A beach wedding is an intimate and beautiful way to tie the knot. However, it can also be a logistical nightmare!
A beach wedding is an idyllic event and a perfect venue for two people in love. But planning one can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together this list of tips to help guide the process. We’ll go over budgeting, vendors, decorating ideas, and more!
Are you looking forward to the time when you are finally able to tie the knot with your significant other? Are you dreaming of a beach wedding that will be one for the books? You’re in luck. We have some great tips and ideas for planning a perfect beach wedding.
The most important aspect of your beach wedding is going to be located. You may have heard it’s better not to wear white on a beach because you might get sand everywhere- but that doesn’t mean you should head out into the middle of nowhere with no facilities or food!
If you’re set on having a beach wedding, make sure there are nearby hotels or resorts where guests can stay for the night before and after the event.
First and foremost, the dress code is usually more casual. You’ll want to make sure the bride wears her hair up, so it doesn’t get too messy as she runs around all day. It’s also important to plan how guests will find their seats on the sand, where they might not see well from far away.
One of the best parts about planning a beach wedding compared to a traditional ceremony is that you can do it yourself. You don’t need to hire any vendors or worry about food and beverage costs.
We recommend you set up signs indicating where each table is located or put out chairs. Lastly, don’t forget about your backdrop! If you opt for an outdoor ceremony and reception at night, we recommend using lights in addition to candles or lanterns if possible.
Tips To Organize a Perfect Beach Wedding
Whether your beach wedding aesthetic leans more tropical, classic, or boho, this style is all about effortless, welcoming details that allow the natural beauty of your waterfront venue to shine.
1. Do I need a special permit for a beach wedding?
Yes, you do if the beach requires you to get it. In general, not all beaches need a permit but check with the authorities in your city.
The beach may have rules on space usage, guest counts, alcohol and noise curfew, amongst others. Be thorough in reading and understanding policies, like the fees, liability insurance, and approval process.
2. Venue Preparation
While the beach can be one of the most beautiful wedding venues, it also comes with its own set of challenges. Being aware and prepared for these potential obstacles will help your big day run smoothly.
When you’re choosing where to have your beach wedding, make sure that you do extensive research on the weather in the area. You’ll want to plan your wedding date for a time of year with as little of a chance of rain or wind as possible.
Wind will typically always be a common occurrence due to being so close to the ocean. To prepare for a mild wild, make sure your decor, the altar, arch, canopy, or any other set-up on your wedding day is held down with enough weight, so nothing blows away if a gust occurs.
Take into account your wedding’s time of day as well. If your ceremony is held during sunset, prepare your guests by encouraging them to wear sunglasses or hats. If your ceremony is midday, offer up fans and sunscreen to keep your guests cool and protected.
Consider how many people you want to invite when choosing your venue. While some locations can fit a large wedding of 200+, most beach venues are only available for 100 or less.
For a more intimate celebration, you could even consider having a micro wedding with just your closest friends and family in a private beach setting.
Another important factor to consider when choosing a beach wedding venue is how much privacy you want on your big day. Many beach venues are public, which can allow bystanders to observe and watch the ceremony. This is common for hotel weddings.
If you want a more private setting, it’s important to inquire about privacy when choosing a venue. For example, many resorts may offer private beaches or closed-off sections reserved for a private ceremony.
3. Capture The Moment With A Designated Photo Spot
With a picturesque venue and you and your guests dressed to the nines, you’ll want to have plenty of opportunities for pictures on your big day.
Create a designated photo spot where your guests can take unlimited pictures to remember the event. This can include creating a photo wall, having a photo booth, or having large frames available for your guests to hold up and pose in.
If you choose to have an arch made out of flowers or another creative display, that location could also become a popular spot for a photoshoot.
As you plan out your photo spot props and decor, don’t forget to include your wedding hashtag. A wedding hashtag represents you and your partner’s lifelong slogan. It’s a fun and creative way to celebrate your union while also being a practical way of organizing your wedding day memories on social media.
