You may be thinking of planning a beach wedding in Ocean City, Maryland. However, you may live hours away, or you may have no idea where to begin. This article will give you a few quick steps to start the process.
1. HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER
Planning a wedding can be exciting but also stressful. With so much to do, many engaged couples turn to wedding planners for help. The benefits of hiring a wedding planner far outweigh the cost. With Sunny Beach Weddings the planning services are included free of charge when you book one of their beach wedding packages.
At Sunny Beach Weddings, we help couples plan the beautiful and memorable beach weddings. Whether you are planning to elope, or planning a wedding with 100 guests or more we can customize a beach wedding package for you. All of our packages include custom ceremony planning, a wedding officiant, filing of your marriage license, one hour of wedding photography, portrait posing, downloadable high-resolution image files, and city permitting assistance. We also provide a variety of la carte services that can be added to any of our packages.
2. SET A DATE FOR YOUR WEDDING
If you’re hoping to get married in Ocean City, we recommend planning your wedding during the months of April, May, September, or October. These off-season months bring cooler temperatures, more affordable accommodations, and greater privacy during your ceremony. During the summer months, the weather can be a little uncomfortable and the beaches are filled with people. We can still accommodate a beach wedding in the summer, but it must be in the evening or early morning.
3. CHOOSE A WEDDING VENUE
Whether you choose to get married on the beach or at a local venue, deciding where to have your ceremony and reception will likely be one of the first decisions you have to make. Being a beach town, we can’t deny that the beach is our favorite location for wedding ceremonies in Ocean City, MD. With the waves gently crashing behind you and the sand beneath your toes, the beach makes for a breathtaking ceremony setting. If you choose to have a beach wedding, there are plenty of wonderful reception venues throughout town. We collaborate with over 15 venues in Ocean City alone and we would be happy to share our recommendations with you. Worried about the rain? We will connect you with a venue that will provide a backup plan in case of inclement weather.
4. SHARE YOUR WEDDING VISION
Once you’ve chosen your wedding venue, that’s when the fun begins! The next step in the planning process is choosing an aesthetic and setting a tone for your wedding. Do you prefer a traditional wedding? Something a little more casual? Whatever your preference, we can help you take the vision you have for your wedding and transform it into a reality. We love partnering with couples to understand their unique personalities and plan a celebration that truly reflects their style as a couple. From writing your own vows to incorporating a sand ceremony, we love to dream up ways to bring your love story to life.
5. SELECT YOUR WEDDING VENDORS
To bring everything together, you’ll need to select a team of vendors that can help make your vision a reality. You’ll need to hire an officiant, photographer, florist, caterer, and more. Since you’ve already started working with a wedding planner, they should be able to help you through this process. When you work with Sunny Beach Weddings, you can check many of these vendors off your list. We provide you with an officiant, photographer, videographer, DJ, and even decor items for your ceremony. When it comes to other vendors, we’re happy to recommend you to some outstanding vendors in the area, including hotels and caterers.
6. GET YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
Your day is quickly approaching! After the majority of your planning is done, it’s time to get your marriage license. If you’re planning to get married in Ocean City, Maryland, you’ll have to obtain a marriage license from the CIRCUIT COURT CLERK’S OFFICE IN WORCESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND. You can also print the non-resident marriage license affidavit form for the State of Maryland. Although you must obtain your own marriage license, after your wedding, our officiant will file the license with the county on your behalf.
7. GET MARRIED AND CELEBRATE!
And finally, it’s time to make it official! This special day signifies just how far your love has come and marks the beginning of an exciting new season in your life. Once all the planning is done and the big day is finally here, we’ll jump into action to ensure everything goes off without a hitch. All you have to do is soak up every moment and enjoy the magic of the day. And of course, celebrate this exciting milestone in your life. Congratulations!
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Between fittings for the dress and tasting different cakes and picking out the rings and researching and hiring all the different services that go into a wedding, choosing our music had been the last thing on our minds.
We’d hired the DJ months ago, put the packet we were to send back to him a month-and-a-half before the big day was left untouched until the last possible second.
