12 Beautiful Ideas for a Beach-Theme Wedding

Here’s how to pull off an unforgettable beach wedding with advice from industry experts

Dobrina Zhekova
1 / 12

Sand Dollar Chic

These beautiful escort cards were created by hand-scripting guest names on pearlescent sand dollars and then arranging them in boxes of sand, explains Jessica Kuipers of Bijoux Events. The result is sophisticated and elegant and it is also a great way to incorporate natural elements into the décor.

2 / 12

Iconic Emblem

The anchor here had a very special meaning to the couple—it symbolized their beach house, which they considered an anchor in their lives, grounding them, and reminding them to stop and enjoy the special moments. Even if an anchor doesn’t hold such personal meaning for you, it is a wonderful marine element to include in your wedding décor.

3 / 12

A Sense of Place

“Santa Barbara’s coastline is well known for its Spanish and Moroccan influences,” says Kiupers. A great way to reflect this, if you are taking inspiration from that region, is to set up a lounge area on the beach and include tropical furniture as well as layered accents of texture and color.

4 / 12

Seaside Palette

"When dreaming up elegant wedding décor with a beach inspiration in mind, I suggest to use colors that will blend with the gorgeous backdrop of the ocean,” says Lorrie Betsill Nielson of Unveiled Hawaii. “Think lighter hues such as organic greens, sand, and cream tones. There is nothing wrong with bright pops of color, however if more elegance and a classic look is what you are going for, this will definitely get you pointed in the right direction.”

5 / 12

Beachy Accoutrements

Not to state the obvious, but if you’re throwing a beach wedding, chances are your main inspiration will be, well, the beach. Shells, fishing nets, and sea glass can complement fun and floral tones and add texture and dimension to a tabletop. Here, for example, Betsill explains that the blues and taupes in the shells and fishing nets are the perfect complement to the sunset hues of the floral arrangements.

6 / 12

Tropical Accent

As the old saying goes, less is more, and that definitely applies to wedding décor as well. You don’t need to have an over-the-top floral arrangement lining the aisle for a beautiful result. Attaching a simple palm frond to a row of white chairs will elegantly bring out the beachy vibe and add a pop of color to your aisle.

7 / 12

Beautiful Backdrop

Arches have become an increasingly popular décor component, as they are a great way to visually frame the bride and groom during their nuptials and they also look beautiful in photos. If you’d like to have a flower arch at your beach ceremony, consider hanging capiz shells from it for a light and airy look, suggests Morgan Childs of Moana Events.

8 / 12

Tasteful Touches

If you are planning a black-tie affair and fear that loose seashells wouldn’t look formal enough as part of your table setup, don’t despair. You can still make it work. “Seashells and coral can be showcased on your tabletop as beautiful decor items, like this perfect sea urchin shell under a glass cloche or this mounted silver coral piece,” suggests Childs.

9 / 12

Natural Drapery

Don’t go over the top with chair decoration. Flower garlands and seashell strands are a simple and beautiful way to tie it all together with your wedding theme. And if you’re having a destination wedding in Hawaii, consider incorporating lei in your décor.

10 / 12

Nautical Hues

If you’re not into typical beach décor like seashells, anchors, and miniature bottles full of sand, but still want to evoke the ocean, you could simply do so by incorporating blue elements into your wedding. Here, for example, the navy blue pattern against the white cake looks sophisticated and still matches the ambiance of the oceanfront venue.

11 / 12

True to Theme

You may not realize it, but your save-the-date cards and invitations will set the mood for your wedding and inform your guests what to expect from it. That’s why it’s important that your stationery matches your wedding theme, both in terms of color palette and formality. Here, maritime hues and elements like anchors reinforce the theme without being too on-the-nose.

12 / 12

Outside the Box

And speaking of colors, while it may be a beach wedding, that doesn’t mean everything has to be in shades of blue and sandy beige. Play the color-block game by juxtaposing fun bold-hued flowers, like these pink peonies, and the tranquility and calmness associated with blue.