Dressing Your Best Advice!

  • Please enjoy this advice for best wedding photos possible!
  • Wear colorful clothes, or least put the groom and family in colorful clothes. The background beach colors are DULL–white, silver, beige, blue, grey and white. You need contrast.
  • Choose colorful flowers too… white or ivory or cream flowers on a same color dress makes them disappear.  Flowers are accent and small… they dont’ “take away” from anything… use brightest colors you can stand.
  • Q-Tip heads: anyone with crew cuts or shaved heads? Ask them to tan their scalps in the last month before wedding… wear no hats, use sunscreen, for no strangely “glowing” heads in your pics.
  • Chin length or longer hair: its windy on the beach! Please wear hair pinned or braided and plastered thickly OUT of your face. Short hair may stand up in a cockatoo in wind, so use HEAVY hairspray then too! But wind on beach will ALWAYS blow long hair into your eyes, you squint, you toss your head, you swipe at it over and over… all those things ruin photos.
  • Wear the formal make-up, teeth whitening (groom too), and put on the big jewelry! Wear that fanciest necklace and earrings! They will look tiny and small in a portrait….trust me… BIG helps.
  • Choose a dress style that complements YOUR body type. The standard bridal gown of strapless, sleeveless, and sweetheart neckline, looks poorly on some body types… ask a seriously honest clerk or an honest friend for an opinion, before purchasing!
  • Self-conscious about your arms (or anything else) in photos?  Get clothing which doesn’t emphasize it. Already got a dress and have this “upper arms” issue? see these lace shrugs.
  • Alter dresses to fit very well and closely at the bust too–no gaps or pinching. The wearer should NEVER never tug on her own dress. Looks clumsy and childish.
  • Your pics will look natural due to the beach background and the poses we put you in. So for best wedding photos dress up a lot…this is a wedding!  And the contrast to the casual background is very cool and pretty!
  • But please remain physically comfortable. NO painful shoes or overheated layers!
  • Neckties need a tie tack or tie bar or clip…its windy on beach.

Hair & Wind Advice

GREAT ADVICE FROM 1550+ beach weddings experience ~  Margo cannot emphasize this enough… Nothing ruins your wedding photos like hair / bangs of a bride (or the daughter or mom or a bridesmaid) flapping loose, unpinned, unsprayed in your eyes and mouth due to wind whipping because:
  • It absolutely WILL flop in your  eyes when windspeed is 9+ mph – always
  • And now you have a large, hairy “squid” covering your face in pics!
  • Frustrated, clawing, hair-flipping distracted people SCOWL in your weddng photos
  • And all the after-poses HAVE to be in the same direction, same background, no creativity, no variations and some GREAT poses are impossible… cuz loose-hair-ladies must face the wind only.Seriously… Margo’s photos totally rock… don’t cut yourself off from that!!!
TIPS TO HELP YOU:

REMEMBER, it is WHIPPING WINDY at the beach 90% of the time!  If the forecast says wind speed is above 9 mph, then fix your hair tightly which means

  • BASIC: at least wear a decorated or simple headband with hairspray
  • BETTER: use bobby pins, combs, flowers, braids, and hairspray a lot
  • BEST for DIY.:  TON of strong hairspray, plus pins, plus combs or barrettes, a tiara, flowers, plus gel/wax and lots MORE HAIRSPRAY!
  • BEST OF ALL:  hire a pro hairdresser to style it right AND who has experience with beach weddings, PLUS insist on tons of hairspray.
  • This is true for men’s hair too!  High wind means he has Alfalfa sprouts or a large “divot” gap in his head in photos. USE LOTS OF HAIRSPRAY! TONS!
And another BIG FYI:  
WEAR your biggest and SHINY JEWELRY TODAY! This is a wedding…its one time only and special…and these are your once-in-a-lifetime wedding photos. So at least borrow some pearls, or a “big” necklace, wear shinier, nicer earrings, AND put on a nice bracelet.  Strapless or sundresses:  look VERY strange and bland without showy bling at neckline. Seriously, you look washed out, blah, bland, lifeless, and bluntly…it gives a vague visual hint of not really wanting to do this or dress up for this, as if you don’t care, kinda slap-dash…SO wear your showy bling, ladies! REALLY! Even a simple string of costume pearls is great! 
Hope this helps! 💖

Easy Steps for a Beach Wedding

An NC or SC beach is an amazing place for your special day…wilderness with amazing power, grace and beauty. So how do you throw a beach wedding? What do you do first?  Do you need a permit? What about weather? What about chairs, arbor, music, minister, catering or photography? What about guests travelling? And the cost?  No worries–the cost and the to-do list for a beach wedding is the same as any other type, and even LESS! (95% of these beaches are FREE–saves you thousands on a venue!)

