67 Beach Wedding Ideas for the Perfect Seaside Ceremony & Reception

So, how can you keep up with all these pretty possibilities? We’ve got some great ideas for planning a beach wedding.

Dreaming of a beach wedding? Us, too! The appeal is obvious: the gorgeous scenery, the stunning photo ops, the warm weather, the casual and carefree vibe, and—of course—the unique decor opportunities. If you can swing a destination wedding, or are lucky enough to have a beach nearby, there’s endless beach wedding inspiration out there.

So, how can you keep up with all these pretty possibilities? We’ve got some great ideas for planning a beach wedding.

Beach Wedding Ideas - Image 1

Photo: Serene Occasions

How to Plan a Beach Wedding: Tips & Key Considerations

Before we dig into all of the beach wedding inspiration, let’s get a few logistical details out of the way. Though they are undeniably beautiful, beach weddings come with a unique set of considerations for the happy couple. Here are the top things to keep in mind:

  • Weather: Beach weather can be unpredictable, so prepare for rain, wind, and intense heat by doing careful research on the beach where you plan to host your wedding. Always have a backup plan in case an unexpected storm rolls in! It is also a good idea to make sure all of your decor is wind proof, to ensure none of those carefully considered details blow away before your guests can enjoy them.
  • Guest Comfort: If you’re hosting your ceremony and reception on a public beach, where is the nearest restroom? How will older guests navigate the sand?Will there be shade for guests to cool off under if needed? (Don’t worry, we have plenty of shade ideas down below!)
  • Location: Know that hosting your ceremony and reception directly on the sand can come with a unique set of challenges. For one, the beautiful sound of the crashing waves can easily drown out your ceremony if you stand too close to the shore, so you’ll want to pay special attention to the sound system and acoustics your DJ/MC provides. Secondly, most beaches in the United States are public, so it is a good idea to scope out the traffic level at your beach of choice to get a sense of how busy it is during the time you plan to host your ceremony and reception. If either of those factors bother you, consider hosting your wedding at a resort with beach views, as opposed to on the actual sand.

Beach Wedding Venue Ideas

1. Beach Resort

A hotel, club, or restaurant located right on the shore or coastline will give you easy access to the water and scenic ocean views, along with all the conveniences of a fully staffed event venue. These types of resorts will typically have an onsite catering and an event-management team, making this a pricier option but a whole lot less stressful. The all-inclusive nature of this venue will also make it an ideal option for couples with large guest lists.

2. Public Beach

If you're hoping to tie the knot at your local beach, then start early. Sites run by the local parks department or city government are often affordable to rent but can be competitive to book due to their popularity. Look into applying for any permits required and keep in mind that since the beach is public, you might have a few curious onlookers peeking into your wedding. If you’re taking this route, plan to have someone help you reserve your spot early on the day of your wedding and allow ample time for set-up and tear-down of your decor.

3. Private Beach

If you or family friends have beachfront real estate, you could save big on fees usually set aside for reserving a venue or location. Make sure to do your homework and understand if there are any noise restrictions, permits needed, or open-alcohol rules. Know that parking can be a challenge at someone’s private beach estate, so you may have to plan for a shuttle service for your guests, or keep the guest list small and intimate.

4. Beach Overlook

Not all beach weddings need to happen on the sand! A cliffside venue that overlooks the water is a great option for couples that want to make their wedding a bit more accessible for their guests. From public parks to private homes and resorts, there are beach overlook venue options for every budget.

Beach Overlook- Seating

Photo by Jillian Rose Photography

Beach Wedding Decor Ideas

5. Ceremony Arch

Though the infinite expanse of ocean behind you is undeniably beautiful, anchoring your ceremony space with an arch is a great way to keep the focus on you and your partner. Go the glamorous route with an arch dripping with opulent florals, or opt for something more laid back by going with an arch constructed of palm fronds and other tropical greenery.

Ceremony Arch

Photo by Trinity Tolbert

6. Decking

If you plan to host your ceremony on the sand, see if your venue can help you construct an aisle and altar area out of boardwalk-inspired decking or beach mats. This will help define the space, give your guests more flexibility in shoe choice, and make it a bit easier for elderly guests to navigate the sand.

