What Are The Must-Haves For The Perfect Beach Wedding?

woman and man standing in front of shoreline photo

So it's no wonder we love our beach weddings!

Beach weddings are the 8th most popular wedding theme across Australia. Beach weddings have many themes and styles, from classic to rustic, bohemian to luxury. They also give you an amazing opportunity to focus on the landscape around you as your theme and work with the blank canvas of nature and your surroundings.

The idea of a beach wedding, or at least a bash bursting with coastal accoutrements, is appealing to plenty of couples. The aesthetic lends itself to so many interpretations, with styles ranging from boho to elegant, exotic to minimal, and casual to downright chic.

  • Get a beach permit if needed. 
  • Plan wisely, and avoid crowds. 
  • Arrange sturdy seating. 
  • Accentuate the beach's natural features.
  • Add in colours to contrast the light colour of the sand. 
  • Shop local for destination weddings. 
  • Prepare for windy conditions. 
  • Prepare a shoe station.

Since beach weddings typically happen in the summer or late spring, you may want to choose more comfortable and breathable fabrics for warmer weather. It can include cotton, linen, lightweight silk, chiffon, or lace.

Beach Wedding is a mostly Indica strain that develops broad fan leaves, which you should trim to allow light penetration. The strain grows well indoors and out and flowers in 70 days or by mid-October.

Depending on how formal your wedding is, you might consider sticking to formal dress shoes. If the wedding has a relaxed dress code, boat shoes, derbies, sandals, or loafers can all be fair game. Like your bride, you're welcome to go barefoot on the beach.

Beach Wedding is a mostly Indica strain that develops broad fan leaves, which you should trim to allow light penetration. The strain grows well indoors and out and flowers in 70 days or by mid-October.

 

A Lush Entryway

woman in white dress walking on beach during sunse

Bamboo and layers of lush, leafy greenery create a tropical gateway into the beach weddings of your dreams. "Consider incorporating natural elements and textures, such as wood, natural fibres, leaves, organic-shaped accents, and neutral colours," says Grosset.

Shells On Your Cake

The confectionary pièce de résistance of your big day is no place to skimp on the seaside details. This stunningly simplistic design shows that delicate shells are the perfect beach-inspired accent for your cutting cake or wedding cake.

A Juicy Centrepiece Display

Bold, juicy colours are the key to vibrant festivities. Here, bare wooden tables lay flush with centrepieces of vibrant florals and ripe citrus for a relaxed Mediterranean vibe that is good enough to eat. At the same time, an assortment of candles in various sizes provides a warm glow.

Grosset recommends Grosset opt for lanterns or hurricane candle holders rather than candlesticks or other uncovered candles to ensure the wind won't blow out the romantic light on your tables.

Decorate With Palms

The great thing about palm leaves is that they're huge and durable, making them easy to decorate. Tie them to chair backs for some DIY decor, use them as chargers beneath place settings, or flip the notion and place them atop white plates.

Fans For Guests

Wedding guest holding a fan at a beach wedding.

At the height of summer, a beach wedding calls for creative ways to help guests beat the heat. These boho-inspired fans were cleverly attached to the programs for guests to use during the outdoor ceremony.

A Sea-Inspired Invitation Suite

Sea-inspired invitations will undoubtedly get your guests excited for the upcoming bash. These fun invites allude to the beach venue and hint at the event's colourful '60s theme.

Diy Seashell Place Cards

You've heard of farm to table, but what about the sea to the table? These seashell place cards bring the ocean right to your plate. You can order a bunch off Etsy as bride Kelly did for her nautical Montauk nuptials.

A Tropical Seating Chart

An acrylic seating chart is about as versatile as it gets. It seamlessly blends into any background and can be used to display existing wedding decor. Here, it takes on all the glory of nature set on a canvas of green leaves.

Statement Chairs

As the VIPs of the day, the newlyweds deserve a special seat at the table. A proper statement chair sets them apart in a place of honour and makes for some epic photographs. These round wicker stunners scream of beach royalty.

A Shoe Valet

Provide a spot for guests to drop their shoes at your oceanfront nuptials. Like this one with a custom sign, a shoe valet tells guests exactly where to leave their footwear. They can either trade heels for flip-flops or attend the sandy ceremony barefoot.

Boho-Chic Table Settings

Bohemian details feel right at home at beachside weddings. We're obsessed with the distressed white paint paired with these incredible straw chargers. Amber-toned glassware, stoneware plates, gilded metallic accents, and a sheer, rust-hued runner complete the aesthetic.

A Beachy Bouquet

A bouquet of greens and neutral-toned florals is perfect for a wedding in nature, and you can add palm leaves for an instant beachy upgrade. Bride Donna chose a combination of white king protea, eucalyptus, palms, and white flowers like orchids and anthurium for her boho beach weddings in Mexico.

