Ask A Wedding Expert: Seaside Ceremony Tips

by Natasha Wolff | April 5, 2017 4:04 pm

Although it may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of destination beach weddings, Long Branch, New Jersey, offers the beauty of a seaside wedding with minimal travel time, lying just one hour away from both New York City and Philadelphia. Avenue[1], a popular wedding location choice in the historic town, gives couples a variety of options for their beachside festivities: from a ceremony alongside the water to nuptials atop a spacious roof deck. Nancy Mascera, as the venue’s events manager, has extensive experience dealing with every type of seaside wedding. Here, she shares how to create a beach theme that isn’t kitschy and reveals what couples often overlook.

How did you get started in wedding and event planning?

I got into the business of event planning when I was in college. As a part-time job to make a little extra money after my classes, I became event planner’s assistant at a venue nearby my school. After discovering how much I enjoyed helping bride-to-be’s plan their big day, I was hooked!

What do people overlook when planning a beach wedding?

When planning a beach wedding, a lot of my clients commonly overlook the fact that whether they like it or not, Mother Nature will be invited to their wedding – meaning that bride-to-be’s often tend to blindly believe that their wedding day will be a moderate 72 degrees, sunny, and have absolutely no wind. Unfortunately, at a beachfront venue located directly on the Atlantic ocean such as Avenue, that is sometimes just simply not the case. I like to remind my clients from the moment they book with us to keep the weather in mind; hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst!

What do you love most about beach weddings?

As with any wedding, what I love most about beach weddings is seeing the final product of everyone’s hard work on the big day. The added bonus of having a beach wedding is not only seeing your work come to life in guiding the bride and groom through the biggest day of their lives, but doing it amongst the ambience and sense of relaxation that only a picturesque beach can provide. I think other event planners would agree that the calming effects of the beach definitely help sooth any potentially stress the bride may be feeling!


Katie Stoops Photography


The best time of year for a beach wedding in Long Branch would definitely be in the prime months of summer, July or August. This time frame means that the area is bustling with lively beach-goers and summer residents that create a fun environment perfect for weddings. And the summer weather makes a beach wedding at Avenue an image of perfection! Couples always say they love the ability to host a private beach wedding and afterwards walking half a mile down the shore to enjoy the summer beach scene unique to our community of tourists and summer residents.

How do you recommend showing the seaside theme through decor?

Rather than imitating the beachside theme through decorations meant for a fun-in-the-sun themed sweet-sixteen party, go with neutral palettes and lightweight tapestries, ribbons, and other fabrics to emanate a beach presence. Skip the common decorations you normally see, like seashells and jars of sand.

What is your #1 piece of advice for the big day?

Even though it’s the biggest day of your life, it’s so important not to forget to have fun!  Too often I have clients that are so invested into making everything perfect and ensuring that their guests are having a great time, that they forget to enjoy themselves. The very last thing my team and I want is for our brides to look back on their wedding day and remember how stressed they were. You worry about reciting your vows correctly, and we’ll take care of the rest!

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