Easiest Way for 30+ guests: A coastal wedding planner or coordinator can create any size wedding event with all the needed service people (called “vendors”) and troubleshoot any “emergencies.” Some planners offer multiple levels of service, depending on how much, or little, assistance you want. Take recommendations for GOOD planners, we recommend a few, or see reviews on The Knot, Wedding Wire, Gay Weddings, Rainbow Network, etc.

Easiest Way for Eloping or under 25 guests: Elope with your marriage license and 2 rings, hire a minister, book a beach hotel or condo, and wed barefoot in the sand, casual or dressy!  Hire a photographer or videographer to share your private wedding during a reception party back home. Want flowers or music?  We offer custom-made florist, real flowers (ordered to your specs) AND David is a flutist, click here! We also rent our powerful, self-contained, portable PA to play any songs in your cellphone or ipod.

Want it fancier?  Book a beach house or hotel, bring wedding rings, book a restaurant or caterer, book a band, rent or bring decorations and rent chairs, invite loved-ones to stand with you as bridesmaids and groomsmen, and/or wear formal clothes.

FIRST STEPS, MAKE DECISIONS:
1. Set your budget. You can do a minimal, quick, casual beach wedding/elopement with nice photos, about $650. Or hire our minister only (with sand ceremony and many other perks!) for $300 (or $250 if your are active military/police/fire/EMS or doing a renewal).
2. Set your guest list, if any, and their needs. Such as beds, car parking, transportation to ceremony or reception, pet needs, dining, and the challenges of hot sun and soft sand for elderly or limited mobility. To be honest, the fewer the guests, the better… less stress, less expense, AND have a second celebration / reception back home too!  Consider the “politics” and social dynamics among your guests—do they distress or improve the quality of your wedding day? You can buy a photo slideshow or video record it for them if they are not invited.
3. Choose 1-3 favorite beach locations. If you are flexible on location, you might save money.
4. Choose 1-3 dates and times. If you can be flexible, you might save money.
6. Decide formal or casual dress codes.
8. Decide if you want rented chairs, arbor, and beach decorations (elderly and disabled need seats).
9. Decide if ordering food and a cake… choose family cooks, or professional catering, or book a restaurant or a combination.
10. Decide on: traditional or creative, religious or non-religious or spiritual vows and decorations.

SECOND STEPS, TAKE ACTION:
1. Book your accommodations QUICKLY! As soon as you set your date and location. These fill up very fast at the beach so do NOT delay on this step. Do this FIRST!!!
2. Book an officiant (fyi–judges are legally prohibited from leaving the courthouse to perform weddings). If you want a non-religious ceremony, just say so… we are fine with that. Some other ministers are too.
3. Next, book photographers, videographers, musicians and caterers/restaurants. Ask questions and communicate clearly with them.
4. Contact food services, rental businesses, beauty salons, florists and transportation companies.
5. Meanwhile, send out invitations, get your wedding clothes, rings, license, decorations, and beach vacation supplies.
6. (Renewals:  skip #6 & 7, no license needed) Within 60 days of your wedding date, get your marriage license at the NC Register of Deeds or SC Probate Office (license must match location of ceremony, NOT your home state). Call that office beforehand to confirm which IDs to bring along.

OTHER IMPORTANT INFO:

  • Most NC & SC beaches are public property so you may marry almost anywhere.
  • Weather over this geographical area is remarkably stable and predictable, Sunny 85% of the time and infrequent rain showers pass over within 5-15 minutes. Hurricanes are scarce, normally short-lived, and can be predicted. Midday extreme heat is biggest issue…CLICK HERE for that advice. Climate change is very real here.
  • Beach Permits: Wrightsville Beach, Fort Fisher and Myrtle Beach State Park require one for different fees, but the 70+ others we serve, do not. Oak Island has a free, optional one thats intended for large wedding parties with several cars attending.
  • City of Myrtle Beach restricts most beach weddings, please click HERE for that info. Weddings on patios or lawns overlooking the beach are private property and not included in city restrictions.
  • North Myrtle Beach is a separate city from Myrtle Beach. NMB (aka Cherry Grove) welcomes and allows beach weddings for free.
  • Most ceremonies last 7 – 15 minutes and the whole event may take about 1 hour, depending on wording, photo time, parking issues, stragglers, wardrobe hiccups, weather delays, etc.
  • Guests would travel to your hometown for a home wedding, so they can just as easily travel to the shore and this doubles as a vacation!
  • For best results follow the instructions your hired vendors give you. Don’t ignore it…we know what we are saying and we can tell you nice alternatives too.  Ask questions; ask for advice! Communicating clearly and openly helps. Now go have fun!

