5 Inspiring Ideas for a Beach Themed Wedding Reception

Well our third and final Friday is upon us with Emma Arendoski of Emmaline Bride as our guest. She has shared some of her great ideas for beach weddings from her new book, The Inspired Wedding, these past few weeks and today’s post is no exception! Be sure to check out last week’s post where you can enter to win a copy of her book, The Inspired Wedding, full of great theme-based ideas and inspiration.

Last week, I shared some of my favorite ideas for a memorable beach-themed wedding ceremony. Today, I’m back to share with you more inspiring ideas for what’s likely to be the grandest party you’ll ever host: your wedding reception. Where to begin? My recommendation to couples is to outline the parts of the reception — the location, the seating arrangements, the food and drink, the cake, the music, the dancing, the after-the-reception activities, and the wedding favors — and then determine those that are most important to you. If you narrow it down in this way, I guarantee you won’t feel overwhelmed!

I’ve chosen five of my favorites to talk about here, let’s begin with the location.

Beach Themed Wedding Reception Location

photography by: eric boneske photography
featured here: round paper lanterns

1. The Reception Location

There are several options for a wedding reception at the beach. You could host an outdoor event right on the beach with a tented area (be sure to include a rental of port-a-johns!), which is perfect if there’s a chance of inclement weather. There may be a restaurant, country club, or banquet hall nearby that you could rent, or if you plan to be married in a park, there’s often somekind of structure that can be rented.

Beach Themed Wedding Reception Location

photgraphy by: michelle gardella

Another suggestion is to have your reception at a beach house, which can be just a short walk from your ceremony right on the beach. A beach house – I’ve stayed at one in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, for example – can be rented by the weekend or week and often they can house many guests (like your entire wedding party), depending on its size. That option can be a very good one as it will have an equipped kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Don’t forget plenty of outdoor lighting, a big dance floor, and lanterns lighting the way for a moonlit walk on the beach.

2. Where to Eat?

When guests enter your reception area after the ceremony, greet them with a table of assorted drinks and a place for them to find their table and their seat assignment. I recommend assigned seating for a couple of reasons: It’s easier to seat people with other guests bearing similar interests and, it’s a great way to ensure certain guests have a seat closer to the head table (like your parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.). If your choice is to have this type of seating, then you’ll need escort cards, which are a whole lot of fun. I love these beach chairs from Weddingstar as an escort display.

You can also have a place card ready to greet each guest’s seat, like these cards placed in coral holders (also from Weddingstar).

3. Food and Drink

On your reception menu, include seaside choices, as well as options for those who don’t eat either fish or shellfish. Some of my favorites include fish as an entrée option or shrimp cocktail and crab cakes as appetizers. Bring out the best of the beach with delightful drink options such as Mai-Tais, Pina Coladas, or Blue Hawaiian cocktails. Consider adding a signature cocktail to your offerings, and have decorative drink stirrers at the ready.

Beach Wedding Drink Menu

photgraphy by: anna kim photography

4. Cake

A beach-themed cake is a must-have at your reception! Your cake is one easy place to go all-out with embellishments. Some of my favorite finds include brown sugar crumbled on top to resemble sand, colorful flowers made from fondant and borrowed from the bride’s bouquet, or faux seashells to line the tiers of the cake.

A themed cake topper ties the whole look together. Here is one from Weddingstar which features a couple lounging on the sand. The bride is even drawing a heart!

Weddingstar Beach Wedding Starfish Cake Topper

featured here: starfish cake topper

5. Favors

Finally, you’ll want to send your guests home with a small token of your appreciation in the form of a favor. A beach-themed favor is easy to find, and I especially love these choices from Weddingstar. I saw a handful of cute ideas on their site including starfish-shaped photo frames, wood trinket boxes for seashells, starfish shaped candles, or a bottle topper with coral on the end, just to name a few.

Any of these would be perfect favor ideas for your reception. To see the full collection of beach or nautical themed wedding favors by Weddingstar, click here.

You’ll find more suggestions including centerpieces, décor, guest book alternatives, and more in my book, The Inspired Wedding. Look for the Beach Bliss chapter for everything you need for a beach-themed wedding. And if you missed it last week, be sure to check out this post to enter the giveaway to win a copy of The Inspired Wedding (but hurry because the contest closes this Sunday!).

5 Tips for an Unforgettable Beach Ceremony

Happy Friday Lovelies! And boy is it a happy Friday indeed. Not only is Emma Arendoski of Emmaline Bride back with us to share her tips for an unforgettable beach ceremony, but today is the first day to enter for your chance