Beach Wedding Happiness

Beach wedding ceremonies are such a joy to perform. What could be better than a cute beach wedding arch resplendent with seashell adornments and sounds of waves crashing in the background?

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Conch shells and orchids

Conch shells, orchids and starfish adorned this beach theme wedding at the seaside. These were the table centerpieces.

Wedding arch for beach

Wedding arch on the beach decorated with seashells is oh-so-adorable for your romantic seashore wedding.

That Wedding Lady Beach Wedding

That Wedding Lady getting ready to perform a beach wedding ceremony in St. Augustine, FL.

Benches and wedding arch set up on the beach.

Beach wedding arch with pews

Beach wedding arch with pews all set up on the beach waiting for its bride and groom.

Seaside wedding arch

Beach wedding arch also called a pergola.

A beach wedding arch which has no arch is actually called a “pergola.”

Beach Wedding Arch

Pergola Wedding Arch with Seashells

Beach wedding arch or a pergola wedding arch all decorated with seashells for a creative and unique look.

Wedding arch on the beach - close up of shell decorations.

Wedding arch on the beach – close up of shell decorations.

The beach wedding arch closeup detail with seashell decorations.

Sand Pouring Unity for Beach Weddings

Sand Pouring Unity at Your Beach Wedding

This is a photo of the beach wedding sand pouring unity after the ceremony.

Cute decoration for beach weddings

Beach wedding decoration tip

Cute beach wedding decorations

Chautauqua Beach House

Chautauqua Beach House, St. Augustine Beach, FL was host to the bride and groom over the weekend and where the reception was held.

Chautauqau Beach House, St. Augustine, FL is a beach home rental so once I’ve obtained the contact info for them from the bride I will put them here.

The Chautauqua Beach House was a fantastic location in St. Augustine. You could view the beach wedding ceremony location 150 yards away down on the beach from the porch. This was very convenient for timing since caterers and DJs can keep visual tabs on client progress and execute tasks based on what they see. The parking was a tough situation though. You’re best bet will be to tell guests to park one block west of A1A and walk over. (Seriously…you will be thankful I gave you this tip. Parking was a problem.)

Seashells and orchids were the table decorations at this beach wedding.

Cute beach wedding reception table decorations

A closer look at the tables. Client rented tables, chairs and benches which were  delivered and set up.

Mazel Tov Jewish Ceremony Tip

The final step in a Jewish wedding ceremony is the traditional stomping of the glass. The last thing you want on your special day is a trip to the ER so to safely perform this step place a light bulb in a tightly tied cloth bag instead of using a piece of glassware. The result… large glass shards, no flying splinters, guaranteed breakage and best of all….no pesky bleeding.

Jewish Wedding Ceremony Glass Breaking


Good for you for reading this article. You are obviously an urbane, hip and very cool person looking for ways to move your wedding forward in an eco-friendly lifestyle.

This is super duper important when having a ceremony at the beach. Beach weddings are so romantic and lovely. It just kills when I see the leftover garbage floating out into the ocean. Big no-nos on Florida beaches are balloon releases (totally verboten in Florida now) and flower petals thrown by flower girls. Do not use paper, fabric or real flower petals (pesticides = bad.) You’re at the beach so why not have her sprinkle shells instead?  Also, be especially vigilant about plastics (bags, etc.) that can get blown away.

Here are some great environmentally friendly ways to conduct your special day courtesy of

Eco-Friendly Wedding Ideas

Environmentally Safe Wedding Ideas and Facts

The Haskell Building – Wedding Venue Spotlight

Wedding ceremonies at the Haskell Building in downtown Jacksonville, FL (Duval County) located directly on the St. John’s river are always fun to do. The location is spectacular and it’s the only venue directly on the riverbank; it has the best view of Jacksonville from this perspective. With a gorgeous arch outside and a fabulous deco inspired setting inside, you couldn’t ask for a more lovely location to take your vows.

