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14 Seaside Wedding Tips and Theme Ideas

Destination Weddings

Updated on: Mar 04, 2024

Have you always dreamt of saying, “I do” at a stunning ocean-themed venue? A beachfront, seaside wedding is a classic choice for a summer wedding. If you are looking to have an intimate and laid-back wedding with a stunning view of the ocean, having a seaside wedding would be perfect for you. Do you need a little inspiration to get your wedding planning started? Look no further, you’ll find all the creative tips here! From choosing the location of the beach, to dress reminders to decor, this list is sure to ensure the most unforgettable night for you, your partner, and your guests.

Tips for Seaside Weddings

1. Location

What beach will your wedding take place on? Opt for locations that are easily accessible if you have family members that may need something a little bit easier. Remember guests' convenience when searching for the right beach! We highly recommend looking for beaches that have amenities close by, like a hotel or restaurant so that your guests don’t have to trek too far. Also, consider the popularity of the beach. Will there be a lot of people there on a Saturday? How big is your guest list?

You may be able to reserve a section of a public beach for your wedding! Make sure to look into the permits wherever you are looking, or have your wedding planner do that for you! If a generous friend you know has a private beach, that is even more ideal. With a private beach, there are always fewer regulations than regulations public beaches have.

How many chairs need to be set up? All of these things should be taken into consideration before choosing a spot. If you and your partner have a special place in mind, but it may lack something important, consider options for making it more accessible to all. If that’s not possible, having a smaller ceremony there separately or saving it for your first anniversary are all great options.

2. Best Month

If you’re thinking of a beach wedding, most likely you should plan on having it from late May (depending on where the beach is) to early September. You definitely want to consider the weather, so having your wedding mid-summer ensures warm weather, inviting for your guests. The days will also be longer during this time of the year, allowing your ceremony time more flexibility.

3. Time of Day

What time should you have your beach wedding? While many couples opt for an early afternoon wedding, feel free to break from tradition. You can opt for a late afternoon wedding or wait a little later and choose a time near sunset. Afternoon heat could truly be brutal mid-summer.

Having your wedding happen while the sun is setting over the ocean in the evening is extremely romantic and can make your wedding much more special with the beauty of the ocean and the sunset in the background. Be sure to have candles or some form of lighting in case the ceremony lasts longer than the sun. Checking the tide schedule is another item to be aware of since they can be quite noisy!

4. Shipwrecked Decor

For an inventive and interesting centerpiece, consider using driftwood or bottles, both look like they washed up on the beach and landed on your table. Make sure the driftwood and bottles are clean and not too dilapidated. Add a little sand in the bottles to make them look authentic and sturdy on the table in case of wind.

For a tropical theme, place colorful flowers and candles around the table. For a nautical theme, find some miniature ships or lighthouses or hang lighthouse lamps over the tables. All of these ideas can easily be bought or made, so consider the size of your wedding and the amount of time you want to spend on the decor before choosing which option to go with.

5. Color, Color, and More Color

Once you’ve chosen a theme, your color palette should follow along almost immediately. For the nautical theme, fitting colors would be cream, red, or cobalt blue. For both the beach party and tropical themes, bright, exuberant colors are a good choice. Try to stay within the same side of the color wheel. If you really want to, use blues, greens, and purples, or other cool colors to complement and vice versa for warm colors.

Once you’ve got the colors, find flowers that fit within your color theme and place them wherever there’s open space. Alternatively, add in these colors throughout the wedding through the decorations or with ribbons on the bouquet if you can’t find flowers that match exactly.

6. Decadence Defined

Depending on your theme, the choices of adornments for your cake are numerous. Use palm fronds or exotic flowers for a tropical theme. Whether they are real or made from marzipan, meringue, or icing, they will carry your theme through to every part of the wedding.

For an interesting twist, fashion the cake to look like a sandcastle and cover it with seashell chocolates and plastic forms of sea life that go with your theme: sea horses, mermaids, dolphins, etc. Ask your local baker for pictures of cakes they’ve done for beach weddings to get more inspiration.

