9 Ideas To Inspire Your Nautical Wedding

Considering a seaside ceremony or a destination wedding? We've got all the tips and tricks for your nautical decor.

Whether you're thinking about an intimate ceremony in the sand or a full-on beach bash, take note of these nautical wedding decorations. From themed invitations to beach decor and favors, there are so many ways to incorporate sailing motifs and seafaring elements in the chicest of ways.

  1. 1. Customized Invitation Suite

    Cream and navy nautical invitation suite
    Photo by Emily Wren Photography

    Inform your guests to the theme of the celebration by adding a custom logo or motif to your stationery set, like a piece of rope tied in a sailer's knot, an anchor, a helm (ship's steering wheel) or a lighthouse. If your wedding is going to involve traveling, consider adding in some local-specific information, like transportation and hotel suggestions, restaurants and activities for down-time.

    From A Nautical Wedding at the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  2. 2. Bride and Groom Beachwear

    Blue linen groom's suit and strapless bridal gown
    Photo by Betsi Ewing Studio

    A low-fuss bohemian dress is a great option for keeping things light and breezy. If a ball gown is what you're after, opt of an A-line strapless style, which makes the overall look a little more casual. For the groom, a linen suit is the perfect choice for both style points and comfort. For extra flair, add a seersucker pocket square in lieu of a boutineiree.

    From A Belvedere Club Wedding in Charlevoix, Michigan

  3. 3. Waterside Reception

    Long reception tables on beach with blue decor string lights
    Photo by Kristi Midgette Photography

    There aren't many decorations you can bring in that rival Mother Nature's beautiful scenery, so roll with the surroundings and let them take center stage—opt for a color palette that compliments the blue waters, sandy shoreline and natural grasses. If you have an open-air venue, it's always a good idea to have a plan B just in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Ask your planner about tent options or indoor spaces close by.

    From A Nautical, Beach Wedding at a Private Home in Corova, North Carolina

  4. 4. Under-the-Sea Decor

    Nautical reception table decor with green anchor and lanterns
    Photo by Photography by Santy Martinez

    Dress your table with unique elements like marquee-style anchors, sea glass, driftwood, seashells or starfish. For the centerpieces, try to keep them low and lush so they're not blocking any views. You could even get crafty with your floral arrangements and incorporate beach grass or sand-filled bottles for an authentic picnic-on-the-beach vibe.

    From A Beach-Inspired Wedding at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida

  5. 5. Anchor Table Settings

    Table setting with blue napkin tablecloth and anchor detail
    Photo by Jodi Miller Photography

    Round out your table decor with wooden charger plates for a driftwood-esque nod to your surroundings. It also acts as the perfect neutral to pair with nautical blue hues like navy and mint. For added fun, include a crossword puzzle at each place setting filled with sailor-speak so guests can test their seafaring knowledge while waiting for dinner. There's countless terms to choose from, like helm, stern, boom, bow and starboard.

    From A Kings Creek Resort & Marina Wedding in Cape Charles, Virginia

  6. 6. Passed Seafood

    Mini lobster rolls on tray with navy flag toothpicks
    Photo by Jenny DeMarco Photography

    Would a nautical wedding be complete without some seafood? Since crab cakes and lobster rolls are usually made with sauces and seasonings, they tend to be an approved middle ground for those people who shy away from "fishy" food. Get local with your passed plates and adorn the appetizers with a little flag telling where the seafood was caught.

    From A Four Seasons Hotel Wedding in Austin, Texas

  7. 7. Active Entertainment

    Cornhole game with seafoam and gray paint and anchor
    Photo by Katie Nesbitt Photography

    If you're on the beach, why not get your guests on the beach! Expand the party perimeters by arranging games like horseshoes or corn hole on the sand. Then when the sun goes down, a bonfire and s'mores is the perfect alternative for guests who want to take a break from the dancing.

    From An Osprey Point Wedding in Rock Hall, Maryland

  8. 8. Wedding Cake Details

    Three tiered white wedding cake with navy anchor and rope knot
    Photo by Limelife Photography

    Celebrate your new initials with a simple monogrammed cake adorned with a playful fondant rope... tied in a knot of course! Or if you want something less sailor-y and more beach-y, ask your baker to create a serene scene of waves with soft ombre ruffles.

    From A Nautical Military Wedding at The Crossings in Carlsbad, California

  9. 9. Sweet Favors

    Saltwater taffy wedding favors in pink striped bag
    Photo by Brooke Schultz Photography

    Yes, saltwater taffy. Could this be any more appropriate?! Display taffy-filled candy bags in an antique chest for a grown-up "treasure chest," or create a serve-yourself candy bar with labeled apothecary jars. Unlike heat-sensative chocolates or other sweets, taffy won't melt and make a mess, so for the most part you can let it be after it's all set up and turn your attentions elsewhere. (And germophobes will appreciate the individual wrappings.)

    From A Wadley Farms Wedding in Lindon, Utah

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