The Thing About Public Beaches...

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…is that they’re public.  Open to everybody.  Not private.  Unrestricted.  Still want to have your wedding there?

The beach is, unquestionably, a huge draw for brides.  Rightfully so.  It’s absolutely beautiful nearly year round.  (Mid-summer is up for debate.)  People love the water, people love the sand, people love the sun.  Destination brides come here for the beach and local brides stay here for the beach.  It’s great!

However, there’s one important item that you may or may not know.  The beaches in North Carolina are public.  All of them.  Even if your venue is located on beachfront property, they don’t own the sand.  It’s public.

There’s a giant word of caution that needs to be covered and that’s the main reason for this article.  You’re not the only people that have access to the beach.  Everybody else does too.

The beach could be full of screaming children, old people in thongs, and large people wearing bathing suits three sizes too small.  So much for your private beach wedding…

We’d like to say that people would be considerate and stay away from your personal bubble but that isn’t the case, at least not with everybody.  We’ve personally witnessed it.  Even if your ceremony site is setup with an arbor, chairs, and flowers, tourists will still plant their butts around you.  The polite ones will stay 500+ feet away but they’ll still feel too close on a wide open beach.  The rude ones will plant themselves between your matrimonial location and the water so that they become part of the background.  (Coincidentally, those always seem to be the large people with small bathing suits.)  You’ll also get some well-meaning looky-loos who want to stand behind your guests and watch.  They’ll come up and congratulate you when you’re trying to talk to your family.

You can’t eliminate these problems entirely but we have two tips to minimize the potential headaches.

1) Overlook the beach:  Instead of getting married directly on the beach, consider getting married at a private venue that overlooks the beach.  It’ll get rid of the up-close-and-personal tourists while still being beachfront.

2) Stay away from public accesses:  Locals and especially tourists tend to set up right by the beach access, making those areas very crowded.  You can either go to a main access and then go way down the beach or you can find an unpopular access.  Either way, you’ll need some transportation for you and your guests.  Walking on sand can be difficult and you can’t expect your guests to walk far on it.  Get a vehicle that can transport guests from the access to the ceremony site.  The other option, finding an unpopular access, also requires transportation.  One main reason that certain accesses are unpopular is because there isn’t any parking.  You’ll need to hire transportation to take everybody from a central parking location, possibly your reception venue, to the access that you’re using, and then back.

We aren’t telling you about this stuff to give you nightmares or encourage you to pick a different location.  Beach weddings are wonderful and if you’re a water/outdoors/sun and sand type of person, then you should go for it.  Just be prepared for some of these zany possibilities to occur.


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