Ashley Copeland

Beach Weddings

Ashley Copeland
Beach Weddings

Beach Weddings - A Personal Story

Beach weddings have always inspired me.  They seem almost magical, especially if there is a wood arbor, some flowing linen, and a sunset. Weddings on the beach are so pure, with two people standing before God’s beautiful creation, waves crashing, seagulls flying overhead, and the sun setting beyond the horizon into a bank of pink clouds. I love it all!

For many years my girlfriends and I would come down to the beach and watch weddings from our balcony and do our girl thing…”Awwww,” “How sweet,” “How beautiful,” and “I want that.”


I knew from an early age that I wanted a beach wedding. I never dreamed of a church ceremony really, just a beach. And in June 2009, at the age of 34, my dreams came true. I married my best friend, barefoot, on the same beach where I had been vacationing since I was born. I was escorted by my dad down a sand aisle lined with purple roses to the Josh Grobin song “You Raise Me Up.” I thought about the words of that song and the way that my dad had raised me up and how he was giving me to my husband to support and raise me up for as long as we both shall live. And yes, there was a wood arbor draped with white flowing linen. My husband and father-in-law labored in love over building that “THING.” (That “THING” almost found itself in the ocean after the ceremony, but it survived – and now is in our front garden holding a baby swing.)

The breeze was strong on our wedding day, but the weather was just perfect. My veil blew in the wind. I wore my mom’s veil, which was extra special. My dress was designed by Heidi Elnora, and it was the right fit for a beach wedding. I felt like a princess. My girls wore mango, to-the-knee dresses and carried bouquets of contrasting purple floral arrangements and sunflowers.

The groomsmen were handsome in their kaki linen pants and white linen button up shirts with their sleeves rolled up (another dream of mine). Jon wore white pants and a blue linen shirt to set himself apart as the groom. (His sleeves were rolled up as well). No one wore shoes. Even my sainted grandmother came down the sand aisle barefoot.

My favorite part was leaving the reception on a boat, walking with champagne in our sand dollar toasting flutes through a line of sparklers. I might have shed some tears when my reception was over because – well… honestly it was my dream day and it was everything I imagined and more – so I didn’t want to leave or have it be over.  As my wise mother told me, “It’s not over; it’s the beginning of a new life.”


And here I am seven years later, writing this post on the same balcony on which I would watch weddings with my friends and dream of my own wedding. I am surrounded by my own family now, and we play on the beach where my wood arbor stood on June 6, 2009, where I vowed to love my husband forever. Two sweet little boys, five years old and three years old, are now in the story of my life that God is so perfectly writing. 

Clients have asked me what the drawbacks are to having a beach wedding. There are some, of course – primarily the need for a Plan B in the event of bad weather. But for my two cents worth, the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot.

If you’re asking me whether I favor beach weddings, I suggest that if the beach means as much to you as it has to me, at least think about crafting your fairytale on one.