For some couples the most romantic place on earth is the beach. Why not get married there?

From the water’s edge in Santori, Greece, to the pristine shores of Tofino on Vancouver Island, beach weddings continue to be a popular alternative to more traditional weddings.

Beach weddings appeal to couples looking to cut costs, but are also popular with couples with extravagant budgets.

Wedding Planner Kathy Piech-Lukas, owner of Your Dream Day, a special events planning company in Cincinnati, Ohio, says she’s seen some fabulous beach weddings since she started her business six years ago.

She says most are a little more on the casual side, with less formal attire.

“Most girls wear sun dresses and guys wear khakis,” she says.

Although some couples choose to have their guests stand during the ceremony, Piech-Luckas says chairs are also a nice touch. However, she cautions against using the ever-popular Chiavari chairs, which will sink into the sand and possibly break.

“Couples should use white Samsonite folding chairs or white wooden chairs for a beach wedding,” she says.

Another helpful tip for beach brides is to make sure a sound system is rented.

“For any outdoor wedding with more than 40 people, you need amplification – especially on the lake,” she says. “Make sure you have a microphone and generators to run the power and make sure musicians who are outdoors have amplification.”

Outdoor garb

Since going shoeless on the beach is the norm, Piech-Lukas says that some brides opt for a “shoe valet” so that guests don’t have to worry about getting sand in their shoes.

“Guests check in their shoes and receive tags to reclaim their shoes after the wedding,” she says, adding that guests also receive a pre-moistened towel to wash their feet before putting their shoes back on.

And what kinds of shoes are the brides putting back on? Sandy Trimmer, manager at Bridal Chateau Inc. in Williamsville, NY, located just outside Buffalo, says flip flops are all the rage for brides having outdoor weddings – whether they are tying the knot on a beach, or in a park.

“They’ve got a wedge heel which is great for outdoor weddings because it’s easier to walk around. You don’t have to worry about your heels getting stuck in the ground,” she says, adding that the bridal flip flops at Bridal Chateau Inc. retail for $29.95 and are as “comfortable as slippers.”

The flip flops come in ivory, satin and white and are dressed up with beads and sequins.

According to Trimmer, some outdoor brides still want all the glamour of an extravagant gown, but most opt for something less formal.

“A lot of girls are looking for something simpler, with less beadwork. They also want something straighter and not as full,” she says, adding that chiffon and silk taffeta are popular fabrics for outdoor weddings because they are lighter than many other fabrics and don’t require as much “babysitting” throughout the day.

Trimmer says half of brides choose not to wear a veil. Those who choose to wear one often go for the short variety – especially for outdoor weddings.

“The forties netting is really popular. It’s very pretty,” she says, adding that the vintage look is also popular for gowns.

Trimmer says that perhaps the biggest trend – not only for beach weddings, but weddings in general, is that the rules for what not to wear are far more relaxed than they used to be.

“It’s pretty much the bride’s choice these days. There aren’t a lot of do’s and don’ts,” she says.

But there’s one rule that beach brides should always follow: Have a back up plan.

Mother Nature is as unpredictable as she is beautiful. And the last thing you want is rain to extinguish your wedding day bliss.