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the scene from a small beach wedding

Magical and Marvelous Ideas for a Beach Wedding

With picturesque scenery and warm weather, it’s no wonder that countless brides and grooms are always considering beach venues for their alfresco celebrations. The tranquil surroundings of the oceanfront are effortless in inspiring an atmosphere of romance and tropical bliss that can’t be experienced anywhere else. 

Even though beach weddings work their magic by playing into the beauty of the natural landscape, brides and grooms still have much left to decide during the planning process.

Some couples might feel that looking for beach wedding ceremony ideas might be intimidating, especially if they’ve never attended a seaside celebration before. 

beach theme wedding

What are the most popular beach wedding decoration ideas? What kind of beach wedding favors should I give to my guests? What are the best meals to serve during a large or small beach wedding?

Look no further to have all of these questions answered with our guide of beach wedding ideas!

 

What Are The Most Popular Beach Wedding Ideas?

Beach weddings have maintained their popularity throughout the years because of their flexibility especially in comparison to other wedding themes. Brides and grooms can organize their beach weddings during any season while being as relaxed or extravagant as they wish. 

Beach wedding ceremony ideas often overlap with rustic, bohemian, and travel themes so the options for a seaside celebration are truly endless. Find some inspiration from our guide on beach wedding ideas and make your special day feel like it came straight out of a romantic movie scene!

 

Beach Wedding Invitations

Give your wedding party a preview of your large or small beach wedding by including images of palm trees, ocean waves, and sand castles throughout your invitations. Tie up these pieces of paper with twine instead of ribbon before sending them off to your guests as a message in a bottle. 

If you’re planning on having a destination wedding and want unique beach wedding ideas that reflect this fact, find some stationary in the style of airplane tickets or passports. Your guests will only feel even more excited to travel and attend your waterfront event.

 

Casual Bridal Dresses

One of the main perks with having a romantic celebration on the oceanside is your chance to incorporate more casual styles in your wedding attire. 


Beach wedding dress ideas are nothing short of being airy and carefree. Skip out on the ballroom gown since it’ll feel too heavy in the relaxed atmosphere along the oceanside. 

A mermaid dress may sound the best choice for a large or small beach wedding, but a backless dress that is tea-length or shorter proves itself to be more appropriate. Ensembles with crop tops also look stunning in these alfresco settings.

 

Beach Bridal Accessories

Don’t be afraid to skip out on wearing a traditional veil during your special day on the sandy shores. Starfish hair combs and clips are some of the most popular beach wedding ideas for bridal accessories. Wear some tropical flowers if you want that extra pop of color. 

To make sure that you’re able to walk down the aisle comfortably, plan your wedding attire around wearing wedges instead of high heels. For unique beach wedding ideas that still look marvelous while providing even more comfort, go with barefoot sandals.

 

Wedding Guest Attire

 

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Ask your guests to wear breathable fabrics like cotton or linen blends as part of their beach attire. Light blues, greens, and browns are the most classic choices with emulating colors of the oceanside. 

Bright colors shouldn’t be completely excluded when deciding on beach wedding dress ideas because those shades still work by contrasting well with the lighter hues of your maritime surroundings. Encourage your guests to also bring a scarf or shawl in case the nearby waterfront carries a chilly breeze.

 

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Attire

If you and your partner are more interested in tropical beach wedding ideas for wedding attire, invite your bridesmaids to wear leis. Groomsmen can trade their solid color ties for tropical prints. 

Take advantage of your nautical theme by having your guests wear seersucker blazers instead of tuxedo jackets. Starfish boutonnieres are a playful, yet appropriate accessory for any kind of large or small beach wedding.

 

Lightweight Furniture 

Heavy furniture will definitely feel out of place during your seaside celebration so go with beach wedding decoration ideas that reflect the easygoing atmosphere. 

Wicker and ghost chairs may feel plain on their own, so think about tying some palm leaves on these lightweight beachy furnishings to further play into your maritime theme. The large and durable nature of palm leaves means you don’t have to worry about these decorations breaking or falling apart easily during your large or small beach wedding.

 

Rattan Dinnerware


Make the most of your nautical theme by including some unique beach wedding ideas into your dinnerware. Fine china and other kinds of heavy dinnerware found in other wedding themes should be excluded.

Look into rattan charger plates and placemats instead. Wooden utensils have never felt more appropriate than being paired with this kind of dinnerware at a waterfront celebration. 

 

Beach Wedding Centerpieces

The aesthetics of a sandy shore can’t be understated and your seaside celebration can echo this same beauty through your choice in beach wedding centerpieces. 

beach wedding decor

 

Driftwood centerpieces look especially remarkable when decorated with sea glass, bamboo sticks, and corral pieces. Add some tropical flowers in eye-catching hues to truly steal the show.

For brides and grooms who aren’t interested in using driftwood as centerpieces, lighthouses work as memorable decor. Some of these decorations can double as candle holders, which will photograph beautifully on your special day.

