Perth Beach Weddings: To Be or Not to Be?
Having a beach wedding in Perth looks like the ultimate dream right? I mean who doesn’t love the water, the ocean, the sand between your toes….? I can see the appeal of a beach wedding, especially if it holds a meaningful place in your heart, (as it does for mine), but before you get excited, there’s a few things to consider when planning to have your vowels on the beach:
1. Sand, wind, rain, heat, tides, tourists… What could go wrong?
With the world’s climate constantly changing it can be difficult to predict the weather for your wedding day, (even the weather man get’s it wrong sometimes). If you are lucky enough to be blessed with perfect conditions, ie it’s not too hot and not too cold, then at the very least you will be navigating the tricky-ness of sand and the general public. You will also need to think about manoeuvring any hire items such as chair’s, an arbour, your flowers and signing table. Then you will need consider your guests and how they will make their way onto the beach. It can be difficult for any elderly guests and anyone that has special mobility needs.
2. Positioning yourself according to the Sun
To avoid images of the two of you squinting because due to the sun being in your eyes, you will need to work out where to stand. Bring your photographer along for a location scout, to help you figure out where you and your guests should be positioned, so that you’re ideally not facing into the sun and squinting to look at each other. On the upside, if it happens to be overcast you’re in luck! You will have less to worry about in terms of lighting, as the clouds will create beautiful, soft, even lighting.
3. Flash photography and exposing for the ocean behind you
The reason many people want to have their wedding on the beach, is because they want the background of the water. However, if you’re planning your ceremony for the middle of the day or the early afternoon and it happens to be bright blue, sunny skies, then your photographer will need to expose for your photographs in a way that your faces can be seen. In other words if the sun and ocean are behind you, the photographer will need to adjust their camera settings, so that your faces are brighter than the background. This means that the background may appear washed out and the ocean may disappear in the photographs entirely, defeating the purpose of getting married on the water.
Therefore, if you do want to see your faces and the ocean exposed in the photograph, it means that your photographer will need to use flash photography to expose for both. This is something that we personally do our best to avoid during a ceremony if we can. We believe weddings are an intimate celebration and we want to cause as little fuss or distraction as possible. We would rather not use our flashes and not be in your guests way. It’s important to us that you and your guests can be present with you and can enjoy themselves.
4. Choose an earlier or later time for your ceremony
If you really, really want your ceremony on the beach, consider opting for an earlier or later time slot such as sunrise or sunset.
Perth is notorious for being a windy city and I find that the morning is usually less windy than the afternoon, (particularly during spring/summer). Fingers crossed your wedding will be less windy!
Nevertheless an earlier or later time for your ceremony will mean that the the lighting will be softer on your faces, creating less harsh shadows. It means you’ll be able to see each other without having to squint due to the sun.
4. Think about the impact of sound on your guests
If it happens to be really windy on the beach make sure you have a PA sound system set up, otherwise your guests won’t be able to hear what is being said during the ceremony. I photographed a wedding a few years ago on Swanbourne beach where it was windy AND sunny, and unfortunately no one could hear what was happening throughout the entire ceremony. It just makes it hard for your guests to be present and feel part of the celebration… 🙁
5. Have a Plan B for extreme weather
If it is looking like extreme weather is predicted for your wedding date, have a back up plan to host your ceremony location somewhere out of the natural elements. If you’ve ever sat on the beach when it’s been really windy, you know how much the sand hurts when it whips you on the back of the legs. Not to mention, sand can cause major damage to a photographer’s cameras, making if very difficult to take photographs. Therefore it’s in yours and your photographers’ best interests, to make sure that camera gear is look after and protected. If it is SUPER windy, we will generally advise against heading on to the sand, to avoid tiny granules of sand destroying our camera equipment. And you also don’t want to make Great Aunt Beryl collapse from trying to get on to the beach and having to navigate extreme or intense weather.
We will help you look for the closest alternative, such as higher ground with the ocean still in the background, or somewhere that is protected by a wind break.
6. Opt to have your Bridal Portraits on the beach, instead of the full Ceremony
You can still get that beach/coastal feel by choosing to have your bridal portraits on the beach after your ceremony, instead of the ceremony itself. Given that it’s good weather, if you bring your bridal party along, it can be really fun and a lot less stressful trying to get all your guests on to the beach. Just remember you’ll need to take your shoes off, otherwise you’ll ruin your wedding shoes. Make sure you remember to bring spare shoes, as well as water and towels to wash your feet afterwards, you’ll feel way more comfortable on the way back to the reception.
7. Choose a spot on the coast line protected from the wind
There are a number of spots, especially along West Coast Highway, where you can hang out behind the natural rock line and be protected from the wind. North Beach is a coastal location that is protected from the wind. Even if it’s windy, there are some protected areas along this part of the coast line that are great for photographs. You will still experience the beauty of hanging out by the ocean and be protected from the wind. It’s a really beautiful spot for photographs, especially at sunset set.
8. Have your Adventure Session on the beach
If the ocean is really important to you consider having an Adventure Session on the beach. An Adventure Session before the wedding means you two get to hang out, muck around, splash in the water and get dirty without worrying about ruining your wedding outfits. It can be a fun and romantic occasion and serves as a practise run for the wedding day. And you get some great photographs too.
If you’ve got any other tips or tricks for the beach, comment below 🙂 xxxx