The secret for a fun beach wedding.
If you’re planning a surfside wedding first off, congrats! You’ve won the wedding venue lottery! Who wouldn’t want to get married next to crashing waves and a stellar view? While a beach wedding provides you with plenty of natural scenery and decor, there are still so many fun things you can do to accentuate your location.
Whether it’s beach wedding photo ideas or gorgeous table settings, a beach wedding allows for your imagination to go wild, from colours to cakes!
Below are a few of my recent favourite beach wedding finds. When it comes to beach weddings, I tend to gravitate towards accessories and decor that aren’t always nautical. Even though shells and sand will always have their place, don’t be afraid to go outside of the box when it comes to your beach wedding decor. Items that look out of place (like, say, a vintage country theme) on a beach can sometimes look the coolest!
Reception ideas for a creative beach wedding can make your sandy celebration memorable, romantic, and fun. Even if you aren’t getting married on a beach, you can give your wedding the ambience of a destination wedding by using several innovative seaside ideas.
Beach Wedding Ideas Perfect for Your Big Day
Shell Slice Place Cards
Translucent and pearlescent, these capiz shell place cards bring all the dainty elegance to any coastal theme. Set atop of individual plates or showcase them on place-card holders for a glorious tablescape.
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 for the best photo prop.
Get Crafty With Table Numbers
Tropical leaves are perfect, budget-friendly touches to inject some beach-inspo. Here, blades of palm leaves were used to differentiate tables by name (or 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.
Nautical Hanging Baskets
Woven baskets are a surefire win for any coastal theme. These gorgeous basket lanterns keep with the vibe and maintain the airiness of the clear tent without weighing everything down.
Cozy Reception Seating
Who doesn’t like to party on the beach, outside, under the stars? We love to transform areas on the beach into unique spaces using furniture and decorative items to create cozy and blithe surroundings whilst still being respectful to and integrating the local nature. It is the perfect beautiful background to a party with an enchanting ambience. Plush seating and comfortable cushions create a relaxed lounge area and informal vibe, while eclectic throw rugs anchor the space and keep guests from getting too sandy. Every detail gets a romantic and unique touch while still allowing you to feel the natural elements.
A Nautical Ring Bearer Pillow
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 is quite possibly the poster-child of beach-appropriate finishes, and these bride and groom signs are the perfect way to decorate reception chair backs. Or, use it to create signs pointing your guests in the right direction for all the big-day events.
A Surfer’s Paradise
Surfboards are the epitome of laid-back, beachy cool and make for great wedding decorations. This surfer groom transformed his personal collection into a unique guest book for guests to sign.
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 Visual Escort-Card Display
This captivating escort-card display is bursting with all of the tropical trimmings. A simple seating chart is framed with a lush, verdant frame of natural ferns, monstera leaves, and gilded touches. Bright pink blooms add a pop of vibrancy to the scene.
Showcase Local Fruits
Go local! Give the nod to your carefully-chosen locale by using local flora or even fruits in your décor. This deliciously tropical tablescape is flush with pineapples and papayas that deftly blend with the ivory blooms, straw chargers, and palm-leaf accents.
Miniature seashells add a summery touch to any reception and lend themselves to a myriad of décor opportunities. Here, they make easy work of keeping escort cards in place. Or, scatter them down the middle of long tables for a shore-like vibe. You can also add them to floral centrepieces or cluster them around the bases of pillar candles for some dimension.
Natural Table Runners
If you are hosting a wedding on the beach, the surroundings are already beautiful, so I would suggest not overdoing it with the decorations. Keep it local and simple and focus the budget on the experience like food and entertainment. If these elements are amazing, your guests won’t miss a huge centrepiece. These palm leaf runners blend in perfectly with the natural vista and oceanic carpet that stretches beyond.
Guest favours are the one instance where it’s completely okay to play with your food. These fishy cookies were decorated with guests’ names and placed atop of welcome boxes in each seat.
Use Knots for Your Table Numbers
In addition to their functional purposes, sailor’s often used these namesake knots 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.
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 nuptial bliss. Feel free to get super creative with the notion.
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 personalized beach tote—with lobster-printed tissue paper, of course.
A Ceremonial Backdrop
With a view this magnificent you’ll want nothing to get in the way, 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 off the look.
If the sea and all its splendour aren’t enough of a backdrop, or just not an option for your venue, then what better way to commemorate a beach theme than with a macramé hammock? Our couples usually love to incorporate the local style as much as they can on their big day. These local details mixed with the personal elements of the couple, can make the experience more unique and complete.
