Beach Wedding Decorations

There is something about the ocean. Waves rise to impressive heights, surge to the shore, then recede with surprising gentleness. Perhaps it is this tireless display of nature's power that calls couples to the beach for their weddings.

Types of Beach Weddings

The term "beach wedding" can encompass a wide range of events. A very casual beach wedding might feature guests wearing sandals, sundresses, and linen shorts, while a more formal affair might look like a traditional indoor wedding that's simply been moved outside. Some couples have both their ceremony and reception at the beach, while others have a small outdoor ceremony and move the reception indoors. It's up to you to decide what type of beach wedding best suits your needs, but you'll want to make sure your decorations fit the overall tone of your big day.

Creating an Altar

beach wedding alter ideas

If you plan to marry on the beach, most of your decorations will be provided by Mother Nature. However, you'll still need to create a special altar for ceremony. Here are some options to consider:

  • Keep it simple by using large rocks to outline your aisles and walkway. Add decorative palm leaves, if desired.
  • Use shepherd’s hooks to hang floral arrangements or potted plants along the sides of your altar. Add a cloth walkway and rose petals to finish the arrangement.
  • Perch flower arrangements on wooden stakes wrapped in colorful ribbon to make the sides of your altar. Scatter petals on the sand to create a casual walkway.
  • If your wedding will be in the evening hours, define your altar with rows of lanterns in between floral arrangements.


Some beach weddings have guests simply stand for the ceremony, but chairs may be needed if you have friends or family who are unable to stand for an extended period of time. If you decide to provide chairs, make sure you place them far enough apart that guests can comfortably enter and exit their aisle. With an outdoor venue, there's no need to make anyone feel crowded!

Reception Decoration Ideas

beach wedding sea shell curtin ideas

Whether your reception will be held outdoors under a canopy or indoors at a nearby venue, you'll want to choose a few decorations that support your beach theme. For example:

  • Decorate the backs of your chairs with raffia and starfish. Small details like this make a big difference in how your venue is perceived by your guests.
  • Partition off areas with a seashell and flower hanging curtain. A curtain would also make a cute backdrop for a wedding photo booth.
  • Make casual reception centerpieces by filling small metal buckets or wicker baskets with assorted shells. Place a container in the middle of each table, then scatter a few smaller shells nearby to complete the look.
  • Fill the bottoms of tall clear vases with shells, then add water. Finish with floating candles for sophisticated beach decor.
  • Create a garland with jute rope and starfish to hang wherever you need to add a beachy vibe to your reception.
  • If your tables will be numbered, frame each number in a 5x7 photo frame. Place the frame on a decorative wooden tray and surround it with corked bottles of sand in various sizes.


Evening Lighting Options

beach wedding light ideas

If you're planning to get married in the evening or your reception is also at the beach, you'll need to arrange for proper lighting. Methods of lighting include:

  • Use tiki torches to add a festive atmosphere to your event. If you're worried about mosquitos, torches are also a discreet way to make sure the bugs don't interrupt your fun.
  • Provide large metal lanterns with candles that can easily be moved around as needed. If you'll have lots of kids at your event, stay safe by choosing battery operated flameless candles for your lanterns.
  • Hang paper lanterns with flameless candles inside up around your tent. If you don't want to use candles, you could also try spraying them with glow in the dark spray paint for lanterns that will light the way all night long.
  • Use solar lights on stakes to light paths for your guests. Strings of solar lights can also be used on your tables to add additional illumination.


Setting a Celebratory Tone for Your Special Day

Even if you simply dream of marrying with your toes in the soft sand, adding a few extra decorations to your venue will contribute to the celebratory spirit of the day. It's easy to create everything you need to decorate for your beach themed wedding using sand, shells, and a few basic craft supplies. Ask your friends and family to help, then turn your preparations into a party of their own!

Written by: The Printable Wedding Team