One advantage of a beach wedding is using the natural surroundings to keep your costs down. Getting married on the beach costs very little since the natural scenery can serve as your decoration, the location itself is typically free, and the beach creates an automatic romantic ambiance. Beach weddings are usually intimate, casual affairs that require little money to pull off.
Narrow your guest list to the people who are most important to you and your fiance to keep costs down, as you won't have to rent chairs for or feed people you hardly know. Avoid inviting people because you feel like you have to. Instead, invite the people who must be there, and those who you really would like to be there. Leave everyone else off of your guest list, such as your mom's high school friends or third cousins you've never met.
Opt for a casual beach ceremony and reception where your guests sit on beach blankets. This creates an intimate, no-fuss mood. Or, use beach chairs and umbrellas. To keep costs down, borrow the items from as many people as you can if you don't already have enough. If you want a formal beach wedding, rent tables and chairs from a vendor close to the beach. Use inexpensive table cloths or plain white linens.
Beach weddings don't need much in the way of decorations. Fill beach pails with sand, plastic beach toys or seashells to create an aisle for the bride to walk down. Use large stones or shells to create a heart shape in the sand where you can stand to exchange your vows. Casual weddings can include beach pails with sand, sunscreen, lip balm and water. These pails are functional—they can serve as favors—and decorative if you tie colorful ribbon around the items or use personal labels. Put the pails in the center of tables or next to each beach blanket. Fill large glass vases or fishbowls with sand and shells to serve as centerpieces on tables. Add candles for a soft, romantic vibe. Fill containers or platters with freshly cut fruit on decorative toothpicks as centerpieces and snacks. Set up the favors or edible treats as your centerpieces so the items do double duty, saving you money.
Keep the food and beverages simple to save on money and hassle. A casual beach barbecue would work well with a beach blanket wedding. A complete luau with a roasted pig would work for tropical themed beach weddings. Seafood, catered by a local restaurant, might be ideal for your beach wedding. Serve a small variety of soft drinks, juice and water in a large ice chest (made to look like a treasure chest for a pirate-themed wedding) or an old row boat filled with ice. Add a couple of different types of beers, a frozen drink or two and wine coolers if you're serving alcohol, without adding to your costs for a bartender. Serve cupcakes or smaller single-layer cakes instead of a traditional multiple-tiered cake. The goodies can actually serve as centerpieces, as well.
Give your guests simple favors that double as table decorations. Cookies can be made to look like starfish and sand dollars. Spread them out on a mixture of white and brown sugar to look like sand. Collect seashells to add to small bottles of sand to act as keepsakes.
Plan a destination beach wedding if you don't live near a beach, or simply to get away from home. This allows you to keep your guest list to a bare minimum, which will save money. Opt for a simple ceremony on the beach where guests can stand, which will save money on chairs. Take your guests to a restaurant for dinner, rather than having a full-blown reception.