55 Beach Wedding Ideas for a Seaside Event You'll Love

Make your vows feel more like a vacay.
Beach Wedding Ideas, From Tropical to Coastal
Photo: Amanda Noel Photos
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Feb 29, 2024

There's something so romantic and calming about the beach—sand between your toes, waves crashing in the distance and the golden glow of the sun setting over the water. If these beach wedding ideas are any proof, the beach is also an amazing place to get married, whether you're headed to a quaint town on the coast or flying to a tropical island. Whatever the case may be, we're sharing 55 beach-themed wedding ideas for your wedding inspiration board, from bouquets and beach wedding centerpiece ideas to gorgeous ceremony backdrops that frame your ocean view. Plus, we've tapped a few pros—Lindsey Shaktman of Mavinhouse Events and Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events—to share their insider ideas about how to plan a beach wedding. Get started with our favorite beach wedding inspo and coastal wedding decorations below.

Beach Wedding Ideas:

Ceremony | Reception | Decoration | Cakes | Bouquets | Flowers | Photos | Editor's Favorites

Beach Wedding Ceremony Ideas

The wedding ceremony is just the beginning of your celebration, but it's also the moment when you officially become a married couple—so if you ask us, it deserves as much attention as the reception. Consider including these beach ceremony decor ideas and other ways to personalize your vow exchange.

1. Greenery and Pampas Grass Beach Wedding Arch

Upholstered chairs in front of a boho greenery arch brough an air of romance and formality to this oceanfront wedding ceremony.

2. Baskets and Fresh Fruit as Aisle Decorations

For this ceremony overlooking the ocean, the couple decorated their aisle with woven seagrass baskets and a grouping of fresh fruit.

3. Modern Ghost Chair Seating

Use clear ghost chairs for your ceremony to ensure nothing detracts from the epic altar and waterfront backdrop.

4. Circular Backdrop with Loose Greenery

Leafy, oversized greenery gave this full-circle altar arch a relaxed, laid-back feel for the clifftop ceremony.

5. Shoe Check Station

"While the concept of a beach wedding may sound purely romantic (and it definitely is!), the reality is also a bit more messy," says Shaktman. This beach wedding ceremony idea eliminates some of the mess by giving guests a spot to put their shoes and use brushes to dust off the sand.

6. Mirrored Ceremony Flower Pedestals

"When you think of a beach wedding, you usually think casual and tropical and that's the route most couples go," says Chang. "But, you can make a beach wedding fresh and unique by bringing in unexpected and contrasting elements." This modern-meets-tropical setup is worth a try if you're looking for beach wedding ideas with an edge—the mirrored floral pedestals are an unexpectedly cool touch.

7. Garden-Inspired Aisle Markers

Can't decide between the beach and an English-style garden? You can have both. Low-profile bundles of roses look beautiful in front of an ocean backdrop.

8. Folding Fans and Handkerchiefs

To help guests beat the heat at this wedding in Mexico, folding fans and handkerchiefs were given to attendees upon arrival at the wedding ceremony.

9. Wooden Ceremony Aisle Walkway

Make it easier for your guests to walk through the sand by adding a temporary wooden walkway to the ceremony location. All-white decor fit right in with the white sand at this beachfront spot.

10. Steel Drum Music

Steel drum music for the perfect beach wedding day
Photo: Melissa Mowrey,Music: Chuck Lawson

Add some fun to your ceremony music with the help of this simple beach wedding idea. Instead of an acoustic guitarist or string quartet, hire a pro musician to play the steel drums for your processional.

11. Sand Unity Ceremony

What better place to incorporate a sand unity ceremony than at the beach? You can use sand from the beach where you're getting married (as long as it's not prohibited) or use new sand from a craft supply store.

Beach Wedding Reception Ideas

Finding the right beach wedding venue is the first step in creating a memorable reception. (Our tip: You can browse and filter beach wedding venues by location, price and more on The Knot Vendor Marketplace.) Once you've done that, these beach-themed wedding reception ideas will set the mood for a great party.

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12. All-White Lounge Furniture

Standalone chairs can be a little unstable on the sand, but larger furniture items won't tip over or sink as easily. Use chaise chairs, benches and patio umbrellas to create a lounge area where guests can relax away from the sun.

13. Piña Colada Signature Cocktails

Frozen pina coladas, garnished with pineapple slices and orchid blooms, kept guests cool and hydrated at this wedding in Hawaii.

14. Surfboard Guest Book

In keeping with the beach theme, ask your guests to write their well-wishes on a surfboard as a makeshift wedding guest book.

