Beach weddings can be characterised by barefoot glamour and a casual vibe but they can also be stylish and utterly original.

Fortunately for you, if you've decided on a beach wedding you're already half way to a spectacular day. The setting is drop dead gorgeous, and ultra romantic, so unless you're going for a full Hawaiian Luau with Beach Boys cover band you'll only need a few chic touches to complement the location. 

We've put together some simple but stunning ideas to incorporate into your beach wedding theme - as well as a list of questions - and i-do answers - from readers already planning their blissful day at the beach.

The wedding ceremony

If you are holding your ceremony on the beach, using sea shells, rose petals or stones, map out an aisle through the sand to where you will exchange your vows.

beach weddingbeach wedding

Kyle John Photography

Consider the backdrop for the wedding ceremony photos, and organise before hand with your wedding photographer where the aisle will be and where you should stand so that you make the most out of the views.

Assess where shadows will be cast, where the sun will be shining and no matter how bright it is...never wear sunglasses during the wedding ceremony!

The wedding vows

As we stand beside the ocean tide, may our love always be as constant and unchanging as these never-ending waves that pour beneath our feet, flowing endlessly from the depths of the sea; your love came softly upon my heart, just as the foam comes softly upon the sand, and just as there will never be a morning without the ocean's flow, so there will never be a day without my love for you. I pledge myself to you this day

i-do forum member Isty

The wedding venue

This may be a wedding reception venue by the sea, a rented beach house or a destination wedding at a tropical location.

Dress code

beach wedding dress

Erich McVey Photography

Smart casual with boys in white linen or Hawaiian shirts and girls in floaty summer evening dresses, bare foot and black tie, smart sarongs of decorative silks with sparkling accessories.

Wedding invitations

Beach Wedding Invitations

Nicole Clarey Photography

Clear glass boxes or a bottle with your invitation and a shell inside. Or for something more postie friendly print on DL card with an embossed motif or affix a trinket such as a tiny shell, starfish or stylized seahorse, fake of course.

Wedding flowers

Orchids, frangipanis, hibiscus, lotus flowers, floating lillies, natives, paper daisies, lots of green foliage.

Table centres

Beach Wedding Table CentreBeach Wedding Chair

  • Beach pebbles, sand, shells with 3 or 5 tea lights
  • Floating candles and frangipani's
  • Decorative bowls of summer fruits
  • Orchids, river pebbles and tea lights

Table names and numbers

  • Famous beaches such as Bondi, Bells, Byron Bay, Palm Beach...
  • Islands such as Hawaii, Tahiti, Maldives, Fiji...
  • Numbers written in beach pebbles, sand, on flip flops, Life Saving flags

Wedding decorations

  • An all white beach wedding 
  • Blues, greens and burnt oranges add silver and gold for a more for a more sparkling accessories and decor to glam up the beach wedding.
  • Large vases with sand and shells startegically placed around a room with decorative surfboards hanging on the walls of the wedding venue.
  • Source real palm trees and bring them inside the wedding reception room if the venue is indoors.

Bomboniere and other ideas

Mini beach buckets filled with shell chocolates, decorative lighthouses, personalised sunsunscreen, hand fans, mini treasure chests of treats, mini message in a bottle (could be a message of thanks or a fortune told), floral Hawaiian leis.

Surfboard wedding guest books, find on old magnum or bottle that you drank from at an earlier special occasion to fill with messages from your wedding guests.

Wedding cake

Beach Wedding CakeBeach Wedding Bouquet

Connie Whitlock Photography

Wedding cake toppers of shells, mermaids, seahorses, lighthouses, or replicas of the bride and groom in bikini and board shorts.

Wedding entertainment

Hire a band or wedding DJ that specialises in beach music or 60's classics such as the Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas, reggae music or a Hawaiian band.

Drinks

Serve an exotic cocktail or two such as pina coladas complete with umbrellas, pineapple and cherry garnishes.

Wedding food

Stand up cocktail food or a roving entree followed by a seafood buffet with everything oysters, prawns, caviar. If you are planning a more casual event why not make it more of a full Hawaiian Luau or South Pacific feast.

Q & A

Q - We are getting married in Seychelles and need to decide on a wedding theme. I am thinking of turqouise and lime with ivory as our base colour. We are not sure on bridesmaids dress colour, centrepieces and flowers.

A - The use of blue, lime and ivory is a very fresh theme and these colours work beautifully together. I would suggest to use one main colour and allow the other to complement where necessary.

