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  • Writer's picturePetite Weddings

Beach Wedding Ideas for The UK

Updated: Dec 9, 2022

Can I get married in the beach in Cornwall?

Getting married by the sea is one of the most romantic and beautiful ideas in terms of location. It offers that unique combination of a beautiful, ever-changing backdrop, the classic feel of sand, sea and sky stripes and plenty of space for fun and original ideas. However, there are practical considerations that you’ll want to take into account before you plan a runaway wedding to the coast to avoid disappointment or even disaster! In this blog post we share ideas and insight for the perfect intimate wedding by the sea based on our experience gained through arranging weddings for hundreds of wonderful couples over the years.

Photography by Verity Westcott.

Where can I get married?

In England and Wales there are strict rules governing where your legal wedding ceremony they take place. Unfortunately your cannot have a legal wedding ceremony just anywhere.

To have a legal wedding ceremony you must choose either licensed wedding premises, i.e. a venue in possession of a wedding license issued by the local county council or a registry office for religious premises e.g. a church (although there will be additional criteria that you will need to meet as stipulated by the religious premises of your choice). At a licensed wedding venue your ceremony can take place in the areas licensed by the council. This means as a minimum that the signing of the register must take place in permanent,covered structure E.g. A building or garden pagoda. There is some flexibility around this arrangement which allows for the majority of your wedding ceremony to take place outside so long as the signing of the register takes place at the venue in the permanent, covered structure prescribed under current wedding legislation.

For some couples this flexibility does not go far enough. They choose to have a legal wedding ceremony, followed by a blessing in a location of their choice e.g. On the beach, in the woods or in the grounds of their chosen wedding venue. This approach allows the you total ownership over the content of your blessing. This is because it is not restricted to legal wording and legally acceptable content. Furthermore you are able to have this second ceremony in a location of their choice agreed with the celebrant. Your celebrant will work with you to ensure you have the necessary permissions from the landowners to ensure that you can enjoy your wedding ceremony on their land without issue. For smaller gatherings there is usually no need to apply for a permit, and your celebrant will be able to advise on this matter.

Making outside part of our wedding day

Of course, your wedding day is far more than just ceremony and a beach blessing it’s not the only way to incorporate the beach and/or the great outdoors into your wedding day. Many couples choose to retain a more traditional ceremony and get creative with the rest of the day.

Gone are the days of a church wedding followed by a reception at the local village hall. The days of the chain hotel dominating the wedding venue market are also disappearing fast. We're seeing couples increasingly shying away from more traditional wedding day models and seeking out far more unusual venues, multiple-locations bespoke services and activities to really make their day belong to them in a very personal way. This might include:

  • a pre-wedding group surf on the morning of your wedding

  • taking the dogs for a walk on the beach after their wedding ceremony

  • taking a dip in the sea with their guests

  • a game of "team groom" vs "team bride" cricket

  • flying kites on the beach

  • a beach sports day

  • picnic baskets in grounds of their chosen venue

  • croquet or other garden games on the lawn

  • taking a boat from your wedding venue to a hidden beach for an evening BBQ and much more.

Moreover, the majority of our couples choose to take their photographer outdoors with them to capture unique fun in the fabulous locations they have chosen. This means all those precious memories you create won’t just be stored in your heads but form a truly unique set of wedding photographs and videography to share with others, dip back into over the year and provide something truly worthy showing your grandchildren.

You can see some highlights of the beautiful memories we’ve been creating with our couples and captured by super talented photographers including Emma Griffin of Griffin Photography, Verity Westcott, Joey Lamb and Sarah Barratt of Checkered Photography on this page.

Photography by Joey Lamb at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens and Marazion Beach.

What time of year is best for getting married by the sea?

The summer months seem the obvious ones to pick for a seaside wedding. However, beware as there are some issues with these months:

- Many venues do not offer weddings or restrict wedding numbers in these peak months as their properties are also used for holidays.

- It’s the most expensive time for venue hire in most cases, although some venues offer flat pricing all year round. Talk to us if this is something you are interested in and we can point you in the right direction.

- The roads, beaches, restaurants, other wedding suppliers are very busy and although it’s by no means impossible, you will potentially need to book well in advance or need to compromise on exactly what you’d like on your wedding day.

- Guest accommodation, flights and rail travel will cost more than usual.

We have arranged outdoor weddings all year round in the South West where we have a milder winter than most. We always advise choosing a venue with a great plan B should the weather not be favourable, this is the UK after all! Our favoured months are March – May and September to October as you benefit from generally lower prices, less crowding and more choice, yet the weather is very often as good as if not better than the prime summer months of June/July and August.

Photography by Sarah Barratt of Checkered Photography at Cosawes Barton and nearby beach.

Wedding Venues by the sea

We work with some amazing handpicked venues and can recommend the following beautiful wedding venues that offer intimate legal wedding ceremonies and celebrations offering amazing indoor and outside space right by the sea:

If hidden countryside locations offering very special rural, woodland and secret garden locations are more your thing, then we can recommend these venues all within 15 minutes drive of the sea:

To find out more email– we’d love to be able to help you!

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