7. Keep Guests Cool

Have a beverage station set up at the ceremony with chilled drinks so guests can keep cool in the sun. We love the idea of fresh coconuts on ice for a tropical-themed wedding. You can also hand out fans alongside your wedding programs, and provide other ways to help guests beat the heat like sunglasses, sunblock, or parasols.

Keep Guests Cool

Photo by Aura Elizabeth Photo

8. Accessorize with Seashells

Line the aisle with loose seashells or fill large hurricane vases with a vignette of sand, coral, seashells, and grasses. You can also have your ring bearer carry your rings in a seashell instead of on a traditional pillow.

9. Decorate with Palms and Grasses

Pampas grass and palm fronds have become synonymous with bohemian beach weddings. Incorporate them into a half arch like, line the ceremony aisle with pots, vases, or baskets of ornamental grasses, and work them into centerpiece arrangements.

Decorate with Palms and Grasses

Photo by Julieta Ame

10. Provide a Shoe Valet Station

If your ceremony will be on the sand, set up a "shoe valet" station and provide flip flops for your guests to change into as they make their way to their seats.

11. Natural Table Runners

Forgo a traditional textile table runner and instead opt to line the center of your tables with palm fronds, big banana leafs, or even an arrangement of driftwood.

12. Organic Florals

Opting for dripping, organic florals is a brilliant way to lend a dreamy under-the-sea atmosphere to any area of your wedding decor. We particularly love how it looks paired with sheer textiles on an altar or chuppa.

Organic Florals

Photo by Olivia Salzwedel

13. Tropical Fruit Centerpieces

One of the most surprising (and delicious) trends to emerge in wedding florals over the last few years is the addition of cut and whole fruit into centerpiece arrangements. Pair vibrant florals with cut papayas, dragonfruit, and pineapples for a tropical beach wedding, or opt for citrus and plenty of lemons for a wedding on (or inspired by) the Italian Riviera.

14. Swap Vases for Oversized Shells

If you’re opting for an undone, organic aesthetic for your florals, consider swapping out traditional vases with oversized shells.Tumbles of wildflowers spilling out of a large clam or conch shells would make for picture perfect centerpieces (or even a nice addition to the bar or guest book table if you’re sticking to a tighter budget).

15. Shell Escort Cards

Turn typically-disposable escort cards into sweet keepsakes by carefully painting each guest’s name and table number on the inside of a shell.

16. Hanging Lanterns

Dress up a tent or add some beachy ambience to an indoor reception space by hanging a collection of bohemian lanterns above your tables and dance floor. We love the rustic feel of wicker basket-style lanterns, but paper lanterns could also look beautiful.

Hanging Lanterns

Photo by Abby Jiu

17. Woven Accessories

Incorporate textures of natural grasses and rope with woven accessories like bohemian lanterns, baskets full of blankets should it get chilly, and centerpieces that feature knotted details.

18. Bonfire Seating Vignettes

Keep the party going long after sunset by giving guests the opportunity to gather around a beach bonfire. Be sure to double-check that bonfires are allowed at your venue, and then provide plenty of cozy seating and sweet lighting to give people a place to mingle.

19. Aquatic Accents

The key to a modern beach wedding is to avoid being too literal with your decor. That said, there’s definitely still room to incorporate aquatic accents! Look for real dried coral, starfish, and seashells to use as aisle markers, run down tables, or to cluster in arrangements at the bar or in the bathroom.

20. Tropical Bouquets

While nearly any type of florals look beautiful on the beach, go the extra mile by asking your florist to build your bouquet around a few unique tropical blooms. King proteas are a striking option for couples that want to keep colors mostly neutral, or you could go with orchids, lilies, and birds of paradise.

Tropical Bouquets

Photo by Rainsford Photography

21. Palm-Leaf Table Markers

For a beach wedding that leans into all of the tropical vibes, ditch paper or acrylic table numbers in favor of something more organic. Painting table numbers onto large palm fronds and incorporating them into your centerpieces is a playful way to add some height to your tables, and keep the beach theme going once your reception moves inside.

22. Driftwood Signs & Centerpieces

You can’t go wrong by incorporating a bit of driftwood into your decor — especially if your beach wedding is on a more northern stretch of coast. Paint a few pieces of driftwood with your last name or “Mr.” and “Mrs.” for an easy DIY or, make driftwood the focal point of your reception decor by pairing driftwood centerpieces with simple tall tapered candles.

