How to Plan the Ultimate Bermuda Beach Wedding
A beach wedding in Bermuda is a dream residing in the hearts and minds of brides-to-be both on-island and abroad, but how easy is it to pull off? We consulted Bermuda’s top wedding experts on what it takes to plan a perfect Bermuda beach wedding, including the differences between a private and public location and advice from wedding planner, Katie Trimingham.
Q&A WITH WEDDING PLANNER, KATIE TRIMINGHAM OF ALL THE TRIMMINGS
- With the heat and humidity associated with Bermuda’s climate, wearing a heavy wedding dress may not be the best option for a beach wedding. What is the appropriate beach wedding attire for bride, groom and wedding attendants?
Brides should consider a looser dress, something light and flowing that does not cling to the body. Avoid heavy fabrics, such as lace or a fully beaded bodice that will weigh the dress down. For the groom and his merry men, there is nothing wrong with showing some skin in a good old-fashioned pair of Bermuda shorts. If the groom insists on wearing long pants then linen or cotton is the way to go.
My advice to wedding guests is to wear something lightweight and bright. Beach weddings tend to be less formal, so guests shouldn’t be afraid to bring out the sundresses and shorts. Take advantage of your natural surroundings and wear bright colours like aquamarine, blue, turquoise, and, terra cotta, fuchsia, lime green, pink or tangerine. These colours in a pattern or print such as polka dots, stripes, or bold floral prints are all unique but appropriate options.
- Should brides consider wearing a veil at a beach wedding?
To quote Randy Fenoli: “Without a veil, you’re just a pretty girl in a white dress.” As much as I love a flower crown, there’s just something left to be desired when a bride forgoes her veil, especially when she’s coming down the aisle. The good news is that brides can purchase fabulous little gem weights that clip onto the end of the veil to weigh it down so that the wind doesn’t blow it all over the place. To avoid overheating, brides should consider a lightweight, mid-length veil.
- How should a bride and her bridesmaids style their hair for the wedding?
Wind, humidity, and sweat can cause bridal-hair mayhem. Long, beautiful, beach waves could fall flat before a bride even makes it down the aisle. Instead, consider a loose wavy updo, or opt for a long style but have it pulled back off the face. Side swept and softly pinned always makes for a stunning style.
- Obviously, high heels aren’t practical for a beach wedding but are there alternatives that are more sophisticated than flip-flops?
With most gowns you can’t see your feet anyway so I say lose the shoes completely and bury your toes in the sand! For those in a shorter gown or those who don’t like bare feet, grab some soleless sandals. For those who insist on heels, skip the stiletto and go with a thick wedge to avoid sinking in the sand.
- When considering décor for a beach ceremony and reception, what can you suggest to include and avoid?
When most people think of beach-themed wedding centrepieces, they envision sand, seashells, starfish and sea glass. Whilst these are fabulous items, they’re not the only way to capture the essence of the scenery. Beautiful floral centrepieces accented delicately with shells are a great way to enhance the beauty of the location, without going over the top.
- What rules and regulations must be followed in order to have a beach wedding?
In order to have a wedding on a public beach, you must first obtain a park permit. The terms and conditions include the following:
- Permits are issued on a first come, first served basis. A specific area within a beach or park may not be reserved except by permission of the parks officer prior to the date of the function (such as a wedding or similar large event).
- Permits expire at midnight on the day for which they are approved.
- The removal of litter produced at the event is the responsibility of the permit holder. All refuse must be disposed of in a proper manner.
- All barbequing must be done with proper metal barbeque equipment. Coals and ashes must be extinguished and properly disposed of. (Please do not bury hot coals in the sand or throw them in the ocean.)
- All campfires/bonfires must be in or on a metal surface. Under no circumstances should open fires be built directly on the sand.
- Music must be played at a reasonable volume, so as not to disturb other visitors to the park or beaches and/or the tranquility of the site.
- No generators are to be used and no live bands are permitted.
