Beach Wedding Etiquette…Is There Such a Thing?

Riviera Maya Wedding Photographer at dance floor

With all the open air, sunshine and freedom that comes with having your wedding on the beach, the question of etiquette is sure to pop up at some point.  The bride and groom are going to wonder, the guests are going to wonder, even passersby may wonder if the speedo they are wearing is truly appropriate.

There’s no question that traditional indoor weddings have some simple rules when it comes to etiquette, but do those rules translate to the beach?

So….Is There Such a Thing?

If I had to answer this in a single word, that word would be “no.”  As a Riviera Maya wedding photographer and being around the scene for a while now, I can say there isn’t really a “beach wedding etiquette,” that’s exclusive to the beach.  However, you are still at a wedding so it’s important to dress and act accordingly.

Elements Specific to the Beach

Some elements specific to the beach that may come into play during a beach wedding are things like sand, the ocean, wind and heat. Surely, we can come up with a few etiquette rules with these parts factored in.  Here are a few:

  • No throwing sand at other guests or the bride and groom during the ceremony or reception. It is not a substitute for rice or confetti.
  • No yelling for anyone to speak up if the wind and waves are making it difficult to hear the vows.
  • No dunking anyone’s head into the ocean if they get on your nerves.  This could be one that actually comes into play!
  • No wandering off if a pretty girl walks by during the ceremony.  Yes, this can also apply for a hunky guy…are they still called hunky? O and that includes your eyes as you don’t want to be the guest caught on camera looking the wrong way.

Obviously, these are being written in fun, and the point is to use common sense when it comes to etiquette.  The only true rule would be to make sure you don’t drink too much before the ceremony. With a lot of Riviera Maya weddings happening in all inclusive resorts, this can be more difficult than normal. Therefore I strongly suggest waiting until after the dinner at the reception. Then let loose, have fun and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and don’t jump in the pool naked. Clothed yes, naked no.

Since we are on the topic of alcohol and I am a Riviera Maya wedding photographer, I want to share with you that it is very difficult to photograph people that have had one or two too many drinks. I’m not saying do not have a good time or don’t drink at all. Simply know your limit. If you are part of the bridal party, please have a few drinks throughout the day, but stay sober enough so that I can do my job as well.


Odds’n Ends

For the Bride and Groom:  It is a fine balance to have enough organized events as well as freedom for your guests. I suggest having a few organized events that includes everyone and many optional events. No one knows your guests as well as you and so long as you put in an effort to include everyone, you have done your part. Also, yes, it is customary to give them a gift for traveling such a long ways and I am sure you will find lots of resources on gift bags and etc..

For the Guests: Should guests bring a gift? Honestly, I don’t think shoving that new juice extractor into your luggage and bringing it along is really necessary. I am sure you will hear from the bride and groom, however, I believe that your presence is the best gift you can give them. Add to it a small card and or gift and you have way outdone yourself. And in the end if you still feel like you should get them a new small appliance, then I am sure they will be grateful if you could give it to them when you get back home as generally bride and grooms are overloaded with luggage as they will be bringing down and taking back many décor items for the wedding.

I hope you have enjoyed this little article and remember, I’m a photographer, not the etiquette police. If you come expecting to enjoy yourself and remember that it is a wedding like any other, simply on the beach. Then you will be fine as lets face it, the most important thing is that everyone enjoys themselves.

Dean Sanderson | Riviera Maya Wedding Photographer.