It’s a question I get on pretty much a daily basis. What goes into planning beach weddings in St. Joseph, MI? With so many couples looking to take advantage of our gorgeous southwest Michigan beaches, let’s go over some of the basics.
Permits & Permissions
I think the most surprising thing about hosting beach weddings in St. Joseph, is that you don’t have to get a permit. The beaches in this area are public locations and can therefore be used by anyone as long as you follow the beach’s rules. This has its pros & cons of course. The positive side is that there is no extra cost associated with a beach wedding ceremony site fee. You also don’t have to check with the county or city for availability. However, this convenience comes with a downside – if you aren’t renting a pavilion on the beach, you cannot reserve space. Basically you show up at the beach of your choosing & “stake your claim”. Don’t let this scare you off though. Many couples have gone this route and generally speaking, other beach-goers are respectful of your wedding wishes and will give you space.
Choosing a Beach
We are fortunate enough to have access to several breathtaking spots for Michigan beach weddings. Through our experience at The Veranda we have found that some are more conducive to a beach wedding than others. The beach you choose really depends on what is most important to you for your ceremony. Silver Beach and Lion’s Park Beach are wonderful locations because they are within walking distance of downtown St. Joseph. So if you are planning beach weddings in St. Joseph and want guests to be able to walk to the ceremony these are your two best bets. The drawback of these two beaches is that they are the more populated beaches in the area. So you may find a few extra strangers in your pictures.
If you don’t mind having guests drive a bit (or hiring transportation for them!) then we suggest one of these beaches: Tiscornia Beach, Jean Klock Beach, or Rocky Gap Beach. All three of these beaches are within a 5-10 minute drive – so not a great distance to go, but certainly not walking distance to downtown. All three also boast perfect ceremony locations and photo opp spots. If I had to choose a personal favorite I would opt for Tiscornia Beach for a few simple reasons. It is only a 3 minute drive from downtown, you will get the St. Joseph lighthouse in your background, and it tends to be a family beach – which generally means more respectful fellow beach-goers. Here’s a pic from a recent Tiscornia beach wedding:
This category could actually end up being a whole other blog post in itself! There are quite a few pieces that go into the logistics of planning a Michigan beach wedding. Some considerations are: equipment (chair, arbor) rental, parking, guest comfort, sound, staking out your territory, etc. The list can certainly go on. If you are a do-it-yourself couple and will be undertaking this process on your own, my best suggestion is to establish a team of helpers. You will need someone to claim your ceremony site in the morning and await your chair delivery. You will need to discuss with your rental company, in depth, descriptions of where chairs and other items are to be delivered and how far they will actually bring items onto the beach. You will need someone to set up chairs and other decorations. And often times you will need some extra guest escorts. They can help direct guests to the right location and also guide guests that may have some difficulty navigating the sand.
Beach Ceremony Coordination
If all of the logistics are overwhelming for you, or even if you just want to avoid having to deal with this on your wedding day, there is plenty of help out there! In my opinion, spending money on a beach wedding coordinator is one of the best decisions you will make. A planner will already be familiar with the local beaches, will have thought through (and have answers for) the logistics for you, and will be the go-to person on your wedding day so you don’t have to think about anything other than the reason you are there to begin with!
There certainly is so much more information, tips, suggestions, etc. that we have to offer! So if you are planning sbeach weddings in St. Joseph, let us know and our super talented Veranda Coordinator will be happy to discuss this process with you!
THANK YOU! to all our wonderful photographer friends who so graciously share their photos with us!
Have Fun Planning!