 

Sailboat Decorations

 

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Nothing says beach wedding decoration ideas quite like sailboats. Place them next to your driftwood centerpieces or on their own along with ropes and anchors. 

 

Pennant Banners

 

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Pennant banners tend to be on the preppier side of beach wedding ceremony ideas, but still become memorable for capturing the easy-breezy vibe of a waterfront event. Customize them to fit your wedding color scheme or include the names of you and your partner.

 

Sea Star Decorations

Bring your beach wedding dreams to life by decorating your venue space with sea stars. Be sure to hang them among the greenery or stick them in the sand as aisle decor. 

 

Pink Flamingo Topper

For a touch of romance among your beach wedding decoration ideas, go with a pink flamingo wedding cake topper. These iconic look amazing on all kinds of wedding desserts, ranging from traditional to naked cakes

 

Tiki Torches

 

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If you want to tie the knot after the sun goes down, don’t forget to provide some light with some tiki torches during your seaside celebration. The glow from these beach wedding ideas works wonderfully at creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere. 

 

Surfboard Decorations

 

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Surfboards are no strangers to a large or small beach wedding. Flex your creativity by personalizing these nautical props and your guests are guaranteed to remember them forever.

 

Games

For brides and grooms who plan on entertaining their guests with some activities during their waterfront event, get your inspiration for beach wedding ideas by looking into wedding reception games that are played in other kinds of outdoor venues.

With games like cornhole and hopscotch, include imagery of seashells, crabs, and fish to fit with your nautical theme. 

 

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Give your guest list the full experience of a beach wedding by making space for unique beach wedding ideas that feel natural within your seaside celebration.

Set up a volleyball net and not many people in your wedding party will say no to a game. Kids will enjoy flying kites and playing in the sand with a shovel and pail during your special day.

 

Beach Towel Wedding Favors


Beach wedding favors are one of the best ways to express your appreciation towards your guests for attending and celebrating on your special day. 

If you’re looking for beach wedding favor ideas that are practical but still fit within your nautical theme, beach towels are your answer. These gifts will eventually be used by everybody in your wedding party and will feel even more special if you choose to personalize them. 

 

Sunglasses 

Sunglasses are another popular choice for brides and grooms who don’t want to give beach wedding favors to their guests that will end up sitting at home and be forgotten. These gifts will definitely remind your wedding party of the warm weather that they experienced during your special day.

 

Flip Flops


While most couples wouldn’t think of flip flops as a choice for beach wedding favor ideas, don’t hesitate to send your guests home with a pair. Your wedding party might even get some use out of their flip flops before leaving the ceremony.

 

Ship Wheel Charms

 

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Who could say no to receiving a ship wheel charm? These beach wedding favors are more versatile than other choices since your guest list can add them to a keychain, lanyard, or piece of jewelry.

 

Bottle Openers

Bottle openers are truly a classic choice among beach wedding favor ideas. Look out for bottle openers in the shape of anchors, seahorses, and mermaids to work with your maritime theme.

 

Seashell Candles

You can never go wrong with gifting your wedding party with seashell candles. Choose a scent that reminds you of the oceanside and your guests are guaranteed to thank you for the beach wedding favors.

 

Beach Wedding Menu

The food served at a large or small beach wedding becomes one of the most memorable parts of the seaside celebration. Serving seafood at your beach wedding may feel like a no-brainer, but you can organize meals that go beyond the usual choice of fish and chips.

sushi boats

Your guests will definitely enjoy New England or Manhattan style clam chowder with oyster crackers as an appetizer to your beach wedding. Crab cakes, lobster rolls, and shrimp alfredo prove to be some of the most delicious beach wedding ideas. If you know that people in your wedding party prefer spicier options, don’t shy away from serving some fish curry. 

If you and your partner are looking for beach wedding ideas that allow their guests to customize their own meal, fish tacos are the perfect choice. Don’t forget to provide other kinds of meats for anybody in the wedding party who may be allergic to seafood. Salads can work as a side to the meal or as a main course for anybody else with dietary restrictions. 

 

Snacks

To help your guests fight off the heat and stay hydrated while they’re sipping on cocktails, include some popsicles during your special day. Choose some tropical flavors from a catering company or make them yourself if you’re going for a DIY beach wedding.

 

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For couples who are looking to serve more of a substantial kind of snack, local fruits are the way to go. Pineapples, papayas, and mangoes and other kinds of tropical fruits will look appetizing when organized into kabobs.

 

Final Thoughts

Since your beach wedding is still taking place in an outdoor wedding venue, you’ll still be at the mercy of the weather during your seaside celebration.

 

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The wind and humidity of the oceanfront may cause some unexpected problems so make some time during the planning process to create some backup ideas. Umbrellas, sheer tents, and hurricane candle holders will truly save the day while playing into your other beach wedding decoration ideas.

If any of the beach wedding ideas in this guide sound perfect for your upcoming waterfront event, don’t forget to let us know in the comments. Let us know if you’ve discovered any unique beach wedding ideas that didn’t make the list!

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Lauren Peterson

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