In it, we were to list 10 or so songs we wanted him to play, a couple songs that we definitely did NOT want him to play, what songs we wanted to announce the bridal party/bride and groom/the first dance/cutting the cake/bouquet/garter/etc./etc., and whether we’d be doing any special dances that would need musical accompaniment.
I had to look up what a money dance is, and the concept is still a little bizarre to me. But I digress.
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Opened in the summer of 2018, Berlin winery Windmill Creek Vineyard is launching its second identity as a premier event venue by awarding one lucky couple the wedding of their dreams.
Co-sponsored by Windmill Creek’s exclusive event partner Encore Events by Angie Gillis, the contest, titled "A Front Line Affair," is open to first responders or active members of the military residing in or stationed on Delmarva. Interested couples are invited to share their love stories now through March 31 for a chance to win a complete wedding package for up to 75 guests to take place on July 27, 2019. The winning entry will be announced on April 5, 2019.
The engagement ring was only the start of the ring-shopping fiasco, but there are a few things I’ve gleaned from the experience as of late that might make the process of choosing a wedding band (two wedding bands, for that matter) a little bit easier.
After you've booked your caterer, or once you've narrowed down your options to a choice few, depending on the businesses' protocol, comes the time for the tasting. The tasting gives you the chance to sample all the menu options that appeal to you the most, along with the ones you're a little on the fence about. This is not to be confused with the cake tasting (unless your caterer provides the cake, too), which is just another glorious food sampling event you have to look forward to and another beacon of light in the dark and seemingly endless tunnel that is wedding planning (...just kidding!).
It's an opportunity to try delicious and professionally-prepared dishes, but more than that, it's the opportunity to perfect and fine-tune your menu into something you and all your friends and family can enjoy. You'll want to narrow down what's most important in your menu, then come prepared with a list of questions to ask your caterer, including but not limited to the ones below.
1.) Can I try ___ ?
Obviously you don't want to try every option on the menu (...or maybe you do if the food's just really good, but sadly, they probably won't let you), and you don't want to throw darts at random items on the menu for tasting, either. Hopefully the person who's coordinating your tasting will ask you what you're interested in, but if they don't, make sure you tell them well beforehand.
The caterer might tell you how many of each item, from appetizers to entrees, you can try, and have you choose from there. Otherwise, limit yourself to the items you're really on the fence about, since the purpose is to narrow down your options.
2.) Can I tweak this menu option?
It's your big day and you want it to be perfect -- your caterer should understand this -- so don't be too shy to ask how you might change a dish. If something would be perfect aside from one spice they may have added, or if you'd like it garnished differently, or if they could just add a pinch of garlic or cayenne or whatever, it's always worth asking about. You should also consider any dietary restrictions that you and your guests may have, and then ask...
3.) Can this be made vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free?
Seriously, consider your friends and family when you're choosing the menu. Obviously make sure there are dishes that you and your fiance will enjoy (not even just enjoy, but dream about for years and years to come), but don't let your loved ones go hungry, either. Many people have meat, dairy and/or gluten restrictions (and other allergies, in fact -- always good to consider those) and there should be at least a few options for those people besides the fruit and vegetable platters.
If there's a dish that you think could accommodate these restrictions but you're not too sure, just ask. My fiance and I tried some delicious roasted red potatoes and requested they be cooked with oil instead of butter so more of our friends can enjoy them.
4.) Where are these ingredients sourced from?
The food aspect of the wedding is likely going to swallow a large part of your overall budget, so you want the highest-quality ingredients your food budget can buy. If fresh fruits and vegetables and pasture-raised protein from local farms are important to you, be sure to make that known (and maybe do some research on which caterers provide that to begin with). It's not especially hard to go all- or mostly-local with your food when you live on the Eastern Shore, where seafood, grain and vegetable farming, and chicken breeding are such a major economic force.
This question can also apply to your bar. Local craft beer is important to my fiance and I, so we plan on having at least two options from local breweries on tap.
5.) Where will the food stations be located?
