Many destination weddings are held outside, specifically on the beach. There are couples who come to New York City as their destination, and those are the couples I often work with, but I have also coached people through planning a beach ceremony before they head to their wedding. When I have a couple planning a wedding outside, there are a few things to consider.

1. Sound: Consider whether there will be waves, nearby city sounds, or in many cases for me, the “destination wedding” is in New York City and the sounds can be the overhead subway roaring by! Natural sounds deserve natural breaks: allow the place you chose to be the place it is, and don’t fight it. That said, a microphone setup from your DJ or the venue can be a big help to help your guests hear you between the natural sounds of your space. Talk to your officiant about how you want to handle the breaks. With some couples we make a joke about it  (saying “Welcome to New York!” as the subway goes by), and with some we just take a short, quiet break. Consider this when you choose readings and your vows as well.

2. Length of ceremony: If guests are sitting on rocks, or standing, or in bare feet with waves lapping at their toes, you might want to consider keeping the ceremony on the shorter side. Some of my most meaningful ceremonies have been quite short.

3. Vows: When you choose or write your vows, think about recognizing your experience and choosing to be in this beautiful space as a reflection of how you feel about one another; your future together, how you feel when you are together. Why did you choose this place? Was it a first vacation, a dream spot, the place you feel happiest together? I am shying away from using the word “theme,” but you do want to nod to the fact that this was a very special place to you for one reason or another. Your guests will love to hear about that.

4. Show gratitude within your ceremony for those who made such efforts to share this time with you: Every wedding comes with lots of planning and sometimes expense for the guests. When you have chosen a destination wedding, one nice thing is that you are surrounded truly by the most important people in your life. These are people who would not have missed this moment with you, no matter what. Take some time to thank them. Turn to everyone and make eye contact as you are able and have a moment of true gratitude.

5. Make sure to videotape your ceremony, to share with those who couldn’t make the trip!