Reuse your flowers, advises Grosset—you'll save money while being eco-friendly. Use the bridesmaid bouquets as centrepieces or the bride's bouquet as a centrepiece for the head table.

Aquatic Aisle Decor

Submerge your ceremony in all the trappings of underwater finery with an aisle decorated with bright coral, textured grasses, dried flora, sea-glass vases, and the occasional cactus. This scene is fit for any mermaid bride.

Coastal Escort Cards

You can have nautical touches at your wedding even if there's no beach. These capiz shell escort cards with pretty pink writing are the perfect addition to a coastal reception.

An Ocean-Inspired Cake

This elegant cake features a delicate blue watercolour design that mimics undulating waves. Adorned with a gold-painted piece of coral, a shell, and pearls—we love the organic approach—this gorgeous dessert is ready for its seaside debut.

A Glamorous Setup

Beachy, but make it glam—because not all seaside fêtes are boho and relaxed or nautical in navy. This ballroom celebration was brimming with all the tropical grandeur. Linens of black-and-white palm prints, magnificent palm centrepieces, black accents, and gold flourishes delivered the drama.

Tropical Bar Decor

Serve classic summertime sips as margaritas and Aperol spritzes, and deck your bar with tropical foliage. This setup at a Hawaiian beach elopement features colourful accoutrements like dragon fruits and birds of paradise.

Nautical Wedding Favours

Navy-and-white-striped miniature bottles of Champagne with nautical bow ties make for the perfect favour or groomsman gift at your seaside wedding. Cheers to that!

Palm Leaf Table Markers

Tropical leaves are the perfect budget-friendly touch to inject some beach inspo into your day. Here, you used blades of palm leaves to differentiate tables by name (you can use numbers if that's more your jam). You could use the same idea for place cards, seating charts, or even menus—all you need is a gold pen and some neat handwriting.

Tropical Drinks

What's a beach theme without coconuts? Go all out and treat your guests to delicious signature cocktails, or keep it real with coconut water, served in coconuts engraved with your names, the wedding date, or a hashtag. Bonus: They make the best photo prop.

Woven Basket Lanterns

Wedding reception with beachy hanging lanterns

PHOTO BY HEATHER WARAKSA; EVENT PLANNING BY AAB CREATES

Woven baskets are a surefire win for a beachy theme. These gorgeous basket lanterns keep with the vibe and maintain the airiness of the clear tent without weighing everything down.

Cosy Reception Seating

Plush seating and cushions create a comfortable lounge area and an informal vibe, while eclectic throw rugs anchor the space and keep guests from getting too sandy. "We love to transform areas on the beach into unique spaces using furniture and decorative items to create cosy and blithe surroundings whilst still respecting and integrating the local nature," says Grosset.

A Nautical Ring Cushion

Don't forget about the little ones! Have your ring bearer carry the wedding bands down the aisle on an adorable nautical pillow—tied with twine for added security.

Driftwood Signs

Driftwood is quite possibly the poster child of beach-appropriate finishes. This couple used it to create Mr. and Mrs. signs hung on the back of bamboo chairs at their destination wedding in the Bahamas. You can also use driftwood to decorate reception tables or create signs pointing guests in the right direction.

Repurposed Surfboards

Surfboards are the epitome of laid-back, cool beachy vibes and make for great wedding decorations. This surfer groom transformed his collection into a unique guest book.

Decadent Shells

Did someone say dessert? These blue-toned oyster shells were filled with rich, chocolatey goodness and topped with sea salt. Doesn't get much more on-theme than that.

A Botanical Escort-Card Display

This captivating escort-card display is bursting with all the tropical trimmings. A simple seating chart is framed by a lush, verdant frame of natural ferns, monstera leaves, and gilded touches. Bright pink blooms add a pop of vibrancy to the scene.

Local Fruits And Blooms

Go local! Give the nod to your carefully chosen locale by using local flora and fruits in your decor. This deliciously tropical tablescape is flush with pineapples and papayas that deftly blend with ivory blooms, straw chargers, and palm-leaf accents.

Sea-Inspired Tableware

Be inspired by the sea when choosing your tableware. This couple incorporated plates featuring a starfish and seashell design for their Nantucket wedding. They kept the theme by using similarly designed menus and origami sailboat place cards.

Natural Table Runners

man and woman walking on beach during daytime phot

Beach wedding tablescape with palm leaves

These palm leaf runners blend perfectly with the natural vista and oceanic carpet. Who needs one big centrepiece when you can have this?

Keep decorations simple when surrounded by natural beauty. "Focus the budget on the experience, like food and entertainment," says Grosset. If that's on point, guests won't miss the rest.