This might not apply if you're doing a strictly plated meal, but for those of us who are opting for the buffet/food station option, it's important to ask the venue where these stations will be located. That way, maybe a little farther down the road when you've got all the big stuff taken care of and you're working on the placement of the DJ, the dance floor, the decorations, and the general feng shui of the room, you can mark out where the food is going to go (hopefully not too far away from the tables).
A few other questions to keep on your back burner: What drinks will be served, or available, with this meal? Can we incorporate signature food items or cocktails? Is there a kids' menu (ours includes chicken tenders and fries)? What is the caterer's specialty (whatever it is, you should at least try it)? Will the caterer be providing linens and dinnerware? Can we take home the leftovers? Thar one may sound like a silly question, but hey, why let all that good food go to waste?
If you're still in the catering research stage, Taste Events is a popular full-service wedding caterer based out of Bethany Beach, and The Shrimp Boat in Ocean City is a viable option for couples who love local seafood.
Before the decorations, before the bouquets, before the bridesmaids dresses and all the little details that'll make your wedding *pop* with your unique touches and style... You gotta choose the color combo.
I am, and always will be, an advocate of the "do what makes you happy!" philosophy, and that totally applies to the color palette of a wedding (and everything else wedding-related, for that matter). Christmas colors in July? Go for it. Bright yellow and all shades of pink at your snowy ski resort reception? Who cares, if it's what you really want?
BUT. If you are in the throes of planning a beach wedding, or more likely you're recently engaged and don't know where to begin when it comes to styling the ceremony and reception, here are a few beach wedding color combinations you might consider.
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I've officially set the date of my wedding: June 8, 2019. My fiance and I had been planning on being wed in late April, but just recently decided on early June since the ceremony is going to be on the beach and that time of year seems like our best bet for decent weather (fingers crossed) and not a whole lot of beachgoing onlookers (which isn't much of a concern of mine to begin with, but ya know).
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I hardly consider myself as an expert when it comes to choosing a wedding dress. However, I do have a few pieces of advice for brides-to-be like me who aren't looking forward to spending hours in a bridal shop surrounded by measuring tape and enough beaded bodices to make your head spin. Sometimes, that's par for the course -- but ultimately, you just want to get married in something you love yourself in.
I chose the first dress I tried on at the first bridal boutique I visited, which is not something I particularly recommend, but that's just how it happened for me. I only spent about an hour-and-a-half there, partly because I got lucky and partly because I already had an idea, almost exact, including pictures, of what I wanted.
Thankfully so, because the particular bridal shop I visited (which will remain anonymous) was fully equipped with no air-conditioning on an 80-degree day and an extremely overbearing shop owner who I can only describe with the anecdote that, upon my mentioning that certain scratchy materials made my skin red, proclaimed with all certainly that I must have lupus. Because that's really what you want to hear when you're sweating your eyeballs out on a boutique runway. Stuck with pins and the knowledge that this shop is most definitely going to upcharge you a couple hundred dollars from what you initially saw this dress priced at online, and you might have lupus, too.
But I'm not here to complain -- just to relay my own dress shopping experience and do what I can to ensure that yours is much better! That being said, my first piece of advice is:
1. Read reviews of bridal boutiques before you visit one.
Better yet, get recommendations from friends and family members who have already gone through the whole dress-shopping process.
You don't need to do what I did and visit only one boutique, but it is nice to know that the shop you're walking into has an average of, say, 4.8 stars on Facebook and approximately 0 reviews that include the words "evil wench" and "fat-shaming." The former is only a slight exaggeration. As for the latter, my sister showed me reviews of this boutique after our visit, and we found that this boutique owner has an unforgivable history of body-shaming her customers. I was lucky enough to not experience this, unless you count her weird and inappropriate comments about my having lupus, but I can only imagine how any further body-related jabs would ruin a bride's day and, potentially, her dress shopping experience altogether. No one should have to deal with that, especially when they're preparing for a major life event where so much emphasis is placed on how you look during said event. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look beautiful -- Meghan Markle-esque, even -- on your wedding day, and there's everything wrong with telling a bride, "yeah, you won't want to wear that one, you'll look fat."
