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Tips for Throwing a Fabulous Bash at the Beach

The beach, with all its views and atmosphere, is a spectacular place to throw a party. After living on the beach over a decade, I’ve had a few events there from beach bonfires to birthday parties to more formal affairs. All those parties in the sand taught a few hard lessons on what a unique challenges having an on-site event on the beach present. Here’s my short list of things to be prepared for to meet the requirements of having a party at the beach:

Be prepared for the weather. That means a plan A, B, and C. Temperate weather can turn hot or cold. There’s rain to contend with. Heavy wind is also always a possibility. Think about what your back-up plans for all these things may be when you start your planning. You also need to be prepared to keep your guests comfortable as much as you can if the weather is extreme and you aren’t cancelling the party.

Watch the tide. Do you need a wide swath of beach or can you set up on a thin strip of sand? Be aware of what the tide does to your party spot and check the charts before planning your party date and time. Nothing worse than a soggy party rescued from the waves.

Weight for the wind. It doesn’t matter how nice a day it is on the ocean, there is always going to be a bit of a sea breeze, and some days it feels more like a gale force. Plan your table settings and other set-ups with the wind as a consideration. Weigh down the napkins and tablecloths. Any light-weight decorations will fly away if they aren’t securely fastened or anchored. Plan for décor that is heavy, tied up or tied down. The wind can also be used as an asset – streamers look beautiful blowing along in the wind!

It’s hot out there. Yes, you have to take the sunshine into account when you plan your menu, especially if you’re having a day-time event during the summer. Any little bit of warmth is going to melt buttercream, make chocolate drippy and soften anything that needs to stay cold in a hurry. Choose menu items that are more likely to keep in warm weather.

Sand monsters. No getting around it, you’re going to get sand in EVERYTHING. If you’re having food at an event, keep around some bottles of water, wet naps or towels to be rid of sandy bits for your guests when you eat. Covers for any food set out is also a fantastic idea; the wind blows sand into food a little at a time.

Equipment transport. I don’t know of many beaches that come with their own tables, chairs, blankets or any of the other necessities for a party. Think about the cost of having a rental company come out to set all these things up for you, or the labor involved and manpower and vehicle you’re going to need to haul everything out to the sand, especially if your party is large. You may need to minimize some aspect of your party in order to meet time frames for set up and take down.

Lights at night. As long as there are no active sea turtle nests by your party spot, you’ll need some lighting to see at night at a party in the sand. People will want to see what they are eating, and you’ll need the light to help with clean-up.

Garbage disposal. Plan on having your own trash receptacles available for the party; events tend to generate quite a bit of garbage and trash cans on the sand are in short supply.

Leave only footprints. Think about using lots of “green” items that are biodegradable at your party in case things don’t make it to the garbage. And after your event, plan for time to do a thorough clean-up so all you leave is footprints in the sand when you’re gone.

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Meet our Writer
Jennifer Geddes
Celebrations Writer

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has hosted Christmas cookie swaps, New Year's open houses, Thanksgiving for 22, and all manner of dinner parties in her Manhattan and Ghent, NY homes.

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