It appears that everyone loves the idea of having a beach wedding – and that beautiful Cornwall is the number 1 choice in the UK. Beautiful beaches, gorgeous weather (most of the time!) and plenty of spaces to say ‘I do’ in the countryside.
We interview a very special Cornish Celebrant, Fiona Solomon and she gives up her top tips to planning a wedding in Cornwall.
So Fiona, what is the first thing to do if you are planning a beach wedding in Cornwall?
As I am lucky enough to live in Cornwall, on the North Coast, I can understand why you might want to marry by the ocean.
However, having delivered loads of ceremonies on beaches, I also understand the key things you need to consider when planning your beach wedding in Cornwall. You can choose from beautiful little coves or harbours like Port Isaac, Port Gaverne or New Polzeath.
Perhaps you would prefer a wide sandy beach like Polzeath or Perranporth? The choice is fantastic, but it is essential that you consider these key issues to ensure a day to remember for all the right reasons.
The Weather/ Plan “B”
The weather is obviously your key consideration. What if it rains or is a really windy day?
Do you have somewhere under cover to go that will accommodate you – and all of your guests?
Consider the time of year–what will the temperature be like? Will you and your guests be freezing? There is nothing more miserable than a wet cold and bedraggled wedding party, who are blue with the cold.
And remember, mother nature may let you down and deny you a sunny day even in July or August. Although we are all waterproof, you need to plan a backup option under cover.
At a recent wedding on Perranporth Beach, the weather was very temperamental, but the sun did pop out for the ceremony and it was magical. However, we did hike up the beach to set up the ceremony in front of a cave that we could move to if necessary. I also delivered an Elopement ceremony for a couple at Treyarnon Beach. This was perfect, as they were lucky enough to be staying in a little cottage overlooking the beach which we were able to use for the ceremony before they moved out to the decking area and the beach when the sun came out for photographs.
Top Tip–always have some large golf umbrellas!
Parking at Cornwall beaches can be a nightmare, particularly at weekends and in summer or holiday periods. Is there sufficient parking available or nearby? Do you need guests to car share? Do you need to consider booking taxis or a mini bus? Do you have elderly guests, and how far can they walk? Traffic wardens are about–and they can really ruin your day!
A couple of things to consider here: is your dress full or does it have a long train? You have no idea how much sand can be caught up in the skirt as you walk across a beach.
Your dress can become really heavy if the sand is wet from rain or the tide. Beware a strapless dress! Do you have a wrap or snug or coat of some sort? Plan to have something warm and beautiful that looks good with your dress, rather than cover a beautiful dress with an old raincoat.
This seems rather obvious but,… even if you carry your shoes and plan to put them on for the ceremony–it is impossible to stand on sand in heels. I have seen brides sinking before my eyes during the ceremony. Sparkly flip flops or new Converse are the best bet – and don’t forget to think of your guests too–possibly a basket of flip flops at point of arrival. It just makes sense–and think of how much you could save!
Another key consideration. That cave to shelter in may not be a good idea if there will be ahigh tide. Go online and check the tide times for your beach. This was a key consideration for a recent small family beach wedding. We were able to amend the start time slightly to ensure everyone’s safety. As a celebrant, who is committed to you for the day, I am able to flex timings to suit you.
Be aware that a Registrar would not be able to do this due to further bookings on the same day.
Unless you hire a private beach, there will often be members of the public about. Remember this is their beach too. A wedding on a beach is a wonderful sight to see and often people will watch from a distance or cheer you on when you are floating across the beach in your amazing dress. Do remember though, that beaches can get very busy in summer, so consider the beach you choose and check out where you want the ceremony to be. Also check out your date to avoid any key activities or festivals that you may wish to avoid.
Is it legal to have a wedding on the beach in Cornwall?
Currently, you cannot have a full legal service on most beaches in the UK, there are a few exceptions, however if you are going to plan an amazing beach wedding – book a celebrant to ensure you also have an amazing ceremony that is intimate and written just for you.
Simply book an appointment with the Registrar on any day of the week with two witnesses to complete the legal paperwork–and then enjoy your celebration!
If you follow the key tips above, you can relax, feeling confident that you have considered everything in your planning. And never doubt–your dreams can come true!
Would you like to have a chat about your ceremony plans?