You’re considering a beach wedding? Do it! Surely there is nothing better than tying the knot with sand between your toes, the ocean waves crashing in the background, and the sun shining down on you.
I’m such a huge fan that I had my wedding ceremony on a small gorgeous beach in Bermuda.
Your wedding photos will be epic as you marry your true love amongst the natural beauty of your surroundings. And all that light… it’s a photographer’s dream.
There are lots of styling and decor ideas that you can only really do on a beach… so I say embrace it!
Whether you are going for a chilled boho beach vibe or a chic coastal wedding, here are some beach wedding ideas that should inspire and help you get even more excited!
When getting married on a gorgeous beach you don’t need to add too much decoration to your ceremony set up as the soft blues of the glimmering ocean and the white sand will be your backdrop.
However, it’s all in the details! Think about including a simple ceremonial arch for you and your partner to stand in front of, this will frame you as you make your vows to each other and create beautiful photos.
We’ve seen some stunning structures made from natural driftwood. Or perhaps choose a simple wood circle or triangle structure for your backdrop. Add some palm leaves, flowers, or pampas grass to finish off the piece.
Sea Themed Stationery
Once you have decided on your beach location, you can start to reflect this in all elements of your wedding, from your save-the-dates to the wedding website.
Whether it’s incorporating shells, waves, the sun, palm trees, or beach cocktails into your stationery, you can find some lovely designs that will be sure to get your guests even more excited about the upcoming event.
Create an Aisle
Walking down the aisle is a little different on the beach; you almost have to create the aisle yourself.
This could be by using flower petals, shells or palm tree leaves to create an outline, and possibly the walkway down if needed.
Depending on your location I encourage you to explore the local flora and fauna to see what can be used within your beach wedding design.
Bright flowers could be turned into a flower crown or hair slide for the bride. If you are lucky enough to be tying the knot somewhere like Hawaii, you could of course exchange flesh flower lei with your partner during your ceremony.
If you are in an area famous for its tropical fruits, you could use large pretty woven baskets filled with vivid oranges and papayas to decorate your aisle.
You are only getting married on the beach once, so choose bright and eye-catching flowers from a local supplier such as orchids or ginger flowers. I opted for birds of paradise flowers as their bright orange color was so vibrant.
Your bouquet could then of course match your flower crown, buttonholes, and centerpieces.
Natural Table Centerpieces
This is no ordinary wedding, this is a beach wedding, so think about using natural elements in your table decor.
This may be small potted cacti, coconuts, or the local flowers to match your bouquet. Using palm tree leaves as your table runners is a simple yet particularly effective way to extend the tropical theme.
You could even use local fruits to accentuate the beach vibe on your tables; think pineapples, bananas, and coconuts.
Beach Theme Name Settings
If you are dining on the beach, you can certainly get creative with the place names on your tables.
Handwrite your guest names on shells, palm leaves, or even half coconut shells.
Wicker or bamboo chairs are a great way to extend your natural beach wedding vibe – you can find grand ones for the bride and groom, almost like wicker thrones, and decorate with palm leaves or bright flowers.
If you are getting married on a beach known for its surfing then how about embracing the surfboard?!
How cool would it be to use old surfboards for the table seating plan or a “Welcome to Our Wedding” sign?
Why not reflect your beautiful location in a nautical or beach-themed wedding cake? You can find lots of specific ideas here.
The Beach-Bridal Look
Beach Wedding Dress
When contemplating a beach wedding, one of the first things you’ll need to carefully consider is your dress.
It’s best to avoid wedding dresses that are too heavy… a hot sandy beach is not the time for a large traditional gown. You’ll want something light that you can move in and that will keep you cool.
Off-the-shoulder and strapless dresses look beautiful at beach weddings. Just be careful not to get any shoulder strap marks before the big day!
When it comes to shoes, think about what goes with the dress and the sand! I just love seeing brides and grooms go barefoot. I loved having the sand between my toes during my beach ceremony.
Heels should be avoided… so perhaps consider a dressy glitzy sandal. If you want some height, opt for a wedge or block heel for your sandal.
Beach Wedding Hair
For bridal hair, think of a style that will work outside. I’m talking about the wind! It may be that choosing to have your hair down is not the best idea. A solid updo is a great way to stay cool and is much more wind-friendly.
There are also some gorgeous half-up styles you could consider; loose plaits and soft waves always work well at a relaxed beach wedding.