23. Canopy of Lights

As with any outdoor venue, you’ll want to get creative with how you illuminate your reception space after the sun goes down. We love the idea of turning string lights into a twinkling canopy by packing them close together above the dance floor or across the entire reception area.

Canopy of Lights

Photo by Julieta Ame

24. Nautical Knots

Rope and knotted accents will never go out of style when it comes to beach wedding decor. Use small knots as clever escort card holders and larger knots as part of your aisle marker or centerpiece arrangements. If you plan to include a menu with each place setting, a knotted keychain could do double-duty as a paperweight and thoughtful favor.

25. Coral Place Markers

For a sophisticated and creative take on escort cards, nestle heavyweight cardstock printed with your guests names into a beautiful piece of dried (or faux) coral. Bleached white coral is beautiful for more minimal weddings or you can let the beautiful natural red, orange, and yellow tones of the coral shine through to make each place marker feel special.

Coral Place Markers

Photo by Angela Greenlaw Photography

26. Chic Shade

Being conscious about offering your guests some shade is a must at any beach wedding — so treat umbrellas as an intentional part of your ceremony and reception decor. This is a good place to spend a little bit of extra cash upgrading from standard white or black umbrellas to something more fun – think pink and white striped umbrellas inspired by South Beach or fringed, bohemian styles. If umbrellas aren’t your thing, you could also think about nestling lounge seating under canopied trellises to create a cabana-like feel.

27. Palm Aisle Markers

Tying clusters of vibrant green palm leaves to the chairs lining your aisle is a simple (but beautiful!) way to upgrade your ceremony decor.

28. Candle Centerpieces

For an ultra romantic, Castaway-vibe, make candles the focus of your reception decor. Cluster tapered candles in different heights (and even different colors!) in hurricane jars down the center of tables, use them to light the way to special experiences like a snack station or photo booth, and nestle them around a sweetheart table.

29. Rattan Accents

When it comes to a tropical beach wedding, the more rattan, the better! Say your vows while standing atop a beautiful rattan rug, rent a pair of showstopping peacock chairs for the sweetheart table, and swap traditional chargers out for woven placemats.

Rattan Accents

Photo by Nina Polidoro

30. Hot Pink Florals

For a vibrant and bold beachside wedding, go all-out with hot pink florals. Drip bougainvillea off of your ceremony arch for a south-of-the-border feel, or go for a mix of punchy pink roses, orchids, and birds of paradise.

31. Casual Lounge Areas (Oversized Pillows in the Sand)

If your cocktail hour and reception will be happening on the sand, we love the idea of creating a few ultra-casual seating vignettes for your guests to settle into while taking a break from the dance floor or enjoying a mai thai. Layer outdoor rugs with oversized pillows and low-slung beach chairs for a perfectly bohemian effect.

32. Sheer Tent

A tent doesn’t have to ruin your beach wedding! If you’re booking a tent as a backup plan, or are incorporating one from the jump to keep your guests warm during the reception, go for a tent with sheer or transparent walls to keep everyone feeling connected to the stunning environment of your venue.

Sheer Tent

Photo by Alex Paul Photography

33. White Wedding

Though beach weddings tend to lean more casual, you can definitely combine a traditional white wedding aesthetic with a toes-in-the-sand venue. To get the look right, pair classic white roses and crisp creamy table linens with plenty of lush greenery, gold, and a few well-placed black accents.

34. Beach Glamor

One way to up the wow factor of a beach wedding is to spare no expense making every detail feel cohesive. One way to do so is to turn entertainment into a photo-worthy vignette by using the case of a grand piano to host a stunning floral centerpiece.

Beach Glamor

Photo courtesy of Lola del Campo

Beach Wedding Color Schemes

35. Mother of Pearl — Iridescent White/Silver, Pastel Pinks and Purples, Navy Blue

Call to mind the shimmering beauty of seashells and softly-lit waters with this elegant color palette. Sticking to these colors is a nice way to add a bit of glamor to a beach wedding, and is a fresh spin on neutrals.

Mother of Pearl

Photo: Weddingomania

36. Sea Glass — Muted Teal, Sage Green, Warm Gray

For a sophisticated twist on the classic blue-and-white beach wedding color scheme, go for this more muted palette. To keep things feeling modern, use teal as an accent color (the ocean backdrop will offer up more than enough teal!) and give greens and grays a starring role in your decor.