Fish Food

Guest favours are the one instance where it's completely okay to play with your food. These fish-shaped cookies were decorated with guests' names and placed atop welcome boxes in each seat.

Nautical Knots

In addition to their functional purposes, these namesake knots were used by sailors as a way to keep the memory of their beloved with them on long journeys at sea. Such a sentimental symbol of enduring love deserves a place at your wedding celebration. Create large knots from nautical rope to hold table numbers, place cards, or menus.

A Grand Entrance (Or Exit)

You and your wedding party deserve to make an entrance, and for a seaside fête, there's only one way to go about it: by sea. Or, make a grand exit with your new spouse by chartering a vessel of your choice and sailing off into wedded bliss. Feel free to get super creative with the notion. "The craziest request we have had must be arriving on a kiteboard for the ceremony," recalls Grosset.

A Seafood-Filled Menu

It's not a full-fledged beach theme until your guests can taste the ocean. If coastal New England is your vibe, you already know that lobster rolls are necessary. Grosset believes in incorporating a seaside theme into all celebration components, including cocktails and food. "If you do this, you will create a whole experience that will engulf everyone in the vacation mood and what the beach offers," she explains.

Nautical Welcome Bags

And let's discuss these lobster-inspired welcome bags while we're at it. All the usual suspects, from candy crustaceans and bottle openers to nautical wine stoppers and seafood mallets, are encased in one personalised beach tote—with lobster-printed tissue paper.

A Ceremonial Backdrop

You'll want nothing to get in the way of this magnificent view, but a minimalist ceremonial backdrop may be in order. While we wouldn't call this an arch per se, the structure creates the perfect frame for the newlyweds' vows while leaving the sweeping oceanic vista free from obstruction. Two swags of monstera leaves, palm fronds, orchids, pampas grass, and white king proteas finish the look.

Decor With Island Vibes

This tropical colour scheme of vibrant green, creamy white, and natural tones is the epitome of island charm. We're obsessed with the combination of textures, from the soaring arrangements of palm leaves to the organic rattan and wicker finishes to the bamboo furniture.

A Boho Hammock

What better way to relax with your new spouse and commemorate a beach theme than with a macramé hammock, as this couple did for their destination wedding in Tulum? "Our couples usually love to identify with our little beach town, Tulum, and incorporate the local style as much as they can in their big day," says Grosset. "These local details, mixed with the personal elements of the couple, can make the experience more unique and complete."

A Tropical Bouquet

The bride is holding a tropical bouquet.

We love a uniform, on-theme look, and a bridal bouquet should be no exception. Blend the local colours and greenery into your bouquet for an ode to the destination and culture. It's also a cheaper alternative to flying in exotic flowers that may not withstand the climate. This bride's oh-so tropical bouquet consists of tonal palms, ferns, massive monstera leaves, and anthurium.

A Flourishing Chapel

Not all seaside weddings have an alfresco setting, especially if your ceremony calls for a chapel. Bring the beach indoors with beautiful foraged foliage and blooms, like these colourful arrangements of monstera leaves and proteas. Who wouldn't swoon at the sight of this vibrant array of colours against the white-washed interior?

Provide Flip-Flops For Dancing

A beachside bash can often be a more casual affair, so provide flip-flops for guests to change into when the dance floor opens up. Please place them in boxes or baskets near the seating chart so everyone can grab a pair before they sit down. Your guests (and their feet) will thank you!

Decorate With Pampas Grass

Pampas grass decor is here to stay, and what better way to use the beige-coloured plant than to decorate your aisle? This oceanside wedding featured tall pampas, grass, and wicker baskets to create a neutral, boho-style ceremony setup.

Offer Beach-Themed Goodie Bags

Have a welcome party, after-party, or destination wedding? Offer guests welcome bags that feature all the beach-day necessities. For example, this couple's bag included fresh fruit, water, potato chips, sunscreen, and other goodies.

The Ocean

No beach wedding is complete without the ocean! However, we know that the thought of getting sand on your stunning wedding dress might be too much. We often see beach weddings held at a property or on a grassy knoll ahead of the water, so don't worry, sand is an optional feature! But the ocean is an absolute must.

Make sure you have a great view of the water for your wedding and aren't too far away. The higher you are, the more likely you will have an unimpeded view despite your surroundings or the weather.

Conclusion

So, if you're planning a beach wedding, what should you keep in mind? First and foremost, make sure that your chosen location can accommodate your guest list. If many people are coming, you may need to reserve a section of the beach or find an outdoor venue with enough space. You'll also want to think about the time of year you get married – if it's during peak season on the coast, expect higher prices and crowds. Finally, as far as décor goes, less is more for beach weddings. 

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