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Ideas for a By the Sea Wedding Theme


Guest contributor: Tanja Radman from Minc Weddings

Imagine your dream day happening by the sea - the beautiful blue of the ocean and sky, the warm sunshine, the fresh smell of an ocean breeze and the sounds of waves lapping up onto the beach.  Picture an afternoon ceremony followed by a dazzling sunset as a backdrop for enjoying celebratory champagne and canapés, before beginning a magical reception inspired by all things from the sea. There are so many fabulous locations to choose from with Australia's magnificent coastline. Of course our Summer months are ideal, but also consider late Spring and early Autumn.


Choosing a colour to base your theme around is easy!  All shades of blue include the sea and the sky, as well as warm apricots, yellows and beiges to reflect the sand and the sun; and crisp, cool whites, and even some silver to reflect the foam of the waves.


From the very beginning, the sea theme is easy to capture.  Add elements of the sea to your stationery: shells, crystals, pearls, diamantes, starfish, lace, decorative papers, raffia and pretty ribbons. Think about extending your theme through to place cards - tiny shells with a lace trim or hand made paper boat place cards, and napkin holders - using raffia adorned with a shell adds a beautiful touch to finish off napkins on reception tables.


For an outdoor ceremony, consider using whites against the sand and the sea - bamboo poles with Balinese white flags blowing in the breeze to border the ceremony area; white chairs for the guests with floaty white organza ties around them; a white carpet aisle lined with beautiful white lilies; a simple white clothed ceremony table with a simple white flower arrangement; and maybe a canopy for the ceremony to take place in decorated with more dreamy organza and lilies. Have your guests blow bubbles at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Reception styling ideas are endless - white table linen with blue and silver trims; sashes around white chair covers in your chosen theme colour; glass bowls filled sand and shells in the bottom with floating candles or floating gardenias as centrepieces, or even a simple conch shell filled with flowers; white tulle to drape the ceiling across the dance floor.  Name the guest tables after a sea creature and use a picture of this on the seating plan; sprinkle tiny shells and starfish around table centres; add floral decorations in your theme colour, fairy lights on the ceiling to emulate the stars in the evening sky and have your cake coloured maybe in shades of blue and decorated with icing shells and sea creatures.  Ensure the bathrooms at the reception also decorated with shells, frangipani scented candles and your chosen flowers.


Parasols to protect your guests from the sun, and paper hand fans to keep them cool during the ceremony are perfect favors.  Other ideas that fit the theme include shell soaps; shortbread baked in seashell or sea creature shapes; or chocolate shells as your bonbonniere.  Feature a guest book adorned with shells for your guests' memories of the day.  And don't forget colouring books with sea pictures for children as an activity if you have them as guests, and bubble dispensers for each guest to blow at the conclusion of the ceremony.  And send your guests home with cake stored in cake bags adorned with shells or pearls.


Dependent on your chosen theme colour you can select from: lilies; gardenias; white, cream and yellow rose; frangipanis; hydrangeas in summery blues and purples; tropical foliage; phalaenopsis orchids; white delphiniums; freesias; cala lilies; bamboo orchids; bird of paradise; hibiscus. Use beautiful coloured or sheer ribbon, or raffia to trim the bridal party bouquets.


Have your make-up done professionally to withstand the strong sunlight, but keep to a natural look that will be complement the landscape of the sea theme. Make sure your photographer has shot on beach locations before, and that they capture the ocean as a backdrop. A beautiful sunset will also lend itself to some stunning shots, as well as the twinkling fairy lights of the reception and maybe some shots with sprinkles of stars and the moon in the night sky.

Wedding attire

A simple fluid gown for the bride, or, maybe something along the lines of a mermaid - frothy, floaty, sheer fabrics, with tiny crystals for detail. Remembe,r if you are having a beach ceremony then a train is not a good idea, but a veil that is quite full and long to the ground will look beautiful floating behind you in the ocean breeze.

Dress your bridesmaids in pastels to complement the sea colours, again choose simple, sheer romantic fabrics. Colours could be various shades of blue, or yellows, and you may want to add a floaty chiffon sash for some pretty contrast.

For the groom, a simple white suit with a coloured shirt in a more casual style will look stylish, and consider beige suits for the groomsmen.

Food and beverages

The bubbles of champagne for pre-dinner drinks along with a selection of cocktails will set the tone of the celebration.  You may even choose a cocktail to continue your theme colour.  Choose liight canapés - both seafood and non-seafood, some served in scallop shells.  You could also ask your caterer to use tropical leaves to line food platters.  For the main course choose fish - think delicate whiting, salmon or ocean trout.  However, it is wise to have a meat alternative for those allergic to seafood as well as a vegetarian option. Colourful and crisp side dishes of vegetables and salad complete the meal.


Australia has some amazing destination to choose from for a ‘By the Sea' theme. Think the magnificent islands of the Whitsundays including Hayman and Hamilton Island, and of course beach destinations such as Port Douglas and Broome. If your budget allows, maybe you could consider Fiji, The Maldives, Tahiti or Bali.  

Images on this page by I Do Weddings Whitsundays .

Pink Frosting sells a gorgeous range of beach wedding accessories and seaside wedding decorations to help you bring this theme to life.

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