The ocean is vast, stretching out to a never-ending horizon. It has no beginning, no middle, no end. As you stand barefoot with the waves lapping at your toes, you’re straddling the threshold of another world. What we do know about the ocean barely scratches the surface.
It’s no wonder then that the beach continues to be one of the most popular wedding destinations. With the ocean as a perennial symbol of eternity, beach weddings are utterly romantic venues. Feeling the sand between your toes and listening to the waves crash against the rocks, a soothing soundtrack to your wedding vows, it’s a special place to begin married life.
More and more couples are ditching the traditional white church wedding for a more natural, grounded ceremony in the great outdoors. In fact, 43% of participants in a wedding survey voted beaches to be their favorite wedding destination. By nature, beach weddings are far more relaxed and more intimate than other traditional wedding venues. But there are lots of things for brides and grooms to think about and consider on your special day.
Embrace the spontaneous
Every bride wants her day to go perfectly, and it’s only natural to plan everything, right down to the smallest detail carefully. But when you choose to get married on a beach, you lose a certain amount of control. You’re subject to the elements and the mighty power of the ocean. You learn to let go of your ideals and expectations of how your day ‘should be.’ Instead, embrace spontaneity and let the day flow. Revel in the twists and turns. Forget your ideas of perfectionism and throw your arms open to the wild. There are so many variables at the beach, and the ocean never looks the same twice. Ride - rather than resist - the waves as you embark on your new adventure.
Pick your color scheme
The first thing to consider is your color scheme. Perhaps you like bright, tropical colors or maybe prefer a beachy boho vibe. Maybe yours is a more muted, minimal style or classic nautical style. Select one or two base colors and add three to four accent tones. For instance, if planning a tropical beach wedding, your base color could be white with bright pops of reds, oranges, yellows, purples and pinks. Or for more sun-bleached coastal tones; cream and beige with dusty shades of peach and rose work well.
Favors & Gifts
Share your love of the ocean with your guests and bridal party. Give them a little token of your wedding day by providing an ocean-inspired favor or gift. Pamper them with a mini-spa experience like our Affina 100% organic spa bath mitts woven in natural patterns found in the ocean. We offer a deep discount on our mitts for weddings and can also custom-design a mitt hangtag to go with your wedding scheme. Create a little sea basket with sea-scented organic soap or candle, sea salts, and wrap it up with sea straw and a seashell.
Dress & Accessories
Spend time by the ocean and pay attention to its fluid forms - from the mighty crashing waves to the bubbly sea-foam that washes up on the beach. Draw inspiration from the ocean as you pick out your wedding dress and bridesmaids dresses. Choose loose, free-flowing material that ripples as you walk and is reminiscent of the sea. Choose jewelry and hair accessories that celebrate different ocean forms such as shells and starfish. Or choose pearls - the most exquisite of sea treasures! A pearl-studded dress would also be beautiful! Embrace the barefoot! Forget traditional wedding shoes and opt for ankle bracelets made of coral or shells instead.
For a tropical spin on the traditional bouquet, select lush green tropical foliage such as palm or monstera leaves. Then add statement flowers such as birds of paradise and orchids. Garnish with coastal decorations like shells, starfish, seahorses, and pearls. A dried flower bouquet will also look beautiful and will withstand the gusty ocean breeze. Mix fiddlehead ferns with lavender, sea holly and white roses for a rustic bouquet and garnish with coastal decorations.
Turn your beach wedding day cake into a statement centerpiece with little ocean flourishes. Add shells, starfish, nautical knots, coral, interesting pebbles and colorful sea glass. Why not go beach-combing as a couple before the big day and collect anything beautiful you find? You can use your ocean treasure to decorate your cake and personalize table settings.
For a really unique and romantic beach-themed wedding cake, decorate the top of your cake like a vintage sailor's valentine. A sailor's valentine was a shell-craft in the 1800's made from various sea shells. They were brought home from a sailor's voyage as a souvenir and romantic gesture to his loved one. Many of the creative techniques used in cake decoration translate very well to the replication of this beautiful seashell-craft. Search the internet for 'Antique Sailor's Valentine' to see all the inspiring possibilities.
Incorporate the flavors of the ocean into your menu. From salmon to sushi and crab to lobster, a seafood menu is sure to delight your guests. Pair with dry white wine and a light, citrusy or decadent coconut dessert to complete the menu. Get creative with your bar menu! Nothing says tropical beach theme quite like exotic, fruity cocktails!
There are so many ways you can use ocean décor on your wedding day. Here are a few of our favorite natural ideas:
- Make your own coastal decorations by stringing shells, sea glass, pottery shards, pebbles.
- Shells make great ring boxes!
- Create your ceremony arch with driftwood, dried flowers, sea grass and plumes.
- Write signs on driftwood you’ve found on the beach (e.g. bathrooms this way, ocean that way.)
- Create name holders for guests on driftwood or write their names on sea glass for a special keepsake.
- Use wicker furniture and seagrass rugs to enhance the coastal theme.
- Mix lush greenery with citrus fruits for stunning displays.
- Decorate tables with sea shells, coral, cacti, and succulents.
- Turn palm leaves into natural table runners.
- Make candle holders from driftwood.
- While you’re getting your photographs taken, ask guests to do a mini beach comb and put all their ocean finds in a jar. This will be a special memento of your day.
- Serve dinner on ocean-inspired plates.
Lighting makes everything more atmospheric, and this is especially important when planning a beach wedding. Place woven lanterns or candles in jars around for a soft, romantic glow. Opt for citronella candles in the summer to deter pests and other insects from becoming a nuisance. Or put fairy lights in bottles. Vintage style cobalt blue and dark green bottles work exceptionally well as they are usually the kind of bottles that wash up on the beach, message in the bottle style. Tiki torches also provide a lot of light and fit perfectly with the beach theme. No evening at the beach would be complete without a fire pit! Provide marshmallows and s’more kits for your guests as they’re a firm beach favorite! (And, of course, blankets to keep cosy as the temperature drops.)
Carry your love of the ocean into your home together with our bath and beach towels woven in 100% organic cotton from natural seashell, coral, sea fan and sand ripple patterns. In addition to our website, you can also find and add our products to your wedding gift registry right on Amazon where we have an exclusive brand page. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance.
And remember – it’s your special day.
Just as the ocean never looks the same twice, no two weddings are the same. This is your wedding day and the beginning of a whole new chapter of your life. Remember to embrace the spontaneous, go with the flow and ride the waves.
The ocean is a love story
A beach wedding will be an unforgettable day for you and your guests. Since the dawn of time, humans have been drawn to the ocean. And while expanding urbanization and rapid disconnection from nature has changed our relationship with the ocean, one thing endures: our love of it.
The beach is not only a romantic backdrop for a wedding but a powerful symbol of enduring love. The sea is sometimes rough, sometimes smooth. The tide is sometimes in, sometimes out. The ocean reflects the beauty and chaos of human existence. There’s no better place to say ‘I do.’
For more thoughts on why humans love the ocean read our essay The Call of the Sea.