- Alcohol may not be sold.
- For a wedding on a private beach, you will need permission from the venue or the owner and each venue will have its own set of regulations.
- If a couple is getting married on a public beach, what are the best ways to avoid the public and gain as much privacy as possible?
Public beaches are most crowded on holiday weekends, so avoid them unless you want the general public in attendance. On any given day, though, at any public beach, it’s hard to avoid onlookers as people are simply fascinated when they see a wedding taking place. When scouting for a beach location, be sure to choose a semi-private spot, such as behind a cliff. While it’s impossible to ensure complete privacy most onlookers are respectful and likely won’t be hanging around for the entire event. If it is imperative that you have complete privacy, then a public beach is not the spot for you.
- Considering weather, what are the best months of the year for a beach wedding? What are the best times of the day?
June is my favourite beach wedding month. It is lovely and warm but not too hot and humid as it is in July and August. Aim for a late afternoon or early evening ceremony to avoid the direct heat. After 5:00 p.m., you’ll find it starts to cool down.
- What are the best ways to provide shade to guests?
My personal favourite is paper parasols that guests can collect on their way to their seats for the start of the ceremony. They come in a multitude of colours and are inexpensive. They are the perfect way for guests to get a little shade during a hot summer day, but they’re not so big that they block everyone’s view of the wedding.
- Obviously, transporting large quantities of furniture to the beach is not ideal; however, tables and chairs are a necessity for any function. What is the best kind of furniture to use and where can one rent it?
For a beach ceremony, I would recommend a white folding chair simply to avoid sinking, as they do not have spindle legs. Mark Bell from Undercover Tents is the person to contact for these; however, many hotels and private clubs that offer their private beach as a location for a wedding do have their own inventory.
- What are the best ways to prepare for the wind at a beach wedding?
Unfortunately with any outdoor event, wind is inevitable. Always prepare for wind because anything that can blow away will. If you’re using ceremony programmes, weigh them down with a shell or tie them to the chairs with a ribbon. If you’re planning on lining the aisle with petals, be sure to have the florist sprinkle these at the last possible moment just before the guests arrive.
- What audio equipment should one rent to ensure that guests can hear vows, speeches and readings effectively?
A simple lavalier microphone and a small speaker should suffice. No need to ruin the ambiance with a giant sound system and speakers surrounding your guests. You are outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature. Let the gentle breeze carry your vows for everyone to hear.
- Of course, if it rains, a beach wedding needs to be moved indoors or covered. What are your suggestions for a beach wedding back-up plan?
Finding a covered location that is close to the ocean and has incredible views is certainly not hard in Bermuda. There are many venues that are literally right on the beach, too. When scouting for locations be sure to consider booking a venue that has a suitable back-up space that will still give you the feeling that you are having a beach wedding. Alternatively there is always the option to tent your beach wedding.
- What are the best ways to ensure that guests have access to restrooms at a beach wedding?
The good news is that most public beaches have restrooms, and of course, any private venue will have toilet facilities. This is definitely something you want to consider when scouting locations though, especially if you are having a beach reception as opposed to just a ceremony.
- What are some of the most common mistakes couples make when planning a beach wedding?
- Not providing shade or fans for guests
- Not providing water for guests
- Planning a long ceremony on a hot summer day
- Not providing seating for guests
- Not having a weather-contingent location
- Not wearing appropriate attire for the climate
- Considering the weather and the elements, are there certain flowers to avoid completely for centrepieces, décor and bouquets?
No, you can use any kind of flower you like; it just depends on what you plan to use it for. For instance, fresh cut stems not placed in water and left in the sun for any length of time are going to wilt quickly. However, floral pieces, such as the bridal bouquet, that can be placed in water at certain times for a refresh won’t wither and will last longer. Centrepieces aren’t of so much concern since they’re already in water.
- Do you have to have a beach/nautical theme when having a beach wedding?
