Beaches have been inspiring writers, lyricists, and poets for all time, so it’s not surprising that beaches are a very common wedding destination. With the sand, the water, and the sky providing a natural backdrop for a beautiful beach wedding, there are plenty of options to enhance and decorate for your big day without overwhelming or overshadowing your natural environment. Whether you’re getting married by the water, or just looking for a way to bring the beach indoors, these seven stunning beach wedding decor ideas are sure to bring the sun-soaked vibes to your big day—even if it’s during the middle of winter.
Driftwood is perfect for any beach decor because its organic, naturally-occurring feel can be seamlessly incorporated into a rustic, casual day or even a formal event. This budget-friendly decor item has so many uses, such as imprinted with custom calligraphy for the guest place cards or for signage directing guests on where to go (or telling them to take their shoes off and enjoy the sand), and/or even to construct a stunning archway for the ceremony. Also consider bamboo and rattan for your seating and decorations, if you’re looking for a more island and tropical wedding vibe for your reception decor.
You’re going to want to avoid anything too heavy or dark for your beach wedding decorations, so consider crisp, light linens to blow in the wind, ghost chairs to reflect the light from the sun with simple long leis along the back, and a breezy, sheer tent so your guests are protected from the elements (but are still able to enjoy themselves without worrying that their food will be filled with sand).
Practicing minimalism in your decoration by using the environment to your benefit is key to a beachside wedding. There’s no need for a large, extravagant flower wall for photos or an over-the-top archway. Let the water be your backdrop, use simple benches and chairs for seating, and allow the beach to do the work it already does naturally. Lining the aisle with candlelit lanterns and providing a nice seating area for guests with hammocks, umbrellas, twinkle lights, and picnic blankets while they wait during cocktail hour can go a long, long way.
Blue, for a beach wedding? Groundbreaking. It doesn’t matter how you incorporate your color scheme into your wedding day, but colors on the cooler end of the color chart can often be perceived as redundant at times. Shades of blue, green, violet, and grey aren’t muddling the scenery, they’re enhancing the natural beauty of the water. But that doesn’t mean that warm colors are unsuitable, in fact, it’s just the opposite. Bright, vibrant reds, pinks, corals, and oranges can make any beach wedding feel and look like a tropical vacation.
The beach has so much to offer when it comes to natural decor, and the best way to celebrate it is to integrate it into the event as much as possible. Leaves have so much potential for your nuptials. Huge palm leaves can serve as seat backing for your beach wedding ceremony decorations, or you can wrap big monstera leaves with white lilies around driftwood sticks to create an incredible backdrop for photographs. Long, tall palm fronds can be bent and twisted to make a ceremony arch. While we’re using parts from trees, tropical fruits and produce are always a warm and welcome sight for a centerpiece. Use oranges, pineapples, and papayas—real or fake, whatever you decide—to create centerpieces and decorations for incredible tablescapes.
Before you freak out—no, this isn’t suggesting that everything be glass, especially at the beach, where the combination of sand and wind can often be a one-way road to disaster. Sea glass, which should remind you of scavenger hunts when you were younger, is a lovely and beautiful way to incorporate the sea and naturally-occuring textiles into your wedding decoration. Use large pieces of ombre sea glass as a place card, or even use sea glass blown into vases and bottles to hold stunning floral displays for your table.
Looking for a way for your guests to bring the beach home with them? Why not decorate your tables with beach terrariums filled with sand, sea shells, moss, seaweed, or other things you can find at the beach? They’ll look gorgeous for decor at your wedding, and then guests have a beautiful attendance gift, too.
So much of the beauty of the beach is what we don’t see—because it all occurs under the sea. Sea coral (and we mean the fake stuff, leave the real coral alone) can be used in so many ways—as a beautiful centerpiece with tulips, as a stunning hairpiece, and/or as a minimalist design on your wedding invitations and stationary. Seashells, pearls, and starfish are obvious when one thinks “beach wedding,” but there’s far more to do with them than use them as cake decorations. Make a stunning bouquet with shells and pearls, or use fake starfish to enhance any table decor or centerpiece.
Need more beach wedding ideas? Our experts at Zola can help. Whether you're planning a destination wedding or you're just looking to bring in an ocean theme to your wedding venue, there are many ways to decorate with the sand and sea in mind on your wedding day.