37. Sunset — Ocean Blue, Periwinkle, Coral

Carry the beauty of an evening beach wedding ceremony throughout the big day with a color palette that calls to mind a tropical sunset. For a modern take on this palette, look for unexpected ways to incorporate colors — such as in fun glassware, candlesticks, and linens as shown here.


Photo by Ashley Paige Photography

38. Fruit Punch — Coral, Red, Tangerine, Pink, Blush

For a bold, tropical-inspired take on a beach wedding, mix complimentary reds, pinks, and oranges throughout your details and decor. There are plenty of ways to tie in these colors throughout your ceremony and reception — from bridesmaids dresses to punchy floral arrangements and paper lanterns. The best part? The colors are sure to pop against the lush green palm trees and golden sand of your beachside venue.

39. Crisp Capri — Marseille Blue, Lemon Yellow, Green, White

Even if you aren’t hosting a destination wedding on the iconic isle, the colors of Capri are an excellent source of inspiration for your big day. The combination of crisp whites, rich and vibrant blue (which just happens to be Minted x BRIDES color of the year!), and sunny yellow will make for a unique — but totally timeless — take on beach wedding decor.

Crisp Capri

Photo by Adriana Klas Photography

Beach Wedding Invitations & Stationery Ideas

40. Watercolor

If you’re looking to evoke a day at the beach, watercolor is always a good choice. Go for something abstract that captures the movement and color of the waves, or look for playful storybook-inspired watercolor illustrations of classic beach motifs like starfish, beachballs, sailboats, and more.

41. Simple Illustrations

For a sophisticated way to communicate the beachside setting of your wedding, look for an invitation that leans on paired back illustrations of seashells, tropical flora and fauna, waves, or even your venue (Minted’s designers can work with you to create a custom illustration of just about anything for your invite). To make these more paired-back invitations feel special, look for designs that pair illustrations with luxe foil press or letterpress printing.

42. Tropical

If you’re hosting your wedding in a tropical destination, you can use your invitation to give guests a hint at the lush greenery surrounding your venue. Look for designs that feature fun illustrations of banana leaves, birds of paradise, and other south-of-the-equator flora.

43. Palm Trees

Nothing evokes summertime fun quite like palm trees do. The palm tree motif can be found on invitation designs that fit nearly any style — from South Beach-inspired photography and glamorous gold-foiled designs, to more whimsical illustrations.

44. Waves

An invitation design that features crashing waves or watery accents is a classic choice for a beach wedding. Just be sure to pick one that evokes the beach where you’ll be hosting your ceremony — steely gray designs work best for northern beaches, where something with bolder blues will evoke warmer shores.

45. Photo Invitations

Though it is more common to feature a photo of you and your spouse-to-be on your save the date, there’s no reason you can’t include another one of your favorite shots from your beachside engagement shoot on your invitation! Minted has a huge selection of Photo Wedding invitations that will pair perfectly with whatever spin you’re putting on the beach wedding theme.

Beach Wedding Attire Ideas

46. Boho Wedding Dresses

Since beachside weddings are usually more casual affairs, a bohemian inspired dress is a beautiful choice. It will also look great if you opt to go barefoot on the sand during your ceremony! Look for romantic off-the-shoulder silhouettes, lace details, and fluttery fabric that will catch the ocean breeze.

Boho Wedding Dresses

Photo by Sun & Soul Photo

47. Pearl Accessories

Swap traditional diamond jewelry for pearl accents on your big day to continue to tie in the beach theme. To keep things feeling modern, opt for uncultured pearls with more organic shapes and colors instead of more classic strings of perfect white pearls.

48. Wind-Proof Hair

Though the sea breeze is beautiful, it does require some careful consideration when it comes to hair and makeup for the bridal party. Go for styles that will survive being blown around in the wind such as tousled up-dos and loose, beachy waves. When it comes to accessories, skip a veil that will get caught in the sand and opt for pearl clips or a coral-inspired headband.

49. Sand-Friendly Shoes

Stilettos and sand were not a match made in heaven! If you're hosting your ceremony on the water, look for shoes that will allow you to walk easily down the aisle like low block-heeled sandals or strappy flats.

50. Tuxedos

If you’re channeling a more sophisticated beach theme (like something sailing- or James Bond-inspired) a classic tux is more than appropriate. Just be sure to keep the weather in mind so your groom doesn’t melt during the ceremony!

