Here are helpful tips you won't hear anywhere else!
This is Ava. Owner of All The Details, 
aka DreamyBeachWeddings.com  & A Flower Box aflowerbox.com We have been in the wedding related business for over 20 years. We are a team dedicated to making your Special Day "Magical". We LOVE what we do. We LOVE the beach. We LOVE our clients!  
We took over this ongoing business to continue offering the best UPSCALE wedding planning business available in this area. We are not a franchise.  So, our goal is to remain upscale and focus on delivering the highest quality wedding available on Alabama's and Florida's Gulf Coast and that is why we only accept one wedding ceremony per day!
Ok, so we can say that we're experts on beach weddings. And with that said - We can tell you what's Hot, and what's Not!
#1 - Non-professional, not trained for harsh & natural light, non-licensed photographers. You have NO recourse if they ruin your pictures, and no memories. ASK FOR THEIR BUSINESS LICENSE AND INSURANCE! We can't tell you how many times we have heard about photographers that didn't bring a flash, or rain gear! RESEARCH ALL COMPANIES YOU PLAN TO HIRE FOR YOUR WEDDING - GOOGLE, BING OR FIREFOX 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 - We love them in backyards, but on the beach, they get swallowed up and look dinky and insignificant. They do add a nice touch to the dune walk between the beach and the house, but not as part of your wedding. We 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. we 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 real flowers on the aisle chairs, and/or a giant initial in the aisle on the sand made out of fresh rose petals.
#5 - Poorly draped, dinky dirty arbors. We've seen wrinkled, twisted, torn, cheap material, too short, too long, dirty ... well, We've seen it all. We hand wash and hang all of our fabrics, ourselves. We iron sashes. We 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 an amp - with static and interference.
#8 - A wedding cake as part of the ceremony package? Where do they get those cakes anyway?? We would 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! The beach we like to use beach has few or 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.

#10 - We don't recommend blowing bubbles on the beach!!! They won't show up in pictures and with the wind it gets in guests eyes.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Do your 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. We get copied on our ideas a lot. We take that as a compliment.
Still hot and going strong for 2016:
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 and roses are GREAT!!! NO FAKE FLOWERS IN YOUR PICTURES!!!
Family heirlooms that play a part in ceremonies and receptions. We 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 bit...our 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 our specialty!
Our all time favorite favors are Koozies with personalized names and dates on them! - but, other favorite favors are programs printed on fans and personalized bottles of water.
We 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.
Our 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! 
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