How to Create an Under the Sea Wedding Theme

Life is better under the sea, and so is your wedding. While we can't breathe underwater, Zola has some creative ways to put on a sea themed wedding.

By Monica Mercuri

couple in front of aquarium
Photo by Zola

There’s no denying that the concept of an under the sea wedding theme can be perfect to draw in the beauty of the sea and its wildlife, no matter where you are.

And the truth is, not everybody can swing a fancy destination wedding on a beautiful island somewhere, although it would be lovely if they could. The beauty of an under the sea wedding theme is that you can bring hints of the sea into your wedding wherever you are, and you never have to step foot on an island.

An under the sea wedding theme is both unique and memorable, and, depending on how it’s done, you can make it a fun and quirky event, or you can make it an event that oozes elegance and ocean charm.

It’s a wedding theme that also offers great flexibility in your color theme and decor options, many of which are simple and inexpensive. This makes it a perfect theme for the budget-minded.

Additionally, an under the sea wedding theme is both on trend and current, which makes it a popular choice for couples that love tradition, but don’t mind giving those traditions their own modern twist.

Choose a Beneath the Sea Wedding Color Palette

There are a wide variety of colors to choose from when planning a sea-themed wedding. Some of the more popular color combinations include seafoam green paired with pink, or bright blue paired with a neutral color such as tan.

Other options for your wedding color palette might include:

  • Vivid blues, such as aquamarine, teal, and turquoise, like the colors of seawater.

  • Deep greens and reddish-brown, like the colors of kelp and seaweed.

  • Bright colors, such as orange, yellow, and shades of pink and red, like the colors of many fish and coral reefs that are found beneath the deep sea.

Design Your Under the Sea Stationary

Your save-the-dates and wedding invites are some of the first things that people will see when you start inviting them to the wedding. Sure, they don’t have to match your theme and color palette, but it does help to give guests a glimpse of what to expect on your big day when they do. Think of these little touches as a foreshadowing of one of the biggest days of your life.

Watercolor trends are extremely popular with sea themes. You can find many designs that allow you to make your wedding invites, save-the-dates, and other stationery, such as thank you notes and favors, look like dreamy swirls of ocean and sky for a very abstract, yet dreamy, romantic vibe.

Or, you can use colors with graphics, such as seahorses, designs of rolling waves, seashells, or even long strands of floating seaweed to hint at the sea and the mysteries it contains.

Choose Under the Sea Themed Wedding Attire

Your options are virtually limitless with an under the sea theme for your wedding day and attire. You can go with a wedding dress that is incredibly casual, such as a light and flowing slip dress, to something that’s exquisitely decorative.

It’s just a matter of finding a dress that suits your personality and style. Some popular choices are a traditional fishtail wedding dress or a modern two-piece with a misty tulle skirt.

For those who want to embrace their inner mermaid and make a huge proverbial splash, a sweet mermaid design wedding dress with over-the-top glitter and sequins is a stunning choice.

Outfit others in your wedding party with complementary colors and styles that suit your under the sea wedding theme and the level of formality you’ve decided on for your wedding celebration.

Choose Under the Sea Themed Hair and Accessories

Ask your wedding hairstylist to create a long and flowing mermaid-inspired look, using loose waves and curls, with just a touch of bling for added glamour. If your hair isn’t naturally long, you can ask for extensions for your big day to help you achieve the look.

Even if you go for a simpler wedding dress, like the two-piece tulle number, long flowing hair is paramount for a quintessential beach and sea vibe.

If you really dislike the idea of long, flowing hair, you can add starfish hair clips to complete almost any style, even a messy updo, or you can try replacing other, more traditional hairpieces, such as a princess wedding tiara with a sea themed tiara. Both work well, whether with hair that’s long or short.

Choose Under the Sea Theme Wedding Decor

Your wedding ceremony and wedding reception can be as elegant and elaborate, or as laid-back and casual as you like. Some may choose to have their under the sea themed wedding at a venue such as a park, beach, backyard lawn, or even on a dock somewhere overlooking a beautiful body of water.

While venues like this can lend extra authenticity to your wedding theme, the real magic happens with your wedding and reception decor. Your decor is what helps bring your under the sea wedding theme to life.


Whether you go with bright corals or cool blues in your color palette, or something else, use those colors to help come up with creative table decor.

You might try these ideas for a table centerpiece:

  • Large conch shells
  • Intriguing pieces of driftwood
  • Starfish anchored in bowls of sand
  • Tea light and candle arrangements with dried seaweed


For seating decor, you can tie bows of linen in colors that match your theme, and create little arrangements of mason jars filled with sand that feature sea creatures such as squid and starfish to line the aisle.

How to Create an Under the Sea Wedding Theme Photo Credit // Truelove Photography


You can create personalized signs decorated with beautiful mermaids to be placed in strategic areas. Use them to direct the flow of foot traffic and instruct people in areas such as the gift table, the sign-in table, and the restrooms.


Try hanging bubble chandeliers and ribbons in shades of blue from the ceiling, and feature strategic blue-green lighting around the room to enhance the under the sea theme even more.

Music and Dancing

Create a “beach” for the dance floor and ask the DJ to play fun island music that calls to mind memories of ocean spray and fun in the sun.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your ideas. The goal is to transform an ordinary venue into a place that looks like you stepped right off the beach onto the ocean bottom.

Under the Sea Cake, Favors, and Wedding Bouquets

Why not take your wedding cake inspiration from the sea, too? You can decorate your wedding cake using beautiful seashells and swap out a traditional topper for something seaworthy, such as a glittery starfish or even a beautiful seahorse.

In lieu of traditional flower bouquets, have seashell bouquets made instead, using seashells and mini-starfish. Of course, you don’t have to forgo flowers entirely, unless you want to.

If you do want flowers, choose a simple arrangement, such as seaweed with a single bloom featured, and add mini seashells. It’s equal parts cute and seaworthy.

When choosing and designing favors and placards for seating arrangements, let your imagination run wild. You can use real seahorses and starfish, or purchase plain wooden ornaments shaped like your favorite sea creatures. Then, on one side, you can add table assignments, and, on the other side, you can add your monogram and the date.

How to Create an Under the Sea Wedding Theme Photo Credit // Richard Bell Photography

Under the Sea Food and Beverage

Of course, you can’t forget how much your menu helps augment an under the sea wedding theme. There are a variety of menu options that can be suitable, such as fish with a fruity mango topping, shrimp cocktail, buttery lobster, and even large bay scallops as appetizers.

If you offer some kind of salad, make sure it has fruit. Fruit adds a pop of color and flavor, without added heaviness. It’s also a good idea to avoid heavy sides and sauces. Keep the fare light and tasty. After all, people can’t celebrate and dance with a belly so stuffed that they’re popping out of their wedding best.

Under the Sea Ceremony Details

There are always certain traditions in wedding ceremonies that couples like to incorporate. One of those is the symbolic sand ceremony representing the unification of two lives as one. It’s a beautiful way to work the under the sea theme into all aspects of your wedding, not just decor.

Both the bride and the groom pour two smaller vases of sand into one big vase. You can use sand of varying colors to create a beautiful keepsake that will remind you of your big day for years to come.

There are so many different ways to bring an under the sea wedding theme to life in a manner that’s beautiful, romantic, and memorable. What more could you ask for?

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