51. Light Suits

For a more casual celebration, the groom and groomsmen can skip classic black and navy suits for lighter colors like off-white, sandy tan, or even muted blue.

Light Suits

Photo by Meggy Weggy

52. Linen & Cotton Textures

In addition to playing with color, grooms and groomsmen (and guests) can look for suits and shirts in lightweight, breathable fabrics for a more casual beachy look. Linen in particular works for more laid-back weddings, and will look great untucked for grooms that want to really channel the surf and sand.

53. Shoes Optional

If your ceremony and reception will take place directly on the beach, consider letting your guests know that shoes are optional! You can provide a shoe valet for them to park their sandals when they arrive, and encourage them to let loose with their toes in the sand.

54. Hats and Sunglasses Encouraged

Make sure your guests stay comfortable during the ceremony and cocktail hour by using your invitation or wedding website as a chance to remind them to bring along a pair of sunglasses and their best sun hat.

Beach Wedding Food & Drink Ideas

55. Raw Bar

Set up a table with a jumbo shrimp cocktail or platters of oysters on ice for your guests to swing by and enjoy during cocktail hour.

Raw Bar

Photo by Sasithon Photography of The Wedding Artists Co.

56. Sushi Station

A sushi buffet could work nicely as either an appetizer or as part of your main course — just be sure to offer a few baked options if you decide to go that route for anyone who may not be comfortable with raw fish.

57. Surf & Turf

This classic menu choice is perfect for more traditional beach weddings.

58. Beachside Barbeque

If you’re hosting a destination wedding in Hawaii or the Caribbean, lean into the flavors of the tropics with a beachside barbeque. For the former, opt for lau-inspired picks like pork, and for the latter, go for jerk-style chicken or pork served with rice pilaf.

59. Seafood Pasta

Seafood pasta is the perfect menu option for a wedding inspired by the Italian coast.

60. Build-Your Own Poke Bowl

For a fun twist on a classic buffet, offer a build-your-own poke bowl station featuring a variety of fish/proteins (be sure to include chicken and tofu), add-ons like edamame, cilantro, and seaweed salad, and toppings like crunchy onions, and pickled ginger.

61. Tiki Inspired Drinks

Keep the good times flowing by featuring a few of your tiki-bar favorites in your cocktail menu. Go for classics like the mai thai, mojito, dark and stormy, and painkiller.

62. Coconut Cake

There are a ton of ways to tie your cake into your beach theme — think ombre frosting inspired by the waves and seashell or palm cake toppers. But why not also go for a tropical-inspired flavor? Coconut is almost always a crowd-pleaser (especially when paired with more conventional flavors like vanilla and chocolate).

63. Tropical Dessert Bar

If you’re skipping cake in favor of a dessert bar, curate a few options that all tie into the tropical theme. Mini key lime pies, passion fruit panna cotta, mango tarts, and lemon cheesecake are all good options. Or, you can help guests cool off by setting up a sorbet or popsicle cart full of treats in yummy tropical flavors.

Beach Wedding Favor Ideas

64. Fans

We’re always partial to a favor that is as sentimental as it is useful, and a personalized paper or bamboo fan checks both of those boxes. Designate someone to pass them out as guests arrive or place one on each seat at the ceremony to make sure everyone can keep cool before the sun sets.

65. Beach Towels or Blankets

If you expect temperatures to dip after the sun sets, giving each of your guests a lightweight beach towel or blanket is a thoughtful party favor. Just make sure they fold down small enough to ensure guests can travel home with them easily.

66. Beautiful Shells

This is a perfect low-cost favor idea if you and your partner live on the beach. Spend time collecting shells for each of your guests on your beach walks leading up to the wedding, and then place them in a sweet personalized pouch to keep them safe as your guests travel home.

67. Infused Sea Salt

Send guests home with a small jar of sea salt infused with flavors inspired by your venue (rosemary is beautiful for an Italian-inspired wedding, whereas lime and chili works for more tropical nuptials). For an extra-special touch, add a customized label to each bottle.

There you have it! We hope this article provided you with plenty of inspiration to bring the beach wedding of your dreams to life. But, if you need even more help making your dream day a reality, take our style quiz to better home in on your unique wedding style and then book a free consultation with one of our stationery experts. Happy planning!