(Mt. Baldy, courtesy of Ben Pancoast Photography)
Consider any policies, ordinances or restrictions
For example, some public beaches will not allow chairs brought in and will request all guests stand. This is fine for a group of 50 or less guests, but can be difficult for a larger wedding of 150. Also, if you’re renting a public park or beach area, you’ll want to check on any restrictions with serving alcohol if you’re hosting an outdoor reception. In Southwest Michigan, most public beaches are governed by the city or county and do not permit alcohol.
Is there ample parking available?
This is one area where unexpected costs can arise. When budgeting, take into consideration the cost for shuttle service to get guests to rhe location, or for many public beaches, the cost of admission/parking. This can add up to as much as $9 per car in our area, but can often be paid for ahead of time if the proper arrangements are made. If your ceremony location has an admission fee, that is a cost you’ll want to cover for your guests.
Is it easily accessible to handicap or older guests?
Secluded beaches or outdoor areas can be beautiful, but make sure to consider accessibility. Do you have older guests who will not be able to walk the distance? Is it handicap accessible?
Is there an option for inclimate weather?
If you want to tie the knot near the water,Â look for areas that may also provide for shelter in the case of inclimate weather. Certain beaches will offer a covered pavilion, or areas where you could set up a tent. While I always like to stay positive, it’s best to be prepared—-always have a back up!