. Of course, a destination wedding does not come without its stresses. What wedding does? There’s still a lot of planning involved, expense and thinking ahead for little things like windy weather. But if you plan beforehand, the ultimate result will be worth it.

Bringing in expert tips, we are going to show you the best way to plan for a beautiful beach wedding. These tips should help you prepare for your big day and ensure it is the dream wedding you’ve always wished for.

20 Skip the ballgown

Not all dresses work for a beach wedding. A ballgown, for instance, belongs in a ballroom – and definitely not on a beach. You have to think what will be easy to move in. Anything fussy will be hard to deal with on a beach.

Opt for a lighter fabric like chiffon or charmeuse so your dress flows nicely in the ocean breeze. Forget the full dress and long train because it will only distract you through the ceremony. We know they say beauty is pain but nobody wants to be uncomfortable on their wedding day. It will also show up in the wedding photos.

19 Think twice about a veil

Even if the wind isn’t strong on the beach, a breeze will still be present which makes wearing a long veil tricky. Not only will it be uncomfortable for you if the breeze picks up, it will also be a nightmare for the photographer. You want your wedding photos to look natural. The last thing you want is to keep messing around with your veil through the whole ceremony.

A lot of beach brides add accessories to their updo instead of a veil. This is way more practical and far more comfortable for you. Adjusting your veil throughout the ceremony isn’t exactly fun.

18 Say "I Do" in the daytime

Wedding experts encourage couples to have their beach ceremony during the daytime. Why? Because when the sun drops below the horizon, that clear blue sea you wanted in your pictures goes black. In other words, the sea is lost. In the daytime, you will be able to capture the clear blue ocean in your pictures.

Still, there some things to bear in mind when you have a beach wedding. First off, the sunscreen. The last thing you want is to get sunburned on your wedding day. Next up – flowers. Choose flowers that will hold the heat like orchids, calla lilies, and freesias. Don’t choose roses because they’ll wilt quickly.

17 Invest in a sound system

There’s going to be a lot of background noise at your beach wedding, what with the wind and the waves. It’s a good idea to use a microphone for the ceremony. This will allow your guests to hear you better. Don’t forget to use a windscreen cover for the microphone so that guests can hear you saying your vows and not a gust of wind muffling your words or love.

It’s all these little details that make a beach wedding sparkle. Because you are going to be outside, you need to consider the external factors. That’s why a sound system would come in handy.

16 Check if it’s going to be public or private

Do you want to share your wedding venue with hotel guests? If not, you’ll have to ask the resort if they can privatize the beach for your wedding. The last thing you want is a screaming kid, splashing around in the background.

Just because you booked a beach wedding ceremony doesn’t necessarily mean the beach is going to be all yours. That’s why it’s worth getting in touch with the hotel or resort to check. This is your special day and you don’t want any unwanted surprises. It’s always good to find out in advance if you can.

15 Ditch the Louboutins

Unless you bury a wooden walkway under the sand which enables you to walk down the aisle in heels, we recommend ditching the heels altogether. Sand and heels just don’t mix.

To avoid sinking into the sand, opt for wedges, espadrilles or flat-soled sandals. You could even go barefoot if you want to unveil that inner wild spirit. If you do that, you will still need a fabric aisle runner to keep your feet cool. Walking across the hot sand isn’t going to be comfortable, and the pictures will certainly look funny. Whatever you decide, get your dress hemmed wearing shoes or no shoes.

14 Avoid getting tan lines

This doesn’t just apply to the bride. It applies to the bridesmaids too. Tan lines are never a good look when wearing a pretty dress. The problem is, if you have a few days in the sun before tying the knot, you could end up getting them. While packing, think about what swimsuit and clothes would work best and prevent tan lines. Make sure you warn your bridesmaids too. They also want to look great for the wedding! You can also avoid them by constantly applying waterproof sunscreen. You don’t want to get sunburned for the wedding, unless you're keen on the nickname 'lobster bride'.

13 Choose the right attire for him

Black tuxedos should be left at the church altar. On the beach, the groom should stick to lighter colors and lighter fabrics. Not only will it look more fitting to your surroundings, it will also feel more comfortable to wear. Cotton and linen shirts are the best choices in terms of fabric. The suit should be a lighter color too. Tan or khaki is the best shade to choose if you are adamant about wearing a suit to the wedding. Lighter colors reflect the sunlight so they’ll keep grooms cooler. Just make sure you leave the black tuxedo at home.

12 Obtain a permit

We know you want to get married as soon as possible. However, there’s still research – and paperwork – that needs to be done. Before getting hitched, you’ll have to find out what paperwork is required to hold your ceremony on the beach. You don’t want to deal with these problems once you arrive or worse, on your wedding day.

If it is public, you will no doubt need some kind of paperwork to make it official. To prevent stress from occurring when you arrive, make sure you do plenty of research and get all of your documents in place.

11 Give guests plenty of notice

Nobody likes having a wedding sprung on them at the last moment – especially a far-flung wedding. The chance of your guests coming to the wedding is far higher if you give them plenty of notice. After all, they will need to think about budgeting, booking flights, accommodation and arranging time off work.

