Whether it’s your own child(ren) or those of your friends/family, don’t overlook the importance of planning for kids on your beach wedding day. You’ll want your flower girl, ring bearer or other cute little guests remembered for all the right reasons. Not because they were crying, throwing sand, or partaking in other beach mayhem! So we have some tricks to help your wedding day run smoother than a baby’s bottom. 😉 Oh, and the kids will surely have a great time too with these kid-friendly beach wedding tips, including fun places to visit after the special day.
How To Plan For a Kid Friendly Beach Wedding
We have broken up these kid friendly tips into 3 categories: pre-ceremony, during, and post wedding. Most often moms and dads bring their own bag of tricks for use during the wedding. But what about when it’s time to take photos after the wedding? Or those last few antsy minutes before the ceremony starts? Well, here goes:
The key here is don’t use up all your tricks before the bride walks down the aisle. You are getting ready for a ceremony with a restless, bouncy kid, who naturally will want to frolic and play on the beach. To deal with that pre-wedding energy:
- Go for a Walk – Ask the officiant or photographer approximately how long until the ceremony starts. Go for a walk/run in the sand to burn off some inherent kid energy. Stay within viewing distance of the ceremony site and be prepared to get back to your seats within a minute or two. If the child is in the wedding, it’s not advised to wander off on a walk. However, a run around in the nearby sand or some energy-burning movement is encouraged. The minutes leading up to the ceremony is a great time for a game of “I spy” or “Simon Says.”
- Snack Time – A healthy(ish) snack before the wedding is a great way to keep kids happy. Don’t choose something that’s going to stain, spill, or cause a mess. Goldfish, pretzels, apple slices, raisins, and Cheerios all make for the perfect nibble pre-wedding.
- Pep Talk – Talk to kids so they know what to expect once the wedding begins. Kids are more likely to behave when they have a clear set of expectations and timeline. Let them know they are expected to be quiet, stay seated, and there is nothing wrong with a little incentive (incentive = politically corrected word for a bribe). The promise of a lollipop or bubbles post ceremony can be a great motivator. Now, kids under 2 may not understand the idea of waiting for a reward or understand the rules laid out, so more on that. But kids around 3 and up will totally understand. Kids in the wedding ceremony should have a clear understanding of what they will be during and where to walk/stand/sit during the wedding. Don’t assume anything here!
Things to Do During the Wedding
It is NOT the bride or groom’s responsibility to be managing ANY childcare DURING the ceremony (biological kids or otherwise). This is YOUR wedding day. Holding a crying baby while exchanging vows is unromantic, impersonal, and quite frankly, unfair to your spouse. So plan for someone to be the “emergency” helper (preferably non-wedding party member). There will be plenty of time afterwards to include your child in your special day including wedding photos.
Now there are a few different ideas here and the strategies for keeping kids quiet and content during the ceremony differs with t;heir age.
- Babies (non crawlers or walkers)- The biggest task here is keeping baby happy. This means the caretaker will need to be in a position to stand, sit, bounce, or walk away with minimal distraction. Preferably the back row(s) on an end. Bottles, cereal puffs, pre-chopped food, quiet toys, pacifiers should be on hand, at all times! DO NOT keep a miserable crying baby at the ceremony site- take a hike (literally, down the beach) Happy baby = Happy bride! 🙂
- Crawlers/Toddlers– Same goes for above. A clean, quiet snack (no crinkly wrappers or crunchy bites) or noise free toys are a great way to keep the little ones content and quiet. Even a shovel and bucket is a great toy to have on hand for easy entertainment. DO NOT expect a young toddler to sit for the entirety of the ceremony. So whatever keeps that little one happy, bring it, pack it, use it! Expect the best, prepare for the worst.
- Young kids– Kids ages 4 and up should be able to sit through the ceremony (averaging 10-15 minute) without a hitch. A coloring book or sticker book and paper pad are easy, quiet kid tools to bring along though just in case.
- NO TECHNOLOGY– Avoid iPads, iPhones, Leap Pads, and all other screens during a wedding. Unexpected alerts and sound effects can be very distracting. And, even if silenced, are just a distraction to other guests. Not to mention the whole sand/water mess factor.
After the Wedding
Whew! You did it, you made it through your vows. No criers, no screamers, no bored kids. You and your kid(s) deserve a pat on the back!
- Reward good behavior– Bubbles, lollipops, a kite. Find something fun for the little ones. They just sat through a (un-exciting from a kid perspective) event and now it’s time to do what kids do best. PLAY!
