UPSCALE BEACH WEDDINGS  -                                   ORANGE BEACH & GULF SHORES
Here are tips you won't hear anywhere else!
This is Charli. Owner of All The Details, aka Dreamy Beach Weddings. My photos will prove that I am not in this business to make a quick buck. I LOVE what I do. I LOVE the beach. I LOVE my laid back clients! I started this company as a solution to being able to be home with my daughter when she's home, and work together as a family. Although I usually work with my crew, I do enjoy those days when my husband and daughter get to work onsite with us. Well, she's 6, so she plays while we work - what a deal, huh?
I started this business from scratch. I am not a franchise. I have put my heart, sweat, and tears into this business, and take great pride in my weddings. When I started in this business, you couldn't even find a bamboo arbor to rent. Now, there are tons. So, my goal now is to stay upscale, and focus on delivering the highest quality wedding available on Alabama's Gulf Coast (and Bays!) 
Ok, so I can say that I'm pretty much an expert on beach weddings now. And with that said - I can tell you what's Hot, and what's Not!
#1 - Non-professional, not trained for harsh & natural light, non-licensed photography. You have NO recourse if they ruin your pictures, and no memories. ASK FOR THEIR BUSINESS LICENSE AND INSURANCE! I can't tell you how many times I have encountered photographers that didn't bring a flash, or rain gear! RESEARCH ALL COMPANIES YOU PLAN TO HIRE FOR YOUR WEDDING - GOOGLE THEM. THEIR COMPANY NAME, AND PERSONAL NAMES.
Get referrals for trusted photographers in our region, and ask for their credentials! If they don't have a website of their photography work - beware!
#2 - Tiki Torches - I love them in my backyard, but on the beach, they get swallowed up and look dinky. They do add a nice touch to the dune walk between the beach and the house, but not as part of your wedding. I have done them grouped in 3's with fresh flower arrangements in them, those look great and grouped in 3's like that give them size.
#3 - Probably should be number one here, but .... ferns and potted plants on the beach. No no NO! Real or not, they look extremely out of place, especially on stands. Again, marking a dune walk (set down in the sand), but not part of your wedding!
#4 - Shepherd hooks and lanterns. I know, you really wanted them ... but, adding these elements "junks" up your wedding site. Clean, elegant, simple - polished and professional. That's what will get you that "wow" factor.
Instead of spending several hundred dollars on decor that belongs in a house, have a florist create one focal point - like flowers on the aisle chairs, and/or a giant initial in the aisle in the sand.
#5 - Poorly draped, dinky arbors. I've seen wrinkled, twisted, torn, cheap material, too short, too long, dirty ... well, I guess I've seen it all. I hand wash and hang all my fabrics, myself. I iron sashes. I use quality fabrics, like organza voile - wedding fabric. Cheap fabric will absolutely look terrible in your pictures.
#6 - Artificial flowers and Fresh Flowers done by anyone other than a florist, with a florist business license. It takes knowledge, and correct processing, to make flowers look their best in your pictures. They need to be cared for and prepped to withstand the light & heat. ASK FOR THEIR CREDENTIALS!!
#7 - Music from a CD player. If you want pre-recorded music - spend the money on a DJ (or get a package that offers a real DJ). Again, ask for their business license! If you don't , you'll end up with a cd player and and an amp - with static and interference.
#8 - A wedding cake as part of the ceremony package? Where do they get those cakes anyway?? I'd ask.
#9 - Weddings in front of condos in peak season; You have to work around the rental loungers and hundreds of sunbathers. Choose a location wisely. And, don't let anyone tell you a condo blocking the sun at sunset is a bad thing; No squinting! Our beach has no rental loungers, and we have a great sun blocker that isn't in pictures because we set the arbor so the Gulf is your backdrop.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Do you homework. Shop around. Tally up pricing. Some packages are so wordy - you really don't realize what you are or are not getting for price. I get copied on my ideas a lot. I take that as a compliment.
Still hot and going strong for 2014:
Beach Balls - make sure you buy 12", blow them up, and let us put them under the chairs for you. Otherwise, you'll have to hand them out from a trash bag.
Color! Bright colors and gorgeous real flowers...waxy flowers, like orchids and calla lilies!
Family heirlooms with play a part in ceremonies and receptions. I don't recommend this too much for destination weddings, as things can be broken in transit. But how about your grandmother's broach on your bouquet, or a family necklace wrapped around it and dangling a florist will apply anything you want to your bouquet.
Originality! Traditional weddings are a thing of the past - brides want to be original and the Beach is the best place to pull it off!
Simple, but elegant ceremonies. This just happens to be my specialty!
My all time favorite favors are Koozies - but, one of my other favorite favors : Wine Openers! These were given at one of my October weddings 2010, and were the best favors I've ever seen - I was given one and have used it many times already! I always tell the story of it when I use it too! Thank you Chris & Deanna!
I LOVE champagne toasts! Don't exclude this to save money! So many memories come from the toasts of loved ones. A simple champagne flute, inexpensive champagne, and a rasberry make an elegant touch and lasting memories!
DIY (Do it Yourself) Brides: This is why we give out all the referrals you need for your reception, and we can also refer to you reception planners to handle the Day of Coordinating (they also offer full planning services).
My best advice for a lower budget wedding: Spend the money on a great ceremony (buy a package that comes with a coordinator for the ceremony and rehearsal!), really good buffet options, buy your own alcohol and have the caterer supply a bartender. Book the right vendors and you won't have much left to do as far as setting up your reception! -Charli Linn/Owner
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