There is a lot to think about and so it is only fair that you give your friends and relatives enough time to think about things so they can plan their trip. Imagine how you would feel in their shoes. Wouldn’t you want a bit of notice too?

10 Create a shoe station

Guests aren’t going to be happy about spending the rest of the day with sand in their shoes. You probably won’t be either! That’s why you should consider creating a shoe station where guests can swap their shoes for sandals and wipe the sand from their feet.

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or costly. Just provide a bench, bucket of water and towels. You could also supply the flip-flops if guests haven’t brought their own, although that is unlikely. Nobody likes the sensation of sand in their shoes so it will make them feel more comfortable if you’ve planned ahead with water and towels.

9 Consider accommodations

Provide at least two options for your guests so they have a bit of choice for where they should stay. Different people have different budgets so it would be unfair for you to only provide them with the expensive, luxury options. Everybody is going to require accommodation so it’s good if you can provide them with different options for different prices. You may even be able to get a discount if your guests stay at the same hotel as you.

It’s always worth asking the hotel to see if you can get a discount for a large group. Not everyone will want to stay in the same hotel as you, but it’s worth thinking about.

8 Enlist an expert wedding planner

If you are having a small beach wedding with just a handful of guests, chances are you won’t need a wedding planner. However, the bigger the wedding the bigger the stress. If you want your whole wedding experience to go smoothly, an expert wedding planner might be just what you need. They can help you with everything and make sure the whole wedding follows its route to a tee.

Without a planner, everything is on your shoulders. The stress is on you. If you want to avoid all stress, hiring a wedding planner for expert help can make things so much easier.

7 Remember the bug spray!

It doesn’t sound glamorous, we know. But if you want yourself and your guests to feel comfortable at your wedding, you need to consider bug spray. An outdoor wedding can often mean bugs and nobody there wants to be swarmed and bitten by them. The best way to tackle this problem is by handing out a bug spray or individual bug wipes.

There are actually many options available. Consider which ones you like the most and don’t forget to bring them along for the ceremony. This is more likely to happen if you have your wedding later in the day. That’s when the bugs seem to hang around.

6 Incorporate cultural decorative items of the area

What makes a beach wedding setting particularly stunning is the culturally-fitting decor. Whatever country you are in, take parts of that culture and transform it into decorations for your wedding ceremony. If you’re getting hitched in Mexico, for instance, you could use serapes as table runners.

It looks better if you can blend the cultural elements into your wedding ceremony. So why not experiment and have fun? See what decorations come to mind. In fact, why not research the culture a little more for inspiration? It could really help when it comes to making your beach ceremony setting look divine. Just have fun and get imaginative!

5 Don’t choose a sweaty cake

What we mean by that is don’t choose a cake that is prone to melting in the heat. Although fondant might sweat under the sunlight, it is a much better choice than something like butter-cream which may turn into liquid if it gets too hot.

You can also skip the cream cheese fillings and opt for red velvet cakes instead. These won’t spoil in the heat so fast. You could always ask your baker for advice on which cake is most durable in the heat. If they don’t know, ask them how long it can sit out. If it isn’t supposed to sit out for long, that’s a clear sign to choose another one.

4 Plan for the makeup to last the day

Have you ever created the most amazing makeup look on yourself only for it to turn into raccoon-eyes by midday? We’ve all been there.

But how can we prevent that from happening on our wedding day? The best way to ensure your makeup lasts the day is to alternate textures. Don’t just use powders or all creams.

You can begin with a cream shadow and then apply the powder shadow on top. You can also start with powder bronzer and then top with cream blush. Then go over everything with translucent powder to make sure it sets. This is the secret to makeup that stays.

3 Think lighter fare

Not many people are going to want to gorge on a big steak and fries dinner during your wedding reception. Outdoor coastal wedding receptions call for lighter foods like mini Caprese pizzas and zucchini fries. Spreads and cream-based dips are other good options, but make sure you keep these out of the sun. Think about the kind of foods that aren’t going to sweat in the sun if you have your reception outside.

Hold up, don’t forget the drinks! Ensure there is plenty of water, fruit juices, and of course some nice bubbly. Light, spritzy wines fit perfectly for a beach wedding reception.

2 Choose the right style of music

When it comes to weddings, there is so much to think about. There’s the location, the dress, the hotel, and more. So it’s pretty easy to forget about other important things like wedding music. But the fact is, you must consider it unless you want it to be silent at your ceremony.

If you are getting wed on a Caribbean island, consider a reggae band. This will really give off that island vibe you’re looking for. On the other hand, you might veer more towards classical acoustic instruments or maybe even drums. There are so many styles of music to choose from. Make sure you choose what you love.

1 Make the getaway one to remember

Once you’ve had your amazing wedding and you are finally husband and wife, it’s time to make the dazzling getaway. There are lots of ways you can do this. The best way is to do something imaginative and creative, something that will be memorable. You could always use a boat as a getaway after the wedding. How romantic would that be?

At the end of the day, this is your wedding. This is your special day and it should be exactly the way you want it to be. Get creative, don’t be afraid to let your imagination get the better of you, and make the wedding of your dreams happen.