- Photo-ready. There will probably be a few wedding photographs with the kids so, again, remind the kids of the expectations. Smile nicely, listen to the photographer, and it will likely be quick and painless! They will delight in these pictures when they grow up and look back at your special day.
- You did it! That’s about it. Run in the sand and celebrate the day!
Family Friendly Things To Do in Clearwater Beach
In the days before and after the ceremony, there are plenty of entertaining activities for children in the Clearwater/Tampa area.
- The most popular area of Clearwater Beach is Pier 60 which has many activities for kids right off the pier, with street performers, craft booths and a sunset cinema under the stars. There is also an amazing beach playground. These activities are free and open to the public.
- Next up is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This is home to “Winter the Dolphin” who made an appearance in the movie “Dolphin Tale.” You can tour the aquarium, and there animal encounters that allow you to get up close and personal with dolphins, sharks, otters and pelicans.
- For family cruise that includes music, games and friendly pirates aboard their ship, the Pirates Ransom is entertainment that all ages can enjoy. Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise includes fantasy world of swashbucklers and pirates. The two-hour trip along the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico includes complimentary lemonade, soft drinks, beer and wine.
- Don’t forget adventure mini-golf: this one comes with live gators! Congo River Golf has giant waterfalls and rocky summits, mysterious caves and tropical rainforests. Travel to a world of excitement and family fun with Congo River Golf, voted best miniature golf again and again.
- Of course in nearby Tampa, don’t forget about Busch Gardens: the ultimate family adventure, featuring an unparalleled combination of up-close animal encounters, award-winning live entertainment and world-class thrill rides.
Okay, now for the “grown up kids”- if you’re ready to take the next step and tie the knot, take a look at some of our all inclusive beach wedding packages and click HERE to book your Florida Beach Wedding!
When having a Gulf Beach wedding in Florida, you should always make sure that your guests are well-informed. Like a home-town affair, they are counting on you to provide them with all the necessary information they need to attend your ceremony…they don’t want to get lost, be late or come unprepared for your special day! Remember they will already be excited by the beauty of Florida, especially if you are tying the knot in Siesta Key, Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach or Fort Myers Beach. The following are some tips to insure a smooth, successful Florida destination ceremony:
- Provide your guests with the beach arrival time for your wedding ceremony. This is different than your CEREMONY time. For example, if your beach wedding ceremony starts at 5:00 p.m, your guests should arrive no later than 4:45 p.m. This way, they will be waiting for you to arrive and see your grand entrance, but not be out in the Florida heat too long.
- Make sure you give them the exact location. In most instances, our beach wedding company has given you not only the beach location address, but an aerial view of this area with landmarks to assist in finding the location. We sincerely hope that you share this with your guests, so they are not calling you as you are getting ready, to find out where your wedding location is. A good idea, however, is to designate someone to take any calls and assist guests, if possible. There is always a last minute detail to take care of!
- Parking: Parking is NOT reserved, even if we have obtained a necessary beach wedding permit. In Siesta Key, as well as Lido Beach, Venice Beach, and surrounding Sarasota and Clearwater beaches – parking is almost always an issue. Guests should arrive early, so they can obtain a parking spot, and be able to leisurely walk along the beachfront to the wedding site. Nobody wants to be anxiously driving and looking for a spot as the clock ticks towards the upcoming ceremony!
- As a Florida Beach Weddings company couple, you enjoy many privileges. You will receive a list of recommended vendors and services around the location of your ceremony. You will be able to find information on free ride services, if your guests want to get dropped off at the beach. As well as local restaurants, and hotels, so they can make their own reservations in the area. Of course there will also be hair, makeup and florist suggestions as well.
- If you and your partner can arrive a day or two before your ceremony, you should definitely visit the beach venue and become familiar with the area. This way, if there are any questions from your guests, you will be able to answer them knowledgeably and set them at ease. Besides, it is so exciting to see your beach location beforehand and envision your special day!
- You can always make a list of the activities you have planned specifically around your wedding ceremony or vow renewal. For example, any rehearsal dinner, or get together before the ceremony, the ceremony time, and any reception or dinner plans. This way, they know where they will need to be, and at what time, and then they can plan any of their free time for activities they may want to enjoy: fishing, boating, shopping, just laying on the beach and enjoying the gulf waters. There are several options that you can consider for after the ceremony. You can arrange to take all of your guests out to dinner. Several area restaurants offer private rooms with full service for a wedding supper. Or, for larger parties there are a couple of options for full reception facilities nearby. In Siesta Key, one of the best beaches in Tampa, there are a couple of picnic areas off of the beach. But, this would be for a very informal get-together afterward. On one of the walkways down to the beach, The Gulf Wave Pavilion, can be rented too. This is a great back-up location for a beach wedding on Siesta Key. You would still be under cover, but right off of the beach. You can also rent this pavilion for a reception, but keep in mind, the walkway may still be used for other beach goers to walk on, and off the beach – so I would just suggest this area as a ceremony back-up.