Despite the overall experience, which was almost as hellacious as I imagined it might be, I really can't complain too much because I did find the dress of my dreams, and my attendant -- not the shop owner, but a very kind, young and genuinely helpful attendant -- was incredible. She was sweet and nonjudgmental and seemed to really care about what I wanted, even if that meant trying on 200 dresses that afternoon and still walking away empty-handed. Luckily, that wasn't my case.
"The average bride tries on five dresses and usually ends up picking the first one they tried on," she said. I'd entered the boutique with a photo of a dress I saw online, from a line I knew this shop carried. They didn't have the specific dress I wanted, but they did have a very similar one from the same line, and as soon as I saw it, I knew it'd be my dress -- because I liked it even more than the one I initially fell in love with. It didn't hurt that this one was within my price range. I know I mostly just got lucky, but the fact that I only had to try on one dress brings me to my second piece of advice.
2. Come prepared with pictures.
Even if the boutique doesn't carry the specific dress you saw online that you fell head-over-heels for, bring in a picture and they might just pull out something even better.
That was my experience. The dress that I showed my attendant was an ivory-colored lace number, and the one she found in the shop for me was similarly ivory and lace, but with a slightly different top half that will soon be altered so it's not quite as low-cut.
Even if you've shopped around online for a bit and haven't found something you're absolutely in love with, don't get discouraged. That's how I felt when I was just beginning the process: everything I saw was either too fancy, too modern, too Pinterest-y or just not me. I wanted something simple, but timeless and elegant, and it was a total fluke (or, I guess, a good marketing strategy) that I just happened to come across an Instagram ad for the bridal line of my dreams in the very moment that I was actively searching for a dress online (while intermittently scrolling through Instagram). By the way, that particular dress line is here. I wish I could post pictures of the specific dress I chose, but that'll have to wait for the big day.
Just browse around for what you might like, pin dresses you're even somewhat into on your Pinterest board or do it the old fashioned way, printing them out and sticking them in a wedding notebook, noting what it is specifically that you like about each dress. Maybe even write down a few words that would describe your dream dress -- romantic, A-line, lightweight, vintage, trendy, etc., etc., etc. -- then when visiting your first bridal boutique, show them everything you've dreamed up.
3. Stay open-minded.
I know that not everyone's going to be like me and end up getting married in the first dress they try on. In fact, I wish I could say I tried on hundreds upon hundreds of dresses before actually saying yes to a dress, because "the more, the merrier" is much better advice than, "just go with the first one!" That is terrible advice, and absolutely not what I'm endorsing. I just got lucky.
Seriously, if you're unsure, try on hundreds more dresses. If you really love a dress and can envision yourself standing at the altar with your partner while wearing it, then that's probably "the one." You don't have to cry. You don't have to shriek "this is it!" And you certainly don't have to jump up and down next to a sign that says "I said yes to the dress" at the boutique owner's request for a Boomerang that will then immediately go on the shop's Instagram (again, I beg you to please follow tip #1). You just have to love it, and love yourself in it.
I know I found the right dress because I love it, I love myself in it, and whenever I show people pictures, their first response is usually "that's so you!" And then I'm like, thank you -- because if this dress that I love so much is so me, then style-wise, I must be doing something right. Stay true to yourself!
As I've said before, I'm getting married -- almost exactly a year from today, in fact -- when I myself have never been to a wedding before. So the planning process is especially intimidating; until now, I've had absolutely no idea where to begin. Should we make a guest list first? When do we need to decide on our venue? Are artisanal cupcakes always this expensive?
I'm sure the overwhelming prospect of planning such a huge event isn't exclusive to me, and even seasoned wedding crashers start to stress out the first day post-engagement. Whether you're inviting 500 guests or limiting attendance to immediate family only, the pressure is on. Tradition holds that this is supposed to be the most special day of your life, or whatever, second only to childbirth and maybe your Disney World honeymoon. If you and your guests don't have the absolute time of your lives, you failed! Obviously that's not true, but it can feel that way sometimes. Especially if you can't afford a wedding planner -- guess what? You're a wedding planner now.