By including your wedding hashtag on signs and decor, you’re reminding and encouraging your guests to post their top pics using your hashtag. With a simple hashtag search, you can easily go back and look at all your wedding day memories in one place for years to come.
4. Beach-themed Wedding Decor Tips
For a beach-themed wedding, you’re sometimes limited on how many decorations you can add, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most out of what you do have!
Decorate The Chairs To Match Your Color Scheme
Everyone loves a good colour scheme. Perhaps you want the colours of your beach wedding to consist of cool blues to match the tones of the water. Or maybe you’re looking towards a warmer colour scheme for a tropical vibe or a sunset theme.
When you decide upon a colour scheme, be sure to add your selected colours to every detail of your venue. For example, decorating the chairs can be a fun way to make your colour scheme stand out.
Wrap your chairs in a colourful cloth, tie them with a bow, add flowers to your chairs that match your colour palette, or decorate them with plants, seashells, and starfish.
Decorate The Aisle
The wedding aisle is a key factor in every wedding ceremony. The walk down the aisle represents your last moments as a single person. All eyes will be on you and the aisle, so you might as well have fun decorating it.
For a beach wedding aisle, you can choose to embrace the sand or cover it up with an aisle runner. Many couples opt to scatter flowers throughout the aisle to provide it with a tropical feel.
Give your aisle a clear definition of where it starts and stops by adding a unique beach-themed border to it. This border could include rows of lanterns, candles, palm tree fronds, branches and seashells, or even small umbrellas. Get as creative as you’d like when decorating for your big day!
Create An Elaborate Altar
Now it’s time to consider decorating your altar. The altar is the centre of the ceremony. Everyone’s attention will be directed at this altar. It’s the special location where you officially get to marry your significant other.
There are so many creative ways to add a great altar to your beach-themed wedding. First, consider a natural appearance by using driftwood or palm trees. Flowers will, of course, always make for a gorgeous display as well.
Consider if you want your altar to be rectangular or arched. Do you want it to be more one dimensional or an entire structure? Perhaps you’re looking for a unique geometric design in the form of a hexagon, circle, or even a teepee. The choice is all yours!
Pro-Tips For Decor
Make sure your decor is sturdy and stable enough to last throughout your wedding ceremony in case of external weather factors. Try not to have any loose or light decorations that could easily fly away.
5. Think about food storage
Most beach weddings happen in the summer months, so that it will be hot. Serve light food and foods that can withstand warm temperatures. Avoid foods that will melt or spoil in a hurry. Fish tacos are the most popular for such periods. For cakes, avoid butter-cream for warm weather. It will turn into a melted mess before you even get to cut it.
6. Beach-themed Wedding Attire
Getting married on the beach can be a beautiful affair but may require more casual and practical attire.
Remember that the beach adds the extra element of nature to your wedding day. So switch out the elaborate train for a more casual approach. You may not want your dress to be dragging through the sand and collecting dirt as you walk down the aisle. Instead, opt for a gown that’s shorter in length and thus more practical to walk in or try out a woman’s tuxedo.
Also, be sure to consider the wind when choosing your hairstyle. For example, a long and flowy style might be beautiful inside, but on the beach, you might be safer with a nice updo or braid to keep your hair beautiful and in place throughout any gusts of wind.
7. Beware The Sand!
Sand is the number one element to keep in mind for your beach-themed wedding. As the bride and your guests, both you need to consider the sand when selecting your shoes.
The last thing anyone wants is a bunch of sand in their nice dress shoes or heels. But, on the other hand, you want yourself and your guests to feel as comfortable as possible on your wedding day. So ditch the fancy shoes and opt for more casual footwear.
Pro-Tips For Attire At Beach Weddings
Tell your guests to wear sandals or flip flops during your beach ceremony. Or, if you truly want to embrace the sandy shore, opt to have a barefoot wedding. The main goal is to ensure you and your guests are comfortable throughout the ceremony.
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to plan for dress length at a sandy beach wedding. This not only goes for the bride’s gown but also for the bridesmaids, guests, and even the men’s dress pants. Choose shorter dress lengths or short suits that’ll make you feel comfortable walking in the sand.