Just providing the above information can make your Florida wedding a great success! For a list of great beach wedding ideas including decor, chair sashes, arbor decorations and more browse our complete packages. Contact us to reserve your date today.
So planning your destination wedding is one thing. But planning to attend one is a whole other ballgame. And we have the tips to help your destination wedding guests not only enjoy your wedding ceremony, but let them add this to the list of all time favorite vacations. Brides and grooms, this information is geared for you and your guests. So take note and share the love!
5 Tips for Your Destination Wedding Guests
These 5 tips will create a smooth, carefree destination wedding experience for you and your guests.
1. Timing is Everything
Traveling over holidays/holiday weekends are often pricier across the board. So even though it’s a built in extra weekend day, the extra costs in hotel, flights, and package prices may not be worth it. In Florida, some of the cheaper times to visit are September, November (not Thanksgiving), December (not Christmas or New Year’s Eve), January, and February (not President’s Day/Race week).
2. Save the Date
Brides and grooms- notify your guests of your wedding date and location within 6-8 months prior to, if possible. Consider the fact that your friends and family may be cashing in on vacation time at work. This gives time to budget, plan, and increase the likelihood of attendance.
3. Group Rates
Airlines and hotels often offer group rates at a cheaper than normal price. Once you have a rough idea of who will definitely be attending/traveling, get plans for a group in order. It’s best to email or call the St. Augustine hotels directly to ensure rate discounts and inquire about any special wedding accommodations.
4. Things To Do List
Once you have an established guest list, send out an email with some fun things for guests to do. Do some research and inform your guests about things to do before/after your beach wedding. Check out Trip Advisor’s Things to do in St. Augustine and see what catches your eye. It’s up to you if you want to create an itinerary and invite guests along or simply do your own newlywed outings and share other ideas with guests. Also prepare guests for predicted weather temperatures so they can pack accordingly- they may not realize the wedding is actually outside. 😉
If you have it in your budget, a welcome bag is a nice gesture to welcome guests and show appreciation for celebrating your wedding. A welcome note is a great idea with details about the wedding ceremony (time, location, directions, after party arrangements). If you can’t afford the bags and goodies, a welcome note alone is fine and necessary. Click the picture below for the instant download welcome note– it’s only $15!
Ok, so now you have everything you need to know to share with your destination wedding guests. Now let’s give them a time and a place to celebrate with you. Click HERE to book your St. Augustine Wedding today!
So you’re preparing and planning for your complete Beach Wedding and you’re thinking about beach wedding favors. Well let’s assume you’ve already hired Florida Beach Weddings to organize and prepare the perfect wedding day. If you’ve done that, the only real necessity left to plan is what to wear and how to get to the beach. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Florida Beach Weddings can work with you to take care of everything for a perfect wedding from set up to officiant, photographer to music. Click here for a break down of what Florida Beach Weddings has to offer.
If you want to add a few more personal touches here are some ideas for favors and the do’s and don’ts of what to bring to the beach.
5 Ideas for Beach Wedding Favors at Your Beach Wedding:
- Keep it simple- There may not be immediate access to garbage cans and it’s likely your guests may not be bringing bags or purses onto the sand. So when choosing beach wedding party favors, avoid items with something involving lots of plastic wrapping or bulky items that are a hassle to carry.
- Sweet Treats- Want the perfect beach wedding treat? Match the salty air with some tasty saltwater taffy. Simply put these yummy treats in a clear baggie, tie with some ribbon, and you have an easy and colorful wedding favor. You can even buy local, Florida made taffy and have it shipped. Click here to order. Not into taffy? Choose another sweet or salty snack for your guests to enjoy, but be sure to stay away from chocolate or other fast melting foods that won’t make it in the Florida sun.
- Practically speaking- No one needs another trinket that’s likely to get tossed minutes after the vow exchange. Think of practical beach wedding favors your guests could enjoy the day of your wedding and in the future. A few ideas- personalized wedding sunglasses like these or fun drink koozies like these.
- Follow the rules- There is a no glass policy on the beach and the general rule is to leave the beach the same (or better) as when you got there. So before you order those cute mason jars or votive holders, remember the rules.
- In the sand- There won’t really be anywhere to display your favors. Consider purchasing a basket to place in the sand near the seating area for favors. And don’t forget to assign someone to put it out before your guests arrive.