Outdoor weddings are a popular option these days and a white sandy beach already has a beautiful backdrop with the blue sky and sea so there's no need for many decorations.
A sand ceremony is ideal and special vows can be said while the happy couple pour two vessels of coloured sand into a third container to symbolise the couple's lives coming together forever. The mixed sand is then perfect to support a candle at the reception party.
Do remember all of the furniture you use is not fixed so be prepared for gusts of wind that could knock things over. And consider using a sound system so your guests can hear the vows as nervous voices do not travel well in the open air.
A beach wedding is a relaxed setting. It's not formal; you've shunned the restraints of walls so don't plan a long service as you would have in a church. Keep the ceremony short and have more time with your guests.
Avoid the midday sun as the bright light is not helpful for photographers and your guests will be uncomfortable in the heat. A better time to exchange vows is just before sunset when it’s cooling down and you can have your photographs taken when the light is at its most flattering.
As tempting as it may be, don't spend your time leading up to the ceremony sunbathing as wedding photos are for life so you don't want to be sunburnt.
You could go to your local public beach, a hotel with a private beach or you could even take over a whole island such as Desroches Island in the Seychelles. If you choose a public beach, check with the local authorities if permission is needed and remember you may have extra onlookers who could appear in your photos.
Embrace your chosen location as a Caribbean beach lends itself nicely to rum punch with friends and a steel band playing Calypso into the evening. A Hawaiian beach wedding could mean a bright Hawaiian shirt for the groom and a holoku Hawaiian white gown for the bride. Australian beach weddings go hand in hand with a barbecue and a Greek Island wedding could have some lively plate smashing to follow!
If you choose a hotel beach do check what services they can offer such as hairdressers, make-up artists, florists and private catering. A hotel with a spa is great idea to keep you and your guests busy before the ceremony.
Pamela Anderson married Tommy Lee in 1995 in a beach wedding wearing a tiny white bikini but that's probably not the look most brides will want to go for. Bejewelled corsetry is also not a good option for hot climates so think about loose, cotton, linen or silk clothing which can be beautifully stylish and much more appropriate. Plus white is best in hot locations.
Think about whether the groom really should wear a suit and tie as you've chosen a relaxed wedding venue so let him be able to breathe in the heat too.
Brides should avoid heels as they will obviously sink in the sand or if you simply can't do without them then wedges can work. Barefoot is even better and there are some lovely 'barefoot bridal sandals' available which are beaded foot jewellery.
Beach weddings lend themselves to smaller congregations so many couples decide to have a party for friends when they return home. Those who do attend, and have travelled to join you, are likely to spend your honeymoon with you too so choose wisely.
Personalised flip flops are a cute idea to give to guests and make sure you have bottles of water and sunscreen available for all. A small container of sand from the beach makes a lovely wedding favour.
However you plan your big day, a beach wedding can be just as special as a traditional ceremony and will start your married life together with some wonderful memories.
Laura Porter has written this article for ISIC, the mother ship of SEAS-IT. She also writes an online London travel guide for About.com (part of the New York Times Company) and is a Visit Britain Super Blogger too. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen's. You can follow her on twitter at @AboutLondon.