7. Dress Not to Impress

Since beach weddings are often more casual, and rightfully so, send out reminders of how to dress and ask your guests to wear sundresses and comfortable beach clothing instead of the formal suit-and-tie look. You could even provide a basket of sandals in the colors you’ve chosen for your wedding at the entrance so that no one has to mess up their shoes with sand. This way heels can be traded for sand proof shoes.

If you don’t want to go to that expense, simply have a place for everyone to store their shoes while on the beach. If you do want a formal beach wedding, be sure to include a reminder as well. Remember, whichever route you decide for a beach wedding, everyone there will truly be excited to celebrate with you and your partner.

8. Formal or Not

With any of the themes listed above, you can go formal or informal with your reception. Choose a plated or a buffet-style dinner and decorate it according to your theme. Place the same flowers you used in the bride’s bouquet all around the reception area to add a sense of continuity. Use flower petals to create naturalistic runners on your tables. Use the materials you have on hand to create the perfect decorations for your reception.

9. Wedding Dress

If you’re going for a less formal wedding, choose a wedding dress that matches the theme. This could mean going for a shorter and more casual dress. Look for sundresses that are white or cream to still make it feel like your wedding day. You will also want to be cautious of heat or wind, so look for a lightweight fabric dress! If you want to completely change it up style-wise, opt for a colored dress that matches your theme. Coordinate this with your partner so you can both be coordinated, whether you decide to go more formal or casual.

10. Photography

We recommend finding a photographer who has experience shooting weddings. With the different lighting and wind, you will want someone who knows what they are doing and who will capture the beauty of the scenery very well! Look online beforehand for the perfect photographer for your special day.

Themes for a Seaside Wedding

11. Beach Themes

You thought you had already chosen your theme when you decided on a beach seaside wedding. However, to focus your creative efforts, try choosing a more specific theme. Some ideas would be a nautical or lighthouse theme, a beach party theme with beach balls and surfboards, or even a tropical theme employing many types of tropical plants and flowers. This can also help you later on when you start to think about your wedding colors. If you already have chosen a more specific theme, choosing colors that coordinate with the theme makes it that much easier! For instance, if you choose a lighthouse theme, you can opt for navy blue or dark red bridesmaid dresses.

12. Shipwrecked

For an inventive and interesting centerpiece, consider using driftwood or bottles which look like they washed up on the beach and landed on your table. Make sure the driftwood and bottles are clean and not too dilapidated. Add a little sand in the bottles to make them look authentic. For an exotic theme, place colorful flowers and candles around the table. For a nautical theme, find some miniature ships or lighthouses and hang lighthouse lamps over the tables. Add little details of nautical themes into everything to incorporate the style!

13. Rustic Beach Theme

There are also some escapes near the ocean with farms, cellar doors, greenery, and natural wood. These themes make it romantic and lush with the greenery and gardens. It’s a more romantic setting and your guests can dress formally.

14. Bohemian Theme

The bohemian look can be a wedding made anywhere depending on the decoration and dresses. This can pair on the beach or any greenery by the beach. It’s a more comfortable wedding when it comes to attire. The wedding dress and decorations are more on the simple, but chic side. For a bohemian-styled wedding, brides often prefer a simple slip dress or a lace gown, with colored accessories to fit unique tastes in style. With bright colors and fun gypsy patterns, a bohemian style fits in perfectly with a beach wedding.

Destination Weddings: Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed these beautiful tips and theme ideas for pulling together a seaside wedding! These tips and themes are ever-present to help you find/create the idea you want for your wedding and we hope you become inspired to make your wedding special! If you liked this blog a lot, be sure to visit our blog, "Dream Wedding Venue Ideas" for more fabulous ideas!

Written by Emily Tate and Caitlin Connell; Contributors: Stephanie Roy, and Avery Patterson