Beach Wedding Ideas That’ll Make Your Big Day Rock

So, you’ve decided you want to get married on the beach…congratulations! It’s becoming more common for couples to go the non-traditional route when it comes to their wedding, and put the focus back where it belongs—on them.

Beach weddings are spectacular, providing the wow factor without all the added expense of decor. You get a naturally gorgeous backdrop, free ambiance and color, and a mini vacation for your guests in the process. You can take advantage of the natural surroundings and ambiance, or add props to customize your look and experience.

Wondering what to do to make your wedding unique, and not just a typical beach wedding?

We may be able to help; that said, here are a few beach wedding ideas that’ll make your big day rock.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Obviously, like any wedding venue, you will need to research a bit and find your location. Whether coastal town or a destination wedding, there are details to consider such as time of year, number of guests, resort packages, and if you need a wedding planner.

Many destination beach venues, like at a resort or on a cruise, offer wedding packages and have a planning professional at your disposal, all for one lump sum.

Coastal towns often have local specialists that deal with preselected vendors and locations, which may help your planning process go smoothly.

Get Out the Invitations

This is a great opportunity to think outside the box with your invitations. To keep up with the beach theme, perhaps send a message in a bottle to your exclusive guest list? Or make invitations out of dried leaves and flowers, or tied with seaweed and seashells?

If your beach wedding is in an exotic location, consider making the invitations look like plane tickets or passports. Include silk flower petals in the envelope as a pretty confetti surprise for your invitees.

Beach Wedding Ideas for Your Hair and Overall Wedding Style

Consider an updo, boho braid or hair accessory that will keep your hair from getting knotted in the wind. If that’s too formal, try pinning random pieces out of the way of your face so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of constantly sweeping your hair to the side.

Depending on the time of year, it may be wise to keep makeup light and accentuating.  Consider doing a spa treatment or facial with your bridal party as part of your preparation process, for glowing skin and a refreshed complexion.

Worried about your grandmother’s opinion of your dress?  Beach weddings provide a more casual atmosphere, which leaves room for windblown hair, visible tattoos, bohemian beauty, breezy dresses. Don’t be afraid to be a bit immodest, it’s the beach, and no one expects you to wear full coverage satin.

Also, a beach wedding is a great excuse to go wear sandals, use bohemian foot jewelry, or go barefoot.  Choose your footwear to compliment the overall vibe of your wedding, and make sure to consider the comfort and practicality of your wedding party as well.

Bring on the Beach Accessories

Have your bride’s maids carry paper umbrellas, wear flower leis, local jewelry or flowers in their hair instead of carrying traditional bouquets.

Who says flowers are necessary?  Tap into your natural surroundings and opt for something a bit more visually expressive like seashell bouquets or boutonnieres.  Not only are they beautiful but make great keepsakes and decor.

Let the groomsmen wear khaki or linen, with white shirts and sandals. That way, everyone is still coordinated and classy, without being too stuffy.

Consider providing color coordinated (or white) flip flops for your guests to wear on the sand to preserve their nice shoes. Your guests will appreciate the gesture, and it’s a nice way to keep the atmosphere relaxed.

Time of Day Matters When It Comes to Beach Wedding Photography

Take advantage of the natural splendor of the local sunset, and have your wedding at night, at or around sunset. (Trust me, your photographer will thank you, and your pics will be amazing!)

You could even consider rowing out onto shallow water (or why not have it on board a yacht?), if the weather is right, and say your nuptials out on the water so it still feels like it’s just the two of you.

Don’t Discount Good Beach Wedding Catering

When it comes to beach weddings, the simpler the better. Consider simple menus and smaller foods like h’ oeuvres, appetizer bites, tacos, barbecue, fruit, and shrimp cocktail.

If your wedding is more formal, what about having local food that is in season? Not only will that save you money overall, but will also heighten the experience of your location.

You could even write your menu on large palm or banana leaves for each table or at the head of the room as a part of your display and decor.

Also, don’t discount a fun hibachi-style family meal, which would also be acceptable in this scenario and allow for local/seasonal fare to be used.


Overall, at a beach wedding you can also get away with a rockin’ cupcake display or dessert bar instead of a traditional cake.

If you do decide to go with a tiered traditional cake, more rustic looks lend great to the beach environment and allow for lots of creativity with the decorations, while more formal themes can be accomplished with color (whites, neutrals, pops of color) and texture (sea shells, grass, flowers, edible sand, etc).

Madeline cookies naturally look like sea clams, and can be displayed to look like a pineapple, sea life or painted as pretty shells to add to your dessert display.

Signature Cocktail?

Will you be offering a signature cocktail to your guests?  How about serving it right away and using the paper umbrella in their drink as their placeholder, or creating customized swizzle sticks?

One of the Most Crucial Beach Wedding Ideas: Beach Decorations

You can easily create a focal point for your wedding vows by creating an arch out of bamboo, making grass skirt tassel garland, or adding local florals for a pop of color.

Also, colored glassware mimics the look of sea glass and can add lovely color and texture to an otherwise monochrome palette on your tables. Consider LED candles with coral, beach bucket topiaries, driftwood or bamboo with local foliage, glass votives with beach sand and seashells, or mini punch bowls for your centerpieces.

Layering banana leaves or other local foliage beneath your dinner plates and chargers is a beautiful way to continue your beach theme throughout the evening. There is plenty of dinnerware that either resembles giant seashells or has shells and other sea life printed on it that would lend well to your beach theme and location.

Create a curiosity cabinet out of a serving tray and found objects like seashells and sea glass. You could even use this eye catcher to assign seats for the dining tables or as your guestbook.

Don’t Pass Up the Party Favors

Beach weddings can be tons of fun, and leave some room for a sense of humor when it comes to favors for your guests.

You can give themed beach towels, personalized beach sarongs, woven grass fans, mini buckets filled with shells and local wonderments, glass bottles with local sand and a message or quote, netted bags of sea glass candy, mini beach pales with candy chocolate rocks or a piece of local jewelry.

For those beach weddings in an area known for local fruit like mango, peach or orange, consider giving a fruit to each guest tied with twine and a loving thank you.

Beach Wedding Photography

Beach weddings have some of the most beautiful photography, but, let’s face it, it can be a challenge for photographers, especially when taking pictures at an expansive, outdoor venue like the beach.

Light is much brighter outside where there is nothing to filter. Cloud cover helps, as does times and locations chosen later in the day or earlier in the morning.  Avoid peak daylight hours 11am-3pm local time both for heat and sunlight purposes.

That Dramatic Exit

A car may not be the best option for a dramatic beach wedding exit.  Of course, a beautifully adorned horse would fit the bill for a more formal affair, as would a decorated tandem bike, Vespa or rickshaw/pedicab would easily compliment a more casual wedding.

Remember, birdseed is a big no-no. Think outside the box and make your day your own with these beach wedding ideas: toss mini beach balls, local flowers, or using sparklers at night for your post-nuptial retreat down the aisle.

Final Thoughts: Beach Wedding Ideas That Make Your Big Day Shine

Overall, a beach wedding is an excellent option for any wedding, large or small weddings; the atmosphere is naturally romantic and lends to focus and relaxation. What better environment could a loving couple ask for?!

Overall, a well-planned beach wedding can save you a good amount of money, create an excellent atmosphere for you and your guests and make lasting memories for years to come. Did you have a beach wedding? What was it like? Have any more beach wedding ideas to share? Be sure to leave a comment in the comments section below.

Interested in planning a beach wedding…on a yacht? Want more beach wedding ideas? If so, contact Electra Cruises for more details.

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