15. Mermaid Entertainers

Here's a beach wedding idea we're sure your guests haven't seen before. Mermaids entertained guests during a cocktail hour cruise around the harbor at this wedding.

16. Coconut Shell Cocktails

Why serve your drinks in regular glasses when you can use on-theme coconut shells instead? Look for options that can be personalized with your names or a decorative flower motif.

17. Wooden Deck with Lounge Area

When it comes to an outdoor venue, first think about what amenities a typical indoor venue would offer, and then make sure you incorporate them into your beach setting. Adding a hard floor to at least a portion of the space ensures that guests won't be stuck in the sand all night.

18. Neutral Decor with Dried Greenery

Wishbone chairs, modern wooden tables and a dramatic canopy with dried leaves and chandeliers set the stage for this trendy beachside reception.

19. Reception with Bamboo Chairs and Woven Chandeliers

Depending on the venue, you may need to get creative with your lighting fixtures after dark. Paper lanterns sprinkled among string lights creates a lively, playful vibe above your reception tables.

Beach Wedding Decoration Ideas

The waterfront view is the main event at any beach wedding venue, but you'll still need some decor to personalize the event. Get started with these beach wedding decor ideas we love.

20. Oyster Shell Escort Cards

Calligraphed oyster shells or other seashells are a great option for directing guests to their seats. Plan far enough in advance to forage for shells on your next vacation or beach outing.

21. Monstera Leaf and Orchid Bloom Place Setting

Woven chargers and monstera leaves brought a layered look to this tropical place setting.

22. Marquee Letters

Welcome your guests to a Hawaiian wedding reception by using oversized marquee letters to spell 'aloha' or another greeting message.

23. Driftwood Escort Cards

Don't leave your guests stranded—guide them to their seats using pieces of driftwood inscribed with their names and table assignments.

24. Rattan Lamps and Bistro Lights

"There are so many beautiful touches you can add to a beach wedding to make sure it is fresh and unique," says Shaktman. "Consider aesthetic and functional lighting features by installing beautiful twinkle lights over the dining and dancing area that melt right into the stars in the sky. Add fun glowing orbs or fairy lights on the beach that light up down to the shore as the sun sets."

25. Poolside Wedding Reception

If your reception takes place away from the beach itself, you can get a little more ambitious with your table settings. Black bentwood chairs and a gold-and-black table ensured this wedding reception was positively fresh and modern.

26. Elegant Cream Wedding Tablescape

Cream linens and taper candles, accented by wood cross-back chairs, wowed at this waterfront wedding reception without distracting guests from the nearby waterfront views.

27. Ocean-Inspired Blue Details

This ocean-inspired wedding tablescape featured blue velvet chairs and fluffy chandeliers, which were reminiscent of crashing waves and seafoam.

Beach Wedding Cake Ideas

Before you slice into your cake, your photographer (and your guests) are bound to snap a few photos. In that case, make sure it's on-theme with one of these beach wedding cake ideas.

28. Coconut Cake Decorated with Seashells

coconut wedding cake for your beach wedding day
Photo: Heather Chipps Photography

You obviously can't put sand on your wedding cake, but toasted coconut shavings give the same textural effect (while adding flavor). Finish with an optional assortment of seashells around the bottom.

29. Elegant White Orchid Cake

A formal beach wedding warrants a cake that's slightly more traditional and understated. White phalaenopsis orchids against smooth fondant is a beautiful example of coastal chic style.

30. Tropical Wedding Cake

Take a simple white cake and transform it into a tropical-themed dessert with the help of colorful orchids, pincushion proteas and greenery.

31. Cascading Seashells Cake

Instead of using fresh flowers, this unique wedding cake idea puts seashells front and center. Look closely and you'll see that the seashells are actually made of sugar—a great alternative if you don't want to go to the lengths of using real shells.

32. Anchor-Shaped Cookies

Offer custom cookies in place of or in addition to your wedding cake for even more sweet treats. Anchor-shaped cookies are good for a nautical theme, but you could also choose flip flops, sailboats, palm trees or another beach-inspired shape.

Beach Wedding Bouquet Ideas

Incorporate elements like pampas grass, tropical greenery and brightly colored flowers to give your wedding bouquet a beach-inspired look.

33. Orange Calla Lily Wedding Bouquet

Orange calla lilies, paired with an assortment of tropical greenery, gave this bouquet a beach-ready feel.