Absolutely not! Go for a bright floral theme to create a vivid contrast to the turquoise ocean, or for a softer and more romantic feel stick with whites, blushes, pinks and corals to compliment Bermuda’s perfectly pink sand.
- What food works best for a beach wedding?
Whether plated or buffet, having BBQ is definitely the way to go. It keeps with the laid- back beach vibe and it’s so much fun. You definitely want to make sure you have food that is easy to keep cool on ice or warm with a sterno so that it stays fresh.
- Which Bermuda vendors are best/most experienced at putting together beach weddings?
Demco Florist and Class Act Designs. These ladies and gents can do it with their eyes closed.
- What are some of the best private beaches at which to get married?
- The Mid Ocean Club
- Rosewood Tucker’s Point
- Coral Beach and Tennis Club
- Grotto Bay Beach Resort
- Cambridge Beaches Resort and Spa
- The Reefs
- Elbow Beach
- What are some of the best public beaches at which to get married?
- Jobson’s Cove
- Warwick Long Bay
- Hog Bay
- St. Catherine’s Beach
- Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve
- Whale Bay
- What are some of the best ways to make a cake last through a beach wedding?
For a beach wedding, or any outdoor wedding for that matter, you should stay away from whipped cream, meringue, and butter-cream because they melt. A fondant cake is the best option; however, in a climate as humid as ours it’s inevitable that the cake is going to “sweat.” Always allocate a shady spot for the cake table, preferably under some sort of cover and have the caterers bring the cake out at the last possible second to help preserve its appearance.
- How do you light a beach reception taking place where there is no artificial lighting already in place?
Good old tiki torches and lots of candles! The tikis are also great for keeping pesty flies away, too.
- What are some of the most accessible beaches at which to get married (bearing in mind those who are disabled or have trouble with lots of stairs)?
- John Smith’s Bay
- St. Catherine’s Beach
- Horseshoe Bay
- Warwick Long Bay
Katie Trimingham is the founder of All the Trimmings, a wedding and events planning company, which was launched in 2013 as a product of Trimingham’s love for parties and events. “I want to provide exceptional services to all of my clients and make their special day as unique and memorable as possible.”
All the Trimmings
PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE
Department of Parks
169 South Road, Paget, DV 04
P.O. Box HM 20, Hamilton HM AX
West Whale Bay
Warwick Long Bay
Bookings can be made by obtaining a special permit from the Department of Parks. The wedding fee is $25.
Rosewood Tucker’s Point
Mid Ocean Club
Coral Beach Club
Elbow Beach Hotel
Fairmont Southampton Resort
Pompano Beach Club
Advantages of Getting Married at a Private Beach
- Can be cost-effective if you’re having a big wedding with lots of details, as many things can be provided on-site.
- Private clubs and hotels usually work from a preferred list of vendors, making selection easy for you.
- Teams of people are already on-site, ready to set up and break down your wedding.
- Private; you don’t risk dealing with the public.
- No need to supply generators; electricity is provided by the venue.
- Weather-contingent space is readily available on-site.
Advantages of Getting Married at a Public Beach
- Can be cost-effective if you’re having a small wedding without too many details. Public beaches can be rented for just $25 through Bermuda’s Department of Parks.
- Can select your own vendors rather than having to choose from a list of approved vendors provided by a hotel or private club.
- Can customise the venue, creating your own dress code and décor.
A chuppah is a canopy beneath which Jewish marriage ceremonies are performed. However, you don’t have to be Jewish in order to say “I do” underneath your own wedding chuppah.
The simplest form of chuppah is one that is constructed of four poles, with a canopy of light fabric draped across the top. The more elaborate chuppahs are adorned in flowers, crystals and chandeliers and can be big enough to fit several people underneath.
The perfect beach wedding chuppah is simple, ethereal and complimented by only a few flowers strategically placed. Drape your chuppah in soft white fabric, which will give a warm, romantic feeling to your wedding ceremony. Add a few blooms in the colour of your choice (coordinating with your colour scheme). Be careful not to go overboard when decorating your chuppah; allow the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean to take centre stage.