8. Don’t forget about the weather
Guests can get very uncomfortable in the hot weather. Hence, fix your ceremony for the morning or late afternoon time. If it is in rainy months, prepare against the wind and hurricanes. Before you book a venue, check for weather reports in that area. Use shades to shield guests, and put lemonades, cocktails and ice water on standby.
9. Project Runway
If your goal is to avoid the sand at all costs, create a runway or platform down the aisle and altar to prevent damage to the dress.
While covering the aisle with a runner or type of cloth may seem like a nice idea, sand is still bound to make its way on top of it. So instead, transform the sandy beach to feel like a boardwalk by including a wooden platform as your walkway.
The key to pulling off the most optimal runway with limited contact to the sand is by adding height to your wedding aisle. This is why a platform or boardwalk of some type is your best option.
A runway not only helps the bride walk down the aisle safely from sand, but it will also help your guests get to their seats with minimal sand interaction.
10. Shoe Valet
This last tip is all about shoes. Some venues will provide a shoe valet where guests can exchange their heels and nice shoes for casual flip flops to wear during the ceremony. This allows everyone to enjoy the sandy beach while also preserving their nice shoes for the reception to follow.
If your venue does not offer a shoe valet, nothing says you can’t create your own. Purchase pairs of flip flops to match your colour scheme and give them out as fun party favours for your guests. You could even personalize these flip flops to include your names and wedding date for the ultimate beach wedding keepsake.
Before everyone hits the sand, have a location where your guests can exchange their dress shoes and gain fun and comfortable wedding day souvenirs in the process.
Time To Get Your Beach On!
Now that you know the top tips for a beach-themed wedding, we hope your wedding planning becomes a breeze.
Remember to consider the weather, your wedding size, and the level of privacy you want when searching for the perfect beach venue. Get creative with the ambience of your big day by having a fun photo spot and decorating the chairs, aisle, and altar.
Lastly, consider sand and wind when it comes to decor and attire. Choose a dress length that works in the sand, opt for flip flops, style your hair according to the wind, and create a beautiful runway if you’re trying to avoid the sand.
With all these tips in mind, your beach-themed wedding is sure to be a stellar success!
Beach Wedding Ideas
1. Beach Wedding Dresses
Let’s start with the attire, shall we? When it comes to the perfect look for your tropical affair, buying wedding dresses online is the easiest and fastest way to get your dream gown since you are most likely looking for a smart, sleek option or a flowy, ethereal number.
Modern brides nowadays have the advantage of finding so many online retailers out there to buy beach bridal dress designs that are far from basic and bring the glam game to the max.
Beach Wedding Dress Ideas
For beach wedding dress ideas, there is a variety of colours to choose from. First off, the beach is calm, relaxing and has natural beauty. So, you want to wear a colour that doesn’t compete with that but blends in. By this, make your beach wedding dresses in colours of blush, cream, and hues of soft blues.
Go with something simple and not a ball gown. If you want to work with a heavy dress, make sure it bustles with ease. But for more comfort, wear something lightweight like a chiffon dress that flows in the wind. Stay away from trimmings of lace or ruffles as they pick beach debris. This could pose a problem when you go photo shooting.
Do away with veils in total. As refreshing as the sea breeze is, it’s a nightmare for your veil. It can pull off or stay disturbing, which can frustrate your photographer. Fascinates and fresh flowers work best for your hair.
For footwear, we wedges, flats or espadrilles that will not get stuck in the sand. The sand could be searing hot, and we don’t want you to end up with blisters. So, secure your feet.
Your beach wedding hair ideas should range from an up-do to a tousled hairstyle. This is what complements wedding dress best and keeps you smart all day. Of course, a professional hairstylist should be on standby all day for some touch-ups.
2. Nautical Invitations For Beach Wedding
Thinking of beach wedding invitation ideas? Then think of tropical and sailor themes. But, you also have the choice to stay laid back. It is the first real information that you give guests about your wedding. So, make it count by using a vibrant colour palette consistent with all your wedding stationery.
