Planning a Topsail Island Beach Wedding in 10 Easy (and Stress-Free) Steps

Topsail Island's 26 miles of pristine beaches offer a picturesque coastal backdrop for one of the biggest and best days of your life: your wedding. North Carolina's gorgeous coastline offers breathtaking scenery that includes sandy beach dunes lined with sea grass, spectacularly brilliant coastal sunsets, sparkling crystalline waters and panoramic island scenery. Topsail Island is a stunning wedding destination and a wedding photographer's dream.

Whether the bride and groom decide to hold their nuptials right on the sand or in one of Topsail Islands oceanfront venues, the end result is a wedding in paradise. Planning a wedding on Topsail Island is easy when you have a beautiful location, amazing local resources and vendors, and wonderful people to work with. So breathe easy, you'll find all of those things here. Follow these 10 easy steps and your Topsail Island wedding planning will be a breeze.

1. Plan (way) ahead.

The sooner you begin your wedding planning, the better. Not only will you have peace of mind knowing that you have time to breathe, you'll also have the advantage of finding the best deals, the flexibility to iron out the little details or issues that may arise, and the security of having a doable timeline for all of your beach wedding preparations.

2. Get to know Topsail Island.

You are choosing Topsail Island for a wedding destination for one of three reasons: 1. You live here and love it. 2.You've vacationed here and love it. 3. You've seen, heard or read about our lovely island and think it would make a perfect place to hold your wedding ceremony and reception. If you fall into category #3, then we welcome you and highly encourage you to come and get to know Topsail Island for yourself before you begin your planning. Spend a week or two with us and get a bird's eye view of what our little piece of paradise has to offer.

It would also be perfect timing if you could be here in February for the Pender Wedding Expo hosted locally. Everything you need for your wedding and reception planning all in one place. It's an amazing resource, so take advantage of it if you can.

From there, get to know the specific rules and regulations of our Topsail area beaches. This is really important for planning purposes. Click here for a quick summary of Topsail Island's beach wedding rules and regs. You can also visit each of Topsail Island's town websites (North Topsail Beach, Surf City and Topsail Beach) for more detailed information.

3. Assemble a tentative guest list.

You'll definitely want to have a ballpark figure of how many people you're inviting to your Topsail Island beach wedding. Many of the next steps in the wedding planning process require some idea of how many people you plan to accommodate on your big day. If you're planning this from out-of-town, you'll want to consider sending an email to your prospective guests to inquire who is willing and able to make the trip.

4. Hire a local wedding planner.

Hiring a wedding planner will save you so much time and stress, particularly if you're coming in from out-of-town. Let one of our local wedding professionals help you in the planning and preparations of your wedding so that nothing is overlooked. They know the island, the vendors, the facilities and the process better than anyone.

The Topsail Chamber of Commerce has an excellent article on planning a destination wedding on Topsail Island, which includes links to local wedding planners and more. It's worth reading and bookmarking!

If you'd prefer to do the planning yourself, be sure to have a structured plan and timeline of what needs to be done and when. Leave room for flexibility and unforeseen circumstances that may arise. Consider enlisting the help of one of your most organized friends or members of the wedding party to assist you if needed. A little backup never hurt anyone.

5. Choose a reception venue.

Where would you like to celebrate after the beach ceremony? You can keep it close and convenient by having a simple reception right on the beach. Or you can use one of the local facilities to host your wedding reception such as Soundside Park, the Surf City Welcome Center, The Assembly Building in Topsail Beach, North Shore Country Club in Sneads Ferry, and St. Regis ballroom facilities in North Topsail Beach. For an on-the-water reception, talk to the Belle of Topsail about a dinner reception cruise.

Some of Topsail Island's larger, majestic beach vacation rentals can serve double duty as the place that houses your family during their stay and the place where everyone gathers for the reception.

6. Find and secure a wedding officiant.

There are several Topsail area wedding officiants including Reverend Henry "Skip" Corbett, Reverend Angela Kelley, as well as wedding officiants in Wilmington, NC that service the Topsail area.

7. KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart).

Please remember that simple is best. It's easy to get overwhelmed and make things overcomplicated, especially when it involves one of the most important events of your life. Don't go crazy with an elaborate production. Keep it simple, keep it classy. The beach is a pretty laid back place, so follow its lead.

8. Have a Plan B.

Hosting a beach wedding means you have to be prepared for the "what-ifs". Have a backup plan if the weather becomes inclement. Have protection from the elements for your guests (and yourselves). If at all possible, have a backup location available if the need arises.

9. Be considerate of your guests.

A wedding on the beach is wonderfully romantic and idyllic. However, it's really important to be mindful of your guests. Will they be comfortable? Is there easy access for the elderly, handicapped, or those with small children? Is there respite available from the hot sun? Is your ceremony a reasonable length? What if it rains? There's a lot to think about, but the consideration of your guests is paramount, especially if they've traveled a long distance to be with you on your special day.

10. Arrive before your wedding day.

If you don't live on or near Topsail Island, it's best if you come early and have a few days' time here before the big day arrives. Not only will you have close, convenient access to wrap up any last minute details, but you'll also have some time to relax and get settled before all of the hustle and bustle of your wedding day ensues.

So easy, so stress-free! Follow these guidelines and you'll be well on your way to a beautiful beach wedding on Topsail Island. Cheers to love, marriage and beautiful beach weddings!

Do you have any tips and tricks to recommend for those planning a destination wedding on Topsail Island?

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