Arranging A Beach Wedding In Malta
The beaches of Malta can make the perfect backdrop for your wedding celebration. The characteristically rocky Mediterranean coastline and sparkling waters set a breath-taking, romantic scene for your big day. There are plenty of sandy beaches and rocky coves to choose from and a number of good local companies who can help secure beach permits as well as supply the perfect set-up and catering for your beach event. However, there are a number of factors you will need to take into consideration while planning your beach wedding. Below are some key questions that you should ask yourself before you get started.
Beach Wedding Checklist
Q: Are you envisaging having your actual ceremony on the beach?
If you’ve dreamed about a gloriously romantic ceremony on the beach, there’s one important fact you need to know; at present, you cannot legally marry on a public beach in Malta. You can have your reception or a blessing on the beach but you’d have to tie the knot in a registry office or alternative registrar-approved venue beforehand. That said, the rules are always changing so if you have a particular place in mind, it doesn’t hurt to apply for approval as un-licensed venues can be granted a wedding license in some cases.
Q: What time of year are you planning to hold your wedding?
While the weather will dictate the warmer months for your beach wedding, you should be mindful of the peak months for tourism in Malta. June, July and August (with an emphasis on August) are the busiest months of the year for Malta’s beaches. In these months it is more difficult to secure beach permits and get space cleared for daytime events. Hotels and independent vendors are very resistant to clearing sunbeds before 5pm and generally require 2 hours to clear them, which leaves little time for the set up of your reception. May and September are quieter months when the weather is still warm, albeit less reliable, and the beaches are much clearer with more amenable hoteliers.
Q: Have you sanity checked your dream against reality?
If you do opt for the reliably hot months of the peak season for your big day, make sure you sanity check your dream scenario. If you do secure a permit and area of beach, it is advised that you hire a policeman to keep the general public out of your event. The locals won’t always respect your privacy on a public beach and you are also likely to be surrounded by other party-goers having late BBQs accompanied by their ghetto blasters – perhaps not the idyllic, secluded and exclusive set up you had in mind? Choosing less popular beaches can help get you closer to your dream.
Q: Have you considered access issues when selecting your beach?
Some of the most stunning spots are secluded coves that are difficult to get to from land. While they may be your answer to an exclusive and more private beach wedding, you need to check that you can physically get your supplies to your chosen location. Decor and catering equipment is often bulky so you may need to think about an approach from the sea or adapting your set up accordingly if your heart is set on a particular beach with access issues. You should also work through logistics such as toilets – some more natural beaches do not have any so you may need to supply porta-loos or such like. Not very romantic but fundamental to your party!
Q: How quickly do you need to arrange your wedding?
Most events and catering suppliers in Malta work on fairly quick turn-arounds. However, if you are applying for beach permits you can be waiting anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months to hear if you have actually been granted a permit by the local council. If you then find out you have not secured a permit, it could have eaten into valuable planning time. There are two permits that you will need for use of a beach; a Lands Department permit and a Local Council permit. It is possible to apply for multiple permits for more than one beach at the same time but be warned, if you get them all granted, you will have to pay for all of them!
Q: Are you aware of permit costs?
The permit prices can vary dependent on time of year and seemingly which way the wind blows at any one time. As a guide, the local council permits are very cheap at under €50. The Lands Department permits are more expensive at around €500, however, you will not be paying a venue fee in most cases. If the area of beach is ‘leased’ by a hotel e.g. Radisson’s beach area at Golden Bay, you could be looking at a venue fee by that hotel which could be up to €2,000 from experience. In this scenario, you don’t need permits.
Q: Have you checked what local events or public holidays may be occurring on or around your date?
It’s important to check what is going on in or around the local area in the country you have chosen. Malta has many festivals and religious celebrations through the summer months and in many cases roads are shut down for full scale town festas to take place. While this is a great time to visit Malta it could cause some transport issues if you have you wedding planned on the same day as a big public holiday or feast. The beaches will also be full of local revelers at these times so your celebration could be impeded by other events. Doing your homework on the local customs can help you avoid any unforeseen logistical issues.
Q: Have you got back-ups?
Even if you have your heart set on a beach wedding, it is a good idea to be open to non-beach options. As you get further into planning your beach wedding, you will be faced with plenty of logistical issues that you are unlikely to experience with more regular wedding venues. There are many hotels on Malta that offer outdoor wedding locations right by the sea so it’s not a bad idea to have a safer back-up option lined up just in case your beach wedding option becomes compromised.
Q: Will you have time to do a reckie?
It is a good idea to visit the beaches of Malta before deciding on a particular location. Malta’s beaches are generally quite small and this isn’t always immediately obvious in the images you will find online. There are also some lovely rocky beaches that you might not consider if you haven’t visited them in person. You should consider the time of year that you do your reckie as some of the loveliest beaches all but disappear in the winter months as the sea level rises to consume them. Any time from April to November is generally a good time to visit for your beach reconnaissance mission.