Veils can be a little tricky if it’s windy, especially long ones. Perhaps avoid a veil and choose a pretty headpiece or bow instead.
Special Touches for Your Guests
Some of your wedding guests may not be quite prepared for spending a few hours under the hot sun.
Think about little things that you can provide that will help them out. Leave a paper hand fan on every guest chair to help keep them cool for example. These could even be personalized with your names and the wedding date – this would make a great wedding favor.
Perhaps your guests won’t wear appropriate beach footwear. I love the idea of providing flip-flops for your guests, so if they opted for closed shoes, they still have the option to get out their toes and embrace the sand.
You may also want to provide drinking water, sunscreen, and maybe even insect repellent to ease any possible discomfort!
A Shoe Valet
Whether you are providing flip-flops for your guests or not, I love the idea of creating a shoe station or large shoe rack for your guests. This means that your loved ones can leave their shoes safely whilst they go barefoot into the sand.
It would also be a good idea to include some beach brushes here so your guests can brush their legs and feet down before they leave.
A Shaded Chill-Out Area
Create a shaded area for your wedding party. This is a particularly good idea for your older and younger guests.
Depending on your vibe this could be created with drapes, large parasols, or a gazebo. The area could include plush seating and comfortable cushions to create a relaxed and informal area to lounge in, sip a pina colada and have a break from the sun.
If you have lots of kids coming to your wedding then think about creating a little area just for them, packed with toys, buckets and spades.
You could even encourage a sandcastle competition with the bride and groom as the judges!
In case there is some rain on your wedding day, think ahead and buy some large emergency umbrellas – these could also be used as parasols to protect from the hot sun. Something loud and bright will look epic in the photos and will detract from the rain.
I mean, this one goes without saying. If you are having your reception on the beach then you have to create a drinks menu that reflects this!
If the area has a national cocktail then include it. Don’t forget to add a Mint-to-be Mojito and a Marry Me Margarita to the menu too!
Perhaps some of the cocktails could be personalized and named after the bride and groom. Or create a signature cocktail to match your color scheme!
Talking of tropical drinks, I love the idea of creating a beach bar on the sand for after your ceremony. Made from wood or wicker, with stools to sit on, you could create serious Tiki bar vibes!
This could also be a good place to plug in a sound system and play some music.
Add the “Wow” Factor
Enter by Boat
This is one of my favorite beach wedding ideas… is there any way you could arrive by boat to your beach wedding ceremony?
It would be amazing for one or both of you to arrive by a little sailboat. It would make a great surprise for your guests and just imagine how good the photos will look!
Another idea to consider is exiting the wedding together by the water – of course, this will depend on your location but I’m envisaging a couple of happy newlyweds jetting off to their luxury hotel via speedboat!
Put On a Show
Your wedding is a celebration so why not up the ante and hire a steel drum band to emphasize the tropical party vibes? Or if your reception is beachfront, perhaps a fire dancer could perform when the sun goes down!
Our Beach Wedding Hints
Make Time for Your Photographer!
Whilst it’s pretty common for newlyweds to disappear off with the photographer after the ceremony, it’s even more important for a beach wedding!
You want to remember this unique natural location forever so it is worth spending some time with your photographer in the most beautiful locations nearby on your wedding day – this may be on some rocks or in a slightly different quieter part of the beach.
Trust your photographer to know the best spots and sources of light – you won’t regret it!
Plan For the Weather!
Whilst we’ve given you lots of fun beach wedding ideas here, you should also be prepared for uncontrollable factors.
It is not always sunny on the beach and you’ll need to think about the possibility of rain, humidity, and wind. A little extra contingency planning could help a lot and mean you can still have the beach wedding you dream of despite the unruly elements.
When picking the time of your wedding, think about the average temperature at the time of year, and plan accordingly. Midday is usually the hottest time, so it’s common for beach weddings to start a little later in the afternoon.
Consider that it might be a windy day – this not only applies to your hairstyle but also your decor and lighting. Open flames might not be the best option for this reason. Make sure any flowers or leaves used for decor are pinned or stuck down properly.
Be prepared for rain. Talk to your planner or venue about wet weather options. It may be that they can have a gazebo on standby.
Although it’s unpredictable, you should know in the days leading up to your wedding what the forecast will be. If it’s looking bad, have a serious think about Plan B!