The extremely capable Karen Fritts runs the RiverFront Cafe which is the event arm for the facility and is just delightful to work with. A true pro, she oversees the management of your event leaving you to focus on more important things (like getting beautified.) For contact details, scroll down below the pictures (and make sure you let them know you found them here at That Wedding Lady.)

Haskell Building Arch

Haskell Building Arch – Myra and Jason

Haskell Building Fountain

Haskell Building Fountain in Downtown Jacksonville, FL on Riverside Drive.

Haskell Building

Jacksonville’s The Haskell Building

The Haskell Building
RiverFront Cafe & Catering
111 Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Karen Fritts, Catering Manager


That Wedding Lady
Jacksonville, FL – St. Augustine, FL – Amelia Island, FL

Wedding Locations & Venues Spotlight – the Keeler Property

The Keeler Property is a wedding venue location idea in west Jacksonville (and I do mean west.) It’s so worth the drive though. A fantastically gorgeous property situated on a plat of land with a rustic barn, reception hall, large pond, small pond, photography platform and tons of space.

The Keeler Property
17225 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL, 32234
(904) 342-0012

Hint – Click the photo to see a full size version

Rustic Barn for Wedding Ceremonies

Rustic Barn for Wedding Ceremonies in west Jacksonville, FL. The Keeler Property

Reception Hall for Wedding Ceremonies on The Keeler Property

Reception Hall for Wedding Ceremonies on The Keeler Property

Hint – Click the photo to see a full size version

Keeler Property Reception Hall Interior

Keeler Property Reception Hall Interior

Keeler Property Reception Hall Interior

Table Set Up Option in the Reception Hall on The Keeler Property

  • Wedding ceremonies take place in a rustic barn open at both ends and sitting over a small pond. It has a photography platform on one end perfect for post wedding photography and lending itself to creative photos.
  • Tons of parking (on grass and also a concrete section for handicapped needs)
  • Faux barn reception hall. Painted red and white the structure mimics a larger barn and can house a huge party. Open also a both ends and big enough to drive vehicles through.
  • Complete kitchen for catering with doors closing it from the main area.
  • Beautifully appointed women’s and men’s restrooms.
  • 2 room bridal preparation suite

Note – There is also another structure on the property in the same general region as the ceremony barn which matches the decor of the reception hall. It is actually the property owner’s home but well out of the way of the action and naturally groomed to fit in with the surroundings. I have met the owner before and he’s a delightful person who capitalized on an opportunity to offer something out of the ordinary in wedding ceremony locations.

That Wedding Lady – – 32256 – 904-583-6688

Wedding Ceremony Rehearsals – A What to Expect Guide

Whether your rehearsal is for a wedding ceremony, a gay wedding rehearsal, a vow renewal rehearsal or commitment ceremony rehearsal, the process is identical. As a wedding officiant serving greater Jacksonville, FL, I’ve seen all manner of wedding ceremony rehearsals at the venues I perform at and over time developed my own little system.

wedding ceremony rehearsal

Groom signs the registry book at his wedding ceremony rehearsal


Dais – where everyone in the bridal party stands while we do the ceremony (in churches they refer to this area as the altar)
Processional – the bridal party promenade up to the dais
Recessional – the bridal party exiting the dais after the event

The Rehearsal:

It’s easier to understand how to perform the processional and recessional if you better understand the ultimate destination (the dais)  which is why I start all rehearsals with getting everyone placed where they will stand at the dais.We cover a number of items at the dais first before setting up the getting there and leaving part.

