Weddings
21 Beach Wedding Ideas for a Chic Oceanfront Affair
Breathtaking views, an ocean breeze, and ethereal décor guarantee any beach fete one-of-a-kind.
IMAGE MICHELLE BELLER PHOTOGRAPHY
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Elevating the overall style of a beach wedding can mean more than just impromptu tropical florals and an array of vibrant textiles. For a festive—yet understated beach affair—we sought advice from the experts in luxury weddings for tips on how to make any sandy celebration the most coveted of the season.

1. Capture one-of-a-kind shots.


To ensure a photo album full of festive summer photos, Liz Banfield, owner of Liz Banfield, encourages sneaking off with your photographer to capture sandy images that fully embody a beach wedding. “Kick off your shoes and escape with your photographer at sunset for unforgettable beach photos!” she says.

More: The Best & Worst Wedding Dates for 2018

2. Strategize complimentary features.


Rather than compete with the tranquility of your surroundings, find ways to incorporate complimentary elements into your day-of design. Bree and Freddie, owners of Rockrose Floral, agree that brides should “choose décor that doesn't compete with the beauty of the beach environment but rather compliments it, such as ghost chairs and light, airy florals.”

3. Set the tone with your stationery.


Kick-off your wedding weekend with a stationery that showcases your day-of theme. “The invitation is the first clue to your wedding aesthetic that guests receive," explains Lyndsey Hamilton, creative director of Lyndsey Hamilton Events. "Include a beautiful map and keep your color palette consistent throughout the event.”

4. Spotlight decorative accents.


An innovative way to feature décor without overwhelming your space is to integrate decorative accents within functional pieces of your design. Matthew Robbins and Luis Otoya, owners of RobbinsOtoya, used this technique when adding flair to beachy ceremony chairs. The duo used custom chair covers in an ocean-inspired palette to bring pattern and texture to the space.

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5. Forgo heavy foods.


Choose foods that are light, flavorful, and can be prepared in a variety of ways. “Fish tacos are always a fan favorite during cocktail hour and, during the warmer months, a gazpacho is a great way to kick off a seated meal,” suggests Lauren Emerson, owner of Lauren Emerson Events & Design.

6. Raise the bar.


Nothing says "festive focal point" like a custom beach bar. Sarah Kate, owner of Sarah Kate Photography, suggests serving summer drinks with a show stopping set-up. “This ‘Tequila Bar’ was such a crowd pleaser," says Kate. "Complete with several custom cocktails, it was a fun way to elevate beach décor!”

7. Add a touch of tropical elegance.


Blair Peterson, a planner at SoCo Events, integrated natural simplicity by using dark wood against a sandy backdrop to set the scene for a palm tree-filled walk down the aisle. Her team chose dark wood chivari chairs to add contrast against the soft white sand, and they also built a dark wood canopy.

8. Don’t shy away from color.


“Bright reds, greens, and corals contrast incredibly well with the sand, ocean, and blue skies," explains Brian Leahy, owner of Brian Leahy Photography. "Don't be afraid to mix and match some really bold, solid colors to achieve breathtaking photos.”

9. Map it out.


Depending on the geography, your décor can play a major role in the overall aesthetic of your event. For a dinner on the Mediterranean coast, Lynn Easton, founder of Easton Events, opted for a palette of soft and airy textures, embracing terra cotta and seagrass as a nod to the location.

10. Incorporate playful features.


Blending themed beach elements into moments of your big day can make a big impact regarding one-of-a-kind style. Carrie Wilcox, owner of Carrie Wilcox Floral Design, used a sailor’s knot to integrate beachy flair into a groomsmen’s colorful boutonniere.

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11. Bundle your blooms.


One of the best ways to let the vibrant colors of summer shine is through a beach bouquet. When blending an array of tropical shades, Sherene Hulugalle, owner of Wisteria Lane Flowers, suggests letting your bouquet standout with flattering pops of color. “Nothing says seasonal like sunny yellows, electric pinks, and a dash of lush greenery,” she says.

12. Get creative with escort cards.


Decorative elements that are as useful as they are engaging, custom escort cards can enhance any themed celebration. Heather Lowenthal, owner of Posh Parties, proposes having guest names calligraphed on sand dollars for a fun ode to the setting.

13. Embellish your aisle.


Whether crafting a stand-alone focal point or complementing the design of your altar, the adornment of your aisle can transform the feel of your ceremony. Charlotte Jenks Lewis, owner of Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography, recalls a statement-making layout where “the height of decorative grasses created a visual anchor up against the seaside aisle.”

14. Embrace modernism.


It’s easy to get swept into a frenzy of rich oranges, pinks, and yellows when strategizing a beach affair. Jeannette Tavaras, senior event planner and creative director at Evoke, covets personal style while integrating elements of the environment. Says Tavaras, “bringing in a modern aesthetic is ideal when designing within a complementary palette and adding seaside textures and colors.”

15. Spotlight striking details.


One thing to remember when planning any event is the significance of details. Guests notice everything! Kent Drake, owner of Kent Drake Photography recalls a time when noteworthy place cards made a meaningful impact. “These hand-painted and scripted place cards made out of shells were the perfect touch for a Jamaican beach wedding!” he says.

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16. Utilize natural elements.


Diana Venditto, owner and creative director at Eventi Floral & Events, suggests embellishing your tablescape with essentials derived from nature. “Consider using elements naturally found along the beach in your décor such as driftwood, sea glass or shells,” suggests Venditto. Hues like soft blue, taupe, and cream can seamlessly integrate these components into any setting.

17. Optimize the view.


To fully embrace the serenity of a beach backdrop, Isabella Sikaffy, owner of Florabella Studios, recommends comprising a minimalist approach to décor to embrace the setting’s picturesque amenities: “For a beach wedding, we opted not to use any decor that would obstruct the natural beauty of the Caribbean.”

18. Seek a range of terrain.


With “toes-in-the-sand” as a perk to any coastal location, sometimes less is more when it comes to sandy ceremony sites. Laurie Arons, founder of Laurie Arons Special Events, agrees. “If there’s a grassy knoll or a wooden boardwalk nearby, the wedding party, guests and couple, will have a much easier time walking down the aisle,” she explains.

19. Consider colorful attire.


Extending your coastal color palette into your wedding wardrobe can add a quality of uniqueness that ties in the overall theme of the event. Ashley Kelemen, owner of Ashley Kelemen Photography, advises the use of “blush, cream, and soft blues to enhance the color scheme of your day-of look.”

20. Create areas of comfort.


With beach seating often limited, hosting an oceanside affair can mean moments of extensive standing. To ensure guests are comfortable, Jennifer Haf, founder of BLOOM Floral Design, suggests “crafting cozy seating areas by the shore where guests can enjoy the beautiful view!”

21. Encourage stress-free furniture.


When working with an airy backdrop, staying away from heavy furniture is an optimal way to tie-in the softness of the setting. Sonia Hopkins, owner of XOXO Bride Eventsrecommends the use of ghost chairs for an ethereal beach set-up. “The chairs make for a light vibration on the sand and allows light to naturally bounce to-and-fro,” she says.

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This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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