BEACH WEDDING SANDAL
A beach wedding includes sand, and lots of it, which doesn’t bode well for brides wishing to wear high heels down the aisle. Instead, ditch the heels and opt for beach sandals.
Jack Rogers. Available at Lusso, 51 Front Street, Hamilton, 441-295-6734.
Alexandra Mosher Fera Collection Barefoot Jewellery Sandals. Available at Alexandra Mosher Studio Jewellery, Washington Mall West, Lower Level, 7 Reid Street, Hamilton, 441-236-9009, http://www.alexandramosher.com.
BEACH WEDDING MENU
- Grilled Caprese skewers (mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes, skewered, grilled and drizzled in balsamic glaze)
- Shrimp cocktail (individual portions of chilled prawn shrimp with cocktail sauce for dipping)
- Seafood bar (mussels, oysters, calamari, scallops)
- Sushi bar
- Lobster bisque
- Fresh Bermuda fish
- Fish and chips
- Seafood pasta
- Bermuda lobster (not available year-round)
- Grilled pineapple
- Bermuda sherbet
DIY BEACH WEDDING BOUTONNIERE
What you will need:
- Clippings from Bermuda cedar tree or plant of your choosing
- Replica of a starfish, available from home décor stores and local gift shops
- Hot glue
- Group plant clippings, holding stems tightly together.
- Attach starfish replica to front with hot glue.
- Wrap ribbon around stems of the clippings a few times, including one leg of the starfish. Trim excess ribbon and fasten with hot glue.
SEA GLASS CANDY RECIPE
Yields roughly three-quarters of a pound of candy
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
6 tbsps water
1 tsp flavouring oil (depending on how strong you like the flavour)
Non-stick cooking spray
Powdered sugar for dusting
Lightly spray a small metal pan with non-stick spray.
Combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in the non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. When it begins to simmer, attach a candy thermometer to the edge of the saucepan.
When the mixture reaches 250°F, add food colouring. Don’t stir; the bubbling action will distribute the colour for you. Once the thermometer reads 300°F, add flavouring and stir. Immediately pour the bubbling mixture into prepared pan and let cool.
When fully cooled, cover with a piece of parchment paper and hit with a mallet.
Collect the pieces of candy and brush with powdered sugar. To store the candy, place in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.
BERMUDA SAND CEREMONY
A sand ceremony involves a symbolic blending of two differently coloured sands into a single vessel. The meaning is clear: the blending of two different beings, the bride and the groom, into a single, inseparable unit that is their marriage, the joining of their lives. As hard as it would be to separate those grains of sand, that’s how difficult it is to separate these two people. The sand ceremony usually takes place after the exchange of rings and the vows (although it can take place before or even during the vows), and lasts just a couple of minutes.
A basic sand ceremony involves three (typically glass) vessels—one holding the bride’s sand, one holding the groom’s sand, and an empty one that will soon hold both— all sitting on a small table or stand. It goes something like this:
- The officiate explains the meaning of the ceremony and how it relates to the two people getting married.
- The officiate invites the groom to pour a bit of his sand (let’s call it blue sand) into the empty vessel.
- The officiate invites the bride to do the same with her sand (let’s say it’s pink).
- The bride and groom then pour their sands at the same time, in a single stream, into the vessel.
- The officiate closes the ceremony with some words about the inextricable joining of their lives.
The end result is a glass container holding one layer of blue sand (the groom), one layer of pink sand (the bride), and a top layer of purple sand, showing how the joining of the two has created a new, equally beautiful entity.
Make the sand ceremony special to your wedding by incorporating sands from favourite beaches around the island, by inviting each member of the wedding party to add sand to the container to commemorate the special place they hold in your new life together, or by coordinating the sand colours to the wedding colour scheme.