While at the dais, we’ll talk about spacing, various duties of the attendants to the bride and groom, “what happens when…” discussions and I’ll take you through the parts and pieces of your ceremony. Some of the things I cover are below:

  • Passing rings: The bride or groom makes a cup with their hand and the appointed ring passer person (that’s a technical term:)  places it in the cup. If the ring falls, no one moves. The person giving the ring to the bride or groom retrieves the ring and we proceed.
  • Taking vows: The whole time I’m asking the question which results in the answer “I do,” I will be looking down at my paper. You know it’s time to answer when I look up at you. By giving you this visual cue, we avoid premature answers inevitably followed by awkward laughter.
  • Giving the bride away: Whether it’s dad, or brother Jim or your BFF, the bridal escort brings her almost BUT NOT ALL THE WAY up to me at the dais. I say opening remarks. I ask who brings this woman. The escort gives answer, kisses bride, groom walks out to meet them, shakes escorts hand, escort WALKS IN FRONT AND AROUND BRIDE to sit down (avoids tripping over the dress) then the groom escorts the bride the last few feet to me. Maid of honor straightens dress then we begin.
  • End of ceremony cues: We set a visual cue to use here which I communicate to the DJ and photographer the day of the wedding so we achieve a nice polished finish.
  • Placement and spacing: We’ll create visual marks to use so everyone knows exactly where they will be standing. We also cover spacing, ie., everyone should stand equidistant to the person in front of them (about half a body space) EXCEPT maid of honor who needs to leave extra space to accommodate bride’s dress and pivoting activities. It is very important to work with the folks on the groom’s side as women are born with an innate sense of perfect placement while the men tend to look like they are waiting in line to buy beer.

Once we finish the body of the ceremony, we’ll set up the recessional and then actually exit the dais according to the plan we just set up.

After this, we talk about the processional and determine in what order the bridal party is going to promenade to the dais. After the discussion, I let you work on getting everyone lined up per the plan we set while I prep any flower girls and ring bearers using age appropriate language and instructions. Once I’m done instructing them, I place them in the processional line you have set up.

Now the fun starts. We will execute the rehearsal just as if it’s the wedding. This will allow us to get the spacing and pacing correct. Iron out any glitches, and generally just get everyone comfortable with the process. If the execution goes smoothly then we’re done. If it’s not polished enough, we make the adjustments needed and then run through the whole shebang a second time.

It normally only takes once although larger bridal parties or ceremonies with lots of moving parts may take 2-3 run throughs before the bride is comfortable with the performance.

Things to think about for the rehearsal:

  • If you are keen on using a specific song(s) in your promenade BRING THE SONG(S) WITH YOU so we can practice to it otherwise we won’t know if it’s too short for the entire procession to get from point A to point B.
  • Rehearsals for wedding ceremonies, please remember to bring your photo IDs and the marriage license (gay marriages eliminate this step.) Depending on time, I will do the little paperwork I have before or after the rehearsal and get it out of the way.

These are only some of the high points covered in wedding ceremony rehearsals I run but should give you an idea of my approach. The important thing to remember is this, if you have a perfect wedding, that’s great. You’ll remember you had a perfect wedding. If something goes wrong, don’t lament. Twenty-five years later you’ll say, “and remember, the flower girl got halfway down the aisle and threw her basket down and ran away….”  Better stories result from not perfect weddings. Don’t put pressure on yourself. Just let it happen. No matter what…’s gonna be perfect. I promise!!!

That Wedding Lady – – 904-583-6688 – Jacksonville, FL/St. Augustine, FL/Amelia Island, FL

Beach Wedding – Wedding Photo Picture Idea

Beach weddings offer a plethora of photography ideas but one of the best is getting each of you with your special date written in the sand. The only problem with this is it isn’t easy to do. Sticks gouge the sand piling the extra up on each side of the character you are writing. Grrr…

beach wedding photography ideas

Cute way to get your wedding date and messages written in the sand for your beach wedding ceremony.

Here is the easiest way to get your wedding date, special message, bride and groom label “written” in the sand so you can get that perfect photo. Buy some children’s plastic numbers and simply (and neatly) press them into the sand. I found these at Amazon but I’m pretty certain you can find them in the dollar store too.