For example I would use the blue for your bridesmaid dresses and the lime green within the floral arrangements. With regards to your wedding decorations, I would again concentrate on one main colour, ie blue, then add the hints of lime green. If you can obtain frosted glass tealights or a vase, this looks great again a blue/lime green setting.

Q - We are having an afternoon beach wedding and our reception will be held at a restaurant overlooking the beach. The problem is my gown is a 1920's flapper style turquoise beaded dress and I am unsure what theme I should go for ie the 1920's or romantic summer beach feel. Also what flowers would you suggest?

A - Why not combine your theme to incorporate a classic beach theme. In combining this theme I would use ivory as a base colour with turquoise. If your wedding is during the summer months, a perfect combination of oriental lilies and frangipanis will work magic. You could also incorporate gardenias for that classic frangrance, but be warned, they are fragile and do tend to brown and bruise quite easily.

Q - I am having a beach theme with royal blue and white colours. I have seen a picture of white chair covers with blue sashes and I wasn't so sure about it. I was thinking of two sashes on the chairs, blue on bottom and maybe silver on top. Will this be enough or should I incorporate some fucia lilies into my white lily centrepieces and bouquets?

A - I would suggest changing your sash colour to either a soft blue or turquoise blue. Adding pink lilies to your centrepiece would definitely soften your theme.

Q - I'm having a simple barefoot beach ceremony followed by a reception centred mainly around a large deck by the ocean, jazz trio, funky mediterranean finger-food canape' style, stand-up reception but I was wondering how I could decorate the deck/restaurant in a very simple 'me' style which fits with the low-key theme of the wedding?

A - The simplicity of your wedding on the deck by the ocean could be enhanced by fairylights and beautiful fresh white chiffon/organza drapes. This would create a romantic atmosphere in an alfresco setting.

Q - What ideas do you have for a Hawaiian themed wedding?

If you area having a Hawaiian theme go with lots of bright summer colours, hibiscus or orchids, bright table overlays, string the bridal table with lei's of flowers and leave your guests a simple lei add to the theme. If you like the idea try using pineapples as centrepieces.

Q - I am having a wedding in a tropical location in a hall in a small town. I have decided on purple-pink orchids in individual pots for both the table decoration and guests’ gift. I plan on having long banquet style tables with the orchids lined up in the centre. In addition to the orchids I have thought about possibly placing a number of glass vases with a candle in, on each table. Will this work? Should I put a wreath of flowers around the vases, or can they be left plain? Can you offer any other suggests that would suit?

A - As you are using long banquet guest tables, I would suggest to keep your centrepiece feature long and not introduce a wreath around the vases. Another idea for your centrepiece is to use tall cyclinder vases with orchids sunken into the water sitting on top of each other. Then use a runner of soft tealights or glass votive candles with a feature orchid on the side of every second tealight. This will allow more light on the tables and the orchids will become featured due to the height of the vase.

Q - Can you please give me some ideas on how to set a tropical mood at the reception. I'm having a spring wedding and the tropical flowers I wanted to use ie frangipangi and hibiscus are either out of season or unavailable. With this theme, would I have to stick to two colors?

A - Create a tropical ambience using green and white. Opt for white chair covers with a double organza sash (lime green & mint green) tied as a loose corporate knot. Dress the guest tables with white organza overlays with a white washed wooden candlestick surrounded by a wreath of flowers consisting of white casablanca oriental lilies white roses, and heavy green foliage.

The place cards can feature hints of green and yellow and wrap the bombonerie with green organza. The end result is a stunning tropical freshness. Drape the bridal table in organza with 4 green mosaic hurricanes and 3 large floral arrangements with similar flowers and tropical foliage.

When selecting colours for a theme, I am generally of the belief that the use of two colours will have more impact than using multicolours. For example if you would like to create a warm tropical atmosphere the use of pink and orange together can also look fantastic.

Q - We're getting married in Indonesia. I'm havinh trouble deciding on the wedding theme.

A - How can you go past the Frangipani and Ylang Ylang which are both so beautiful. In such a tropical environment, these flowers work perfectly with your other green decorations and candles. When I was in Indonesia last year the hotel where I was staying layered the pool with floating frangipanis and candles. The pool was then surrounded by hand-made lanterns - it looked amazing! Your theme should be Tropical Spring Romance.

beach weddings

Erich McVey Photography

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