The idea of making your invitation into a sailor’s map and tree palms is an outstanding one. However, you can also work with a laid back stunning motif of the sunset and some calm relaxation. This will take the guests into some realm of nostalgia.
Other unique beach wedding ideas for invitations include seashells and starfish invites. Make them into key holders and send them to your guests as invites.
They will not forget your wedding because they’d use it every time. So whenever they pick up the seashell or starfish key holder, they know they have a wedding to attend.
Another style you can adopt is the sailor’s anchor and knot. This is a classic way to tell guests that you’re inviting them to a beach wedding. The anchor and knot are very symbolic to sailors. Guests can never miss that signal.
If you decide on having a cruise, make that anchor into a luggage tag as invites. Beach wedding invitations are some of the most beautiful wedding invitations ever!
3. Beach Wedding Guest Dress Ideas
Beach guest dress ideas are more casual than formal. But depending on how upscale you want to look, you can combine a few stuff. For beach wedding guest dress ideas, we’d advise you to go light. Embrace pieces of cotton, linen, silk, and a little satin for some shine. Wear something that breathes.
For the ladies, deck up in a sundress if it’s a daytime wedding. But for evening time, go in an elegant maxi dress with some pop of colour. Do not forget any reason to wear white unless you plan to upstage the bride. Do not wear black either, as it’s not a formal wedding.
Your footwear should include espadrilles, flats, and wedges, depending on if it’s sand or grass. Don’t wear heels unless you want to harvest the sand on the beach with your shoes. If you are a heels addict, you can do kitten heels. Those are safe.
For the gents, if you opt for beach wedding suit ideas, rock khaki or a light shade of tan. Pair it with pastels, pink or yellow shirts. You can also rock pants or shorts with open-collared shirts. No tuxedos, please! If you do, you will become a sweaty mess before the wedding even starts.
Get your pedicure done and show up in sandals. But, ladies and gents, do not forget your hats and sunshades for the perfect finish!
4. Beach Wedding Decorations
Beach wedding decor ideas must be simple and harmonious with its surrounding. The aim of a beach wedding decoration is not to disrupt but to complement the environment. So for beach wedding ceremony ideas, vibrant tones like corals and greens will contrast well.
Florals will also add some demure charm to the setting. Work with only blooms that tolerate tropical weather. There is also the option of decorating with fresh fruits or other nautical elements. This is blowing away from the normal.
Do away with flower vases or lanterns that could get broken on the sand. Adopt hurricane style lanterns or LED candles for lighting instead—anchor every other thing to stay put.
If you always dreamed of tall beach wedding centrepieces, you can go ahead and use them. But you’d anchor them with palm or heavy objects. If you need beach wedding centrepiece ideas on a budget, use driftwood. This will stand the wind.
The beach wedding arch ideas to use when decorating in palms. Intertwine palms into an archway, leading towards the aisle for the couple. Decorate with anchored lights and fresh fruits. Beach wedding decoration is about creativity and simplicity.
DIY Wedding Beach Ideas
A beach themed wedding is one of the times to show your most creativity. This is especially if you are thinking of small beach wedding ideas. The same goes for couples who are looking for wedding ideas on a budget.
The surfboard sign is a stunning DIY item for your beach wedding. They are quite pricey, but you could get an old surfboard and paint your names on it. This will tell guests who are getting married once they get to your venue. It is also a way to differentiate if more than one wedding is happening.
Beach wedding guest book ideas is another one. Get the paper yourself and create a guest book you love. It will always be in your treasure box because your hands made them.
The beautiful starfish boutonnieres isn’t an exception. Get the regular boutonnieres and stick it to a starfish. This is classical and looks out of this world. Your groom can sport it on his suit for the wedding.
Escort cards made of a seashell is in trend these days. They are beautiful and gives your wedding a classic look.