34. Orchid, Anthurium and Palm Leaf Bouquet

Anthurium is another great statement flower to incorporate into beach wedding decor, centerpieces and bouquets. For her wedding in Thailand, this bride paired anthurium with ferns, orchids and dried palm leaves.

35. Boho Beach Wedding Bouquet

Inspired by beach color schemes, this soft bouquet featured roses and stephanotis in white and beige tones.

36. Vibrant Orchid Wedding Bouquet

Ranunculus and greenery accented the hot pink orchids in this bouquet for a beach wedding in Hawaii.

Beach Wedding Flowers Ideas

From palm branches to pampas grass, there are so many popular wedding flowers that work for a beach theme. These wedding flower ideas are just a few examples of how to reinforce your beachy aesthetic.

37. Greenery Leis

For a Hawaiian wedding or those who have Hawaiian lineage, greenery leis can be worn to symbolize warmth and love.

38. Orchid Flower Crown

Orchids look right at home in beach wedding floral arrangements. This bride chose to adorn her updo with fresh orchids, but you could also use them for boutonnieres and corsages.

39. Greenery Wall with Neon Sign

Instead of a simple photo booth backdrop, consider a statement greenery or floral wall as a fun beach wedding idea. Monstera leaves, ferns, moss and eucalyptus were the base of this wall with a custom neon sign.

40. Fresh Flower Hair Accessories

A flower crown isn't the only way to add blooms to your wedding hairstyle. For her wedding in Hawaii, this bride's braid was accented with fresh yellow flowers.

41. Monstera Leaf Centerpieces

Monstera leaf centerpieces brought a pop of color to this reception's all-white decor.

42. Modern Tablescape with Leaf Table Numbers

Leaves in chic vases conveyed table numbers to guests and brought a modern feel to these reception tablescapes.

43. Reception with Hanging Tropical Greenery

Even if your wedding venue happens to be landlocked, you can still have a beach-inspired wedding, as this reception proves. Although the couple tied the knot at a vineyard, tropical decor instantly brought the beach to the space.

Beach Wedding Photo Ideas

At some point during the day, be sure to spend some extra time on the beach with your photographer to capture some unforgettable wedding photos.

44. Barefoot Beach Stroll

Kick off your shoes and embark on a beach stroll with your photographer immediately following the ceremony to capture that just-married bliss.

45. Morning Bike Ride

To start their wedding day in Florida off on a strong note, this couple took a pajama-clad bike ride around Alys Beach with their photographer in tow.

46. Lighthouse Wedding Portraits

If your beach has an iconic landmark, like the lighthouse this couple posed in front of in New Haven, Connecticut, make sure to capture some images to commemorate the special locale.

47. A View From Above

Sometimes, the best way to capture a stunning waterfront scene is from above. Ask your photographer or videographer if they're able to include drone photography as part of your package.

48. Take a Walk on the Dock

Look around the venue for interesting spots, like a dock or boardwalk, and sneak away during cocktail hour for some photos with your photographer.

49. Go for a Quick Dip

If you're planning to do this photo op, wait until the end of the night—or before doing an outfit change—so that you're not walking around with wet attire for the rest of the party.

Editor's Beach Wedding Favorites

Other than the decor, flowers and cake, here are just a few other details we'd include for a beach-themed wedding.

50. Ethereal Beach Wedding Dress

With potential warm temperatures and humidity, you'll want a beach wedding dress that's comfortable and breathable. Airy fabrics like chiffon and organza are much lighter than lace or silk, and bonus: they look so pretty blowing in an ocean breeze.

51. Beach Wedding Invitations

Include themed details like palm tree motifs, stripes and wavy shapes as part of your beach wedding invitations to set the fun vibes from the start.

52. Beachy Waves Hairstyle

As you're shopping for your dream wedding dress, keep your hair and makeup in mind, too. Loose waves pinned to one side is a popular beach wedding hairstyle to keep your hair out of your face.

53. Colorful Block Heel Sandals

Leave the stilettos at home—flats, flip flops or block heels are the way to go for beach wedding footwear.

54. Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses

Lean into the celebratory, laid-back vibes of a beach wedding by allowing your attendants to choose their own bridesmaid dresses or attire. Give them a few prompts (like 'long pink dress' or 'linen-blend suit') so that everyone is coordinating.

55. Luggage Tag Wedding Favors

Your beach wedding favors are a final chance to tap into the theme and send guests home with a thoughtful memento. We love the idea of something practical and beach-inspired, like luggage tags for a destination wedding.

Samantha Iacia contributed to the reporting of this article.

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