I'm lucky enough to live in a beach town where couples come from all over the East Coast to marry. There's lots of wedding services in this region, which is certainly a positive thing, but it also adds another element of doubt: how do I know I'm getting the best services for my vision and for my budget?
That's where the expos, conventions and bridal shows come in. In January, when I was freshly engaged, I started doing a little research and found that there was an annual bridal show in Ocean City. I immediately ordered my tickets, which totally wasn't necessary because they were for sale at the door day-of, but I was just so excited that my prayers had been kind of answered; some of the peninsula's top wedding services and vendors would be gathered in one place, and I'd get to interact with them face-to-face instead of staring at a screen or leafing through a brochure.
That brings me to what I've discovered to be the ideal first step in the wedding planning process:
Take advantage of the expos!
Because unless you work in the business yourself, you probably won't immediately know exactly which florist, caterer and hairdresser is going to suit your specific needs. Besides getting advice from trusted and experienced friends and family, the bridal show/wedding expo/'bout-to-be-married convention/whatever you want to call it is the best way to start making local contacts and getting ideas.
I attended the Ocean City Bridal Expo, hosted by Rox Weddings at Seacrets Jamaica USA, on April 8. My fiancé and I met up with my family there, and we spent hours at the different tables where we talked to vendors, sampled finger foods and collected business cards. There was a fashion show that featured suits for the grooms and groomsmen and dresses for the brides, bridesmaids and mothers-of-the-bride. The vendors raffled off prizes, and I won a five-piece luggage set courtesy of Bethany Travel (although I promise I would have written this raving review of the bridal show even if I hadn't won anything).
Even if you're not sold on any of the particular services offered at whichever bridal show you attend, you'll certainly leave with a clearer vision of how you want your wedding to be. So before you pick a date, check when the next wedding expo is coming to Ocean City, or wherever it is you're getting married (although I, of course, highly recommend OC).
After that, download The Knot. It's an app, and it's not related to expos or conventions per se, but it has been extremely helpful to me in organizing a checklist/timeline of all the things I need to do, by when. Then after that, ask any recently-married friends and family members which vendors they'd recommend, in addition to how they stayed sane through it all. Then finally, when the day comes, hit the bridal show, sip a cocktail or two and collect oodles of information that'll help you further down the line.
By Traci of Beach Bride Chic
As a fairly new Beach Wedding company, our first wedding expo was a great introduction to what our beach brides are looking for!
We just loved hearing the "oohs and ahhs" from people with large smiles on their faces as they looked at our novelty items, like the wet bikini bags for beach honeymoons and the handmade boutonnieres made from recycled wine corks. Being such a niche company, it was nice to stand out but also learn from the masters of the wedding industry who have been creatively planning local weddings for years.
There was a beautiful set up by BB Wed from Barefoot Beach Bride, who also won top placement in the Ocean City, Maryland St. Patrick's Day Parade the day before the expo (it was a very busy weekend). They have some great connections to some of the most beautiful places on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware.
We were also able to try great food and desserts, of course! The tuna poke from Taste Events was our absolute favorite. The tuna poke tasted like it was straight out of the ocean across the street. Taste Events has award-winning chefs that help every bride and groom pick stellar items, especially when it comes to coastal cuisine. Harrison Group was there as well to show all their beautiful hotel locations, where views of the ocean and bay are possible in every picture.
This expo definitely made us feel welcome in the local wedding community because everyone was helpful and appreciated our individuality. Helping each bride in many different ways is what we're here for, and it's easy to help them here thanks to our beautiful water views and clean sandy beaches.
Beach Bride Chic started because we are from the area, born and raised, so every time we saw a beach wedding it was always beautiful because of the gorgeous backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
Thanks to Premier Bride for putting on their 6th annual Bridal Expo this year. I know we felt welcome and organized for our first show. Even one of the lucky brides who attended won a free honeymoon to Hawaii, a getaway anyone would want to win. The setup and clean-up time was worth it when we had happy soon-to-be brides and views of the ocean and bay on both sides!