Rain, Weather & Summer Heat

Weather is our specialty!  Good news–Less than 1% of our 1,500+ beach weddings were altered due to Rain! Besides being “charmed” 😉 here’s why:

For the coastline area between Wilmington NC and Myrtle Beach SC, the weather is relatively stable and dry. Rainfall is very brief, real storms are few, and sunshine is plentiful. Why?  The geography affects the atmosphere and weather pattern:  the North Carolina coastline curves inward as it becomes South Carolina. See red circle on this map, at right.

That inward curve creates a weak eddy (“whirlpool”) in the atmosphere overhead, and that eddy sweeps rainstorms inland or out to sea!  Often, it storms in Wilmington NC or in Myrtle Beach SC, but remains clear and sunny skies inside that red circle.  Thus national forecasts for the beach here, are always very wrong.  So we recommend you avoid the “r” word, disallow joking and worrying about it, and think only “clear, calm weather” instead. Don’t manifest the “r”.  Think about clear, calm, dry light breezes and perfect weather!

Friend, it DOES get wet here sometimes…in 5-20 minute scattered showers. It may not come down at all where your ceremony is, but sprinkling on the next block! So if it sprinkles on you, just wait a few minutes… it will leave soon:

  • Want to accurately track those scattered showers in real time?  Download the free cellphone apps “Raindar” and “AccuWeather” and “My Radar” that we use.
  • Also if THESE forecasters says 30% chance or less of precipitation, then no worries. If its 50% or less, you MIGHT wait a few minutes if it comes to your neighborhood.

HIGH HEAT ISSUES & TIME OF CEREMONY! *********

  • May, June, July and August mid-days are VERY HOT (heat index of 100+ degrees–seriously! Its scorching hot!! Climate change is real here), so its humid, sweaty/sticky, searing bright sun (want no-sunglasses during ceremony?), and crowded-with-noisy-tourists on the beach between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm EVERY day – so avoid then!
  • A beach breeze will not help at 100 degrees in direct sun!
  • Painful sunburns happen within a 1-5 minutes between 10-2 pm for fair skinned.  Use sunblock especially on kids.
  • You can hope for overcast skies, but its rare and temporary, plus the humidity and crowds will stay.
  • The best time for weddings is sunrise time (about 6-6:30 am) or the last hour before sunset (about 7-7:30 pm).We have done over 1,500 weddings here–we have seen midday weddings suffer from burning heat, wilted & fallen expensive hairdos and sweat blotchy clothes, crying burned kids, burned feet, crowds, and blinding sun.Go early or late instead of midday. Seriously.

 

Myrtle Beach Prohibits Most Beach Weddings

The laws of the City of Myrtle Beach, SC prohibit commercial beach weddings within city limits — see details here online (scroll down on link): www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/faq.html. They offer 1 exception–its allowed above the high tide line at a few older oceanfront hotels that were “grandfathered” in (such as The Sea Mist Resort).

However, non-commercial weddings ARE allowed everywhere there. What’s the difference?

  • “Commercial” is when you pay ANY people to do their work ON the beach (such as minister, musician, photographer, etc).
  • “Non-commercial” is when ALL your services and people are 100% volunteers, no payments made.

BUT GOOD NEWS:

  • these laws do NOT apply to ceremonies being held on the lawns, patios, gardens and pools of oceanfront hotels/resorts OVERLOOKING the ocean…that is private property.
  • Also, some oceanfront hotels have a “Myrtle Beach SC” address online, but actually sit OUTSIDE official city limits–so you can do your ceremony there! For example, it is allowed on the beach inside the Myrtle Beach State Park because its outside MB city limits.
  • Southern city limit line – the Springmaid Pier itself is the city-limit line (right side of that pier allows beach weddings; left side is no).
  • Northern city limit line -Starts at The Dunes Beach Club (about around the start of Shore Drive).

We strongly suggest using other nearby great locations at North Myrtle Beach or the State Park, or in Surfside…beautiful, nearby, neighboring beaches that allow all weddings and no permits needed!