A seashell bouquet is a beauty to behold. First, start picking them beforehand so that by your wedding, you’d have enough. Then, ditch the flowers and string your shells together in a jaw-dropping bouquet.
A program fan will come in handy when the weather is hot. Get some Popsicle sticks and staples or adhesive. Take your program and pin it to the Popsicle stick, and you’re good to go. It will double as fan and program—more DIY for beach weddings online.
Seaside Bouquet Ideas For a Bride
We came up with some beach wedding flowers ideas. But, of course, you also can DIY, especially if you’re hunting for beach wedding ideas on a budget.
What to do is go for beach colours; this will complement the beach and not compete. Bundle them together with ribbons, and then fix in some corals and seashells in-between.
You may also bundle your flower together with nautical ropes or a blue and white striped sailor scarf. Finally, finish it off with ribbons inspired by the sea.
Another one is to make your flowers from starfishes, pearls, and sea urchins. A style that would make your guests’ jaws drop. These and more are magnificent beach wedding ideas for DIY seaside flowers.
Favours For Beach Wedding
Beach wedding favour ideas are interesting to create. This is because you have everything from the sea to draw inspiration from. From the sea urchins to the crabs, seashells, and starfishes, you’re in luck.
Candy rock and pebble favours are something your guests will love. In quick time, you can make candies in the shape and colours of rocks. Your guests will not believe it. So usher them to the wedding with some sea goodness.
Do you want guests to have a bad memory of your wedding, because they lost shoes? Save the guests from ruining their shoes by gifting them some personalized flip flops. They can wear it in the evening or if the sand doesn’t relent. Engrave your wedding date or name on the flip flops to make it more personal.
Another unique beach wedding ideas for favours are cookies! Make them into starfishes, crabs, snail shells, oyster shells and others. Keep guests fascinated.
Again, guests will be coming in from out of town for your wedding. The weather in their zones may be different from yours. So, hand them gift bags which will contain everything and sunscreen. They shouldn’t come to your wedding and leave with tan lines.
Cake Ideas For Your Beach Wedding
Beach wedding cake ideas can be colourful, huge or small. But they must be simple because that is what works. First off, flavours are in trend with beach wedding cakes. So feel free to make your cakes in decadent chocolates or shades of fresh fruits.
Decorate the cakes with beach themed colours and nautical motifs. These will include boats, ships, the sea or the beach. Make them into tiers if you want a huge cake. Shape each layer into things ranging from a tavern, seashells, etc.
Embellish the cake with toppers like coconut, macaroons, oyster shells, carbon shells, etc. Do this for every tier of the cake. And the last and most important is to make small cupcakes for guests. Adorn them with a beach motif on each cupcake.
This is the perfect kind of wedding to have on the beach—a great way to put the beach sand into some usefulness. Sand blending ceremonies are unique, and having it on the beach is symbolic. This ceremony signifies the coming together of two people from different cultures, beliefs, and families.
The bride and groom will each hold a jar of sand. They’d pour them at the same time into another clear case. The sands blend as they pour it in, signifying unity. As no one can separate sands, so they will stay united for life. These sands often come in different colours or your favourite colours.
Family and children, if any from both sides, can partake in the unifying of both families. After the wedding, the sand becomes ornamental in the couple’s home.
Beach Wedding Photo Backdrop
Beach wedding photo ideas will come out breathtaking using natural backdrops. Make no alterations; rather, use the elements around you to your advantage. Hire a professional wedding photographer that can come up with great wedding picture ideas.
Savour in the beauty of the sea, hanging cliffs, sweeping breeze, swaying palms and waning sunset. These give stunning backdrops to your beach photo shoot. There is nothing better than looking like you have the whole big world to yourself.
Take pictures of the decor for your wedding. This includes the wedding arch, cakes, a boat, if there is one. And if fireworks are going up into the sky, take some pictures with you in them. These are memories forever treasured.
Alter nothing in your environment. Contrast, yet blend into it.
Beach Wedding FAQs
1. Do you need a permit for a beach wedding?
The answer will depend on exactly where you’re getting married, but you should err on the side of caution and assume that you will need a permit for your beach wedding.
