Getting married in any venue can be romantic, but beach weddings are especially idyllic. The more low-key, intimate vibe of a seaside ceremony makes these types of events a great choice for couples who love basking in the sun and enjoying time with loved ones by water. Even though ocean destinations lend themselves to a breezy, barefoot wedding style, beach weddings don’t have to to be informal. In addition to being inspired by the setting, they can (and should!) reflect your own personal style. And when it comes to the decor, there are tons of options out there to choose from.
“The decor at a beach should always feel natural and organic to the the location,” says wedding planner Claire Duran. “It’s all about playing with nature and enhancing it with cohesive decor elements.”
Meet the Expert
Claire Duran is the owner and creative director of a Washington D.C.-based wedding and event planing company.
Still, you want to make sure the items you choose can withstand the elements, since salty air, heat, and excess moisture can wreak havoc on wedding decor. With Duran’s help, we rounded up a variety of beach-inspired decor items that are both weather-friendly and on theme to make your wedding feel like perfect seaside escape.
Read on for the best beach wedding decor ideas.
If you’re looking for decor that can also double as a favors, these pretty glass votive candle holders will do the trick. Available in sets of four, each votive fits a tea light (go for battery-powered if your venue doesn’t allow candles) and is designed with white seashell print against a pale backdrop. Post-wedding, they can also be used as small vases or cups to store q-tips and other bathroom accessories.
Price at the time of publish: $10+
For a special personalized touch, this rustic driftwood sign can be personalized with the coordinates of your beach wedding location. The details are hand-engraved on the wood, which comes strung with twine for easy hanging. Pick from a number of size options (from 12 to 64 inches wide) and display the sign at the beginning of the path to the ceremony or at the entrance to the reception.
Price at the time of publish: $65+
If you’re having a laid-back, shoes-option ceremony, this fun sign will give your guests clear directions about where to go (and where to stash their heels). Depending on your wedding palette, you can choose from a dark walnut stain with white vinyl lettering or painted white wood with black font. There are two sizes available—both are large enough for guests to spot easily when they arrive.
Price at the time of publish: $55+
Planning a unity ceremony? This nautical-inspired kit comes with two contrasting-color ropes that can be tied into an infinity knot, which symbolizes the joining of two lives (or families) into one. The ropes also come with instructions on how to tie the knot and what to say during this part of the ceremony.
Price at the time of publish: $63+
If you’re having a beach or marina-based wedding, this clever centerpiece is the perfect accent for your sweetheart table (or splurge and get one for every table). The driftwood mast and hull make the boat stand on its own, and the sails come in four different styles. They can be customized with you and your partner’s names, wedding date, table numbers, and anything else you want to add.
Price at the time of publish: $134+
This starfish-shaped glitter confetti comes in a pack of 150 and is available in two sparkly color themes. Sprinkle around centerpieces to add some colorful flair to your tables, pop them onto sticks to use as dessert decorations, or have guests toss them as a send off as you make your exit at the end of the night.
Price at the time of publish: $10
These gorgeous table numbers from Etsy are ideal for beach wedding setting. The text (choose from white or black) is printed on faux sea glass, which is available in traditional green, as well as nearly a dozen other colors. For an additional cost, add a base stand in either stained wood, driftwood, or acrylic.
Price at the time of publish: $15+
If your reception is going to take part after sunset, adding some decorative string lights can really help set the scene. This whimsical strand features 35 battery-operated LED lights shaped like starfish, sea horses, and seashells. The shapes are all strung on a silver-plated copper wire which can be strung or easily bent to wrap around signs, trees, and other structures.
Price at the time of publish: $17
Add a charming piece of decor to your beach wedding with this sweet banner from Etsy. The best part? It can be fully customized—choose from dozens of colors for the letters, hearts, and hanging ribbons, as well as several options for the chipboard.
Price at the time of publish: $34
Looking for a non-traditional guest book that’s perfect for a beach wedding? Consider this cute turtle-shaped frame—guests sign small wooden hearts and place them inside. You can customize the size, font, and colors, and it comes with a table stand for easy display.
Price at the time of publish: $191+
Forgo a traditional guest book with this nautical-themed anchor design. Made from birch plywood, it’s available in six colors and several size options. Personalize it even further by adding in you and your partner’s names, your wedding date, and any other message you’d like to include.
Price at the time of publish: $44+
Although these little candles are intended to be given as wedding favors, they can also be used as decor by scattering around the table centerpieces. The tags can be personalized with you and your spouse’s names, your wedding date, or a message of your choice. Choose from several different options for the mesh wrapping and add a tray (for an additional cost) to complete the look.
Price at the time of publish: $72+
Even your wedding cake can have a beach-themed twist, thanks to these adorable—and affordable—toppers from Amazon, which are designed to look like your favorite Adirondack chairs. The package also comes with an assortment of tiny faux seashells to add an additional ocean-inspired touch to the cake or the table.
Price at the time of publish: $10+
This sweet sign is made from heavy duty PVC—so it holds up in wind and weather—and it comes with with an attached rope so it can easily be hung from a tree or archway. Bring it home after the wedding to display it as a sweet memento of your special day.
Price at the time of publish: $15
Available in a set of six, these petite table number holders feature sea-themed decorative bases that are perfect for a waterfront location. Crafted from durable resin, the set comes with two of each shell design. Bonus: these are also great for holding cards, notes, and photos after the wedding.
Price at the time of publish: $13
This unique sandcastle sculpture makes for a stunning centerpiece at a reception entrance, sweetheart table, or dessert table. Crafted from real sand, it’s an intricate, whimsical piece that fits right in to a themed beach wedding—and will definitely impress everyone who comes to your event.
Price at the time of publish: $80
What to Look For in Beach Wedding Decor
A main factor to consider is if the decor is weather-resistant, since you’ll likely be outdoors and vulnerable to the elements. When figuring out florals, for instance, look for flowers that will withstand the heat and the wind. Delicate decor elements may need to be brought out just before the ceremony or reception, explains Duran. “We know that the production timeline needs to be adjusted so that everything is placed at the last minute,” she says.
Additionally, smaller details like table numbers and photos should be be framed or hung from sturdy materials or holders that will keep them in place, even when the breeze is strong, notes Duran. A sturdy stake that you can stick into the sand is ideal for signs and other ceremony markers.
No matter the setting, it’s a good idea to look for wedding decorations that can be personalized with your names, wedding date, and color scheme. Candles, signs, favors, and escort cards are all items that can be customized to fit your theme and palette.
While wedding decorations can easily add up in cost, finding pieces that you can reuse again can offset the investment. Look for items that can become wall art or a piece of memorabilia for your home. Other accessories like favor card holders can become desk accessories down the road.
Since the setting will be providing the nautical, beachy vibes, it’s all about adding in complimentary elements, says Duran. One way to subtly play up the setting is through the materials. “Adding natural textures like wicker and wood, or even subtle pearled elements, can add a perfect touch,” says Duran.
Durant advises keeping a theme that feels consistent with the setting. “A glam look at a beach may feel out of place, just as a boho style might feel out of place inside the ballroom of a centuries-old castle,” she explains. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix ideas, of course, but be aware of how the different settings might clash.
Why Trust Brides
Brides writer Rachel Simon has covered weddings and other lifestyle topics for dozens of magazines, newspapers, and websites. She also just got married this past year and is quite familiar with the ins and out of wedding planing and decor.