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 even 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?
Beach Wedding Reception Ideas
Fun in the Sun
If you are planning on getting married beside the ocean, there are a couple of points to keep in mind to make your day just as perfect as possible.
- Many beach wedding reception ideas incorporate candlelight, especially at sunset. If candles are in your plans, keep in mind that wind can wreak havoc on this idea, so be sure you choose candle holders that will shelter the flames.
- Outdoor weddings often feature live flower arrangements, and these can be beautiful. If you are holding your wedding in the middle of the day, however, remember that the sun can turn a brilliant blossom into a wilted mess, so choose flowers that do well in direct sunlight and decorate with your fresh blooms at the last possible moment.
- Look for alternative items to take the place of regular ones. For example, instead of using mirrored tiles as placemats or the base of a centrepiece, choose a bamboo mat or a large tropical leaf.
- The weather is unpredictable. Watch the forecast closely to determine if you may need to rent a tent for the ceremony or reception.
Fun Beach Wedding Reception Ideas
Create a reception that is sure to be the talk of the town by choosing whimsical beach reception ideas.
- Invite guests to get in on the fun by listing the attire as luau casual. Wedding guests can wear their best luau outfits, and the band can play fun beach music. Be sure and encourage everyone to shed their shoes and dig their toes in the sand!
- Turquoise and white beach wedding reception tables
- For a fun and simple beach decoration, connect beach balls to helium-filled balloons via fishing line and scatter around the reception area.
- Order a cake that is decorated in sugar that looks like sand. Commission some candy seashells to decorate the cake, and scatter real shells around the table.
- Fill colourful sand pails with sand, and add tea lights.
- An inexpensive beach wedding centrepiece can be created using a large, glass fishbowl found at a local department or dollar stores. Fill with sand, and place a candle down into the bowl. Scatter sand and shells around the base of the centrepiece.
- Add some beach ambience by placing a few chairs around the area, leaning a surfboard or two against each other, and draping fishnet across the back of the chairs, over the surfboards, or across a corner of the shelter.
- Add small pieces of bleached driftwood to the centre of each table and place a few seashells, starfish, sand dollars, etc. alongside the wood. If you have access to larger pieces of driftwood, place those around the perimeter of the area, or if you plan on having a night reception, place wood around a small fire and invite guests to have a seat when they aren’t dancing or celebrating.
- For entertainment, consider hiring hula dancers. It’s more fun when guests get in on the action and dance, too.
- Why not add a limbo stick for the kids to play with? They can take turns seeing how low they can go!
- Choose a reception menu specially designed to coordinate with your outdoor waterfront setting.
How to Make Your Beach Wedding Unique
Take the elements of the beach like fun and comfort, and incorporate that into your design by pitching a tent and using sofas and chairs for seating during cocktail hour and post-reception. There are various tents that you can use, but we recommend going the extra mile and selecting a tent that can handle all types of weather. This way, the flaps can be pulled down in case of rain/cold/wind and kept up if the weather is perfect. To really elevate your wedding, check out the amazing clear top tents that are available so that your guests can dance under the night sky, no matter what the weather is.
Make your menu full of “beach” items; depending on what beach you are on; this can vary greatly. Consider just having a cocktail reception so that your guests can party on the beach all night long without a formal sit down dinner. You can even bring in some boardwalk games for your private use!
Victoria beaches are perfect for that laid-back vibe, and a bonfire at the end of the night is a must. Start your wedding on the later side if you can, right at dusk, so that the entire party is at night and you can all enjoy the fire/after party. Offer up pashminas, and flip flops as a wedding favour that guests can use as the night go on.
Instead of using flowers for centrepieces, incorporate driftwood and other natural elements on plain white linens. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to go crazy with different types of linens and patterns because a clean white poly blend is all you need for your backdrop. If you want to keep with a nautical theme, break out the blue and white striped linens, or use accent pillows in those colours for your seating pads and on your lounge furniture.
Wherever you are and whatever beach you choose, it’s important to know your surroundings and what’s available. Anyone can throw a beach party, but pulling inspiration from what is around you will make your wedding stand out from the rest.
Use any or all of these beach wedding reception ideas to create a celebration that works for you. Don’t be afraid to change up ideas, add your own, or simply think of new ones. Be creative on the beach and your wedding day will be a treasured memory for many happy anniversaries.