This is especially true for public beaches and parks, while you’re less likely to need an additional permit if your wedding venue has a private beach.
If you’re having trouble navigating the permit system (something that can be especially tricky for destination weddings), consider contacting a local wedding planner who has experience working at your wedding venue—they’ll know exactly what to do and will be happy to help.
2. What are the best beach wedding venues?
There are plenty of beaches across the country (and the world) that are attractive options for a wedding. If you’re considering a destination wedding, Mexico and the Caribbean are filled with luxurious beach resorts and oceanfront venues.
Even if you aren’t tying the knot at an oceanfront location, you can still have a beach-themed wedding—especially if your venue is near any other body of water, such as a river or lake. Some of our favourite non-beach venues for this style include yacht clubs, lake houses, and bayside lawns.
3. What are the best beach wedding colours?
A beach-themed wedding is perfect if you love bright and vibrant colour palettes. However, if you’re going for a tropical look, choose a playful colour scheme like fuchsia, teal, orange, yellow, purple, and green.
For a nautical wedding, focus on a classic colour palette with pops of bold colours, such as navy blue and white with coral or blush. Love boho style? Add warm tones to your beach wedding palette, like rust orange, marigold, and dusty rose to create an earthy, free-spirited vibe.
If statement hues aren’t your thing, you can opt for pastels and neutrals instead, which will give your wedding a vintage, beachy chic look. We love a few combinations if you’re going this route: light blue and grey, ivory and peach, or white and turquoise.
4. What are the best flowers for a beach-themed wedding?
If your beach wedding colour palette is filled with tropical colours, go for statement flowers that complement the energetic vibe, such as stargazer lilies, orchids, hibiscus, anthurium, plumerias, palm leaves, and proteas.
For a beach-themed wedding with classic or vintage elements, choose flowers available in white or pastel tones.
Hydrangeas, roses, peonies, ranunculus, anemones, sweet peas, and the delphinium are just a few that we love. Finally, if you’re planning a boho-meets-beachy wedding, you can add lots of greenery or pampas grass to give the bouquets and arrangements a wild, untamed look.
If you want to include beach-inspired accents to your flower arrangements, use a few well-placed seashells or starfish, or add sailing rope and long ribbons, which look lovely blowing in an ocean breeze.
Hurricane vases and antique-style lanterns are popular for beach wedding centrepieces. You can fill them with sand or seashells and top them with flowers, or leave them uncovered and add votives or floating candles for a romantic effect.
5. How do you decorate for a beach wedding theme?
One of the great things about having a beach wedding ceremony is keeping your decor minimal and letting the scenery do the work for you. With an ocean view, you won’t need much else to wow your guests—nor would you want to block out the natural beauty of your venue!
For the ceremony, we recommend limiting your decor to an altar, arch, or chuppah, along with aisle markers and a sign or two at the entrance. And if you’re using a public beach, keep in mind that there might be a limited amount of time to set up for the ceremony, along with restrictions for the types of decor you’re allowed to use.
Our final tip: Beach and waterfront venues can also get unexpectedly windy, so carefully secure any decor to avoid mid-ceremony mishaps.
Beach wedding decor doesn’t need to be fussy or overdone. Be selective when it comes to choosing beach-inspired accents—you want your wedding to still look like a wedding, not a beach town souvenir shop overrun with mismatched pieces. Seashells, starfish and sand are all ideals for a beach-themed wedding, but we suggest using them in moderation.
Remember: Sometimes less is more, and not every piece of your decor needs to be beach-themed. The key is to mix in non-beachy items to keep the space balanced and cohesive.
Citrus fruits and pineapples are popular accents if you’re going for a tropical beach wedding aesthetic. Known as a symbol of hospitality, pineapples are cheerful and welcoming, and they can easily be used as wedding ceremony aisle markers or centrepiece accents.
Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, limes, kumquats) can be used to create an eye-catching centrepiece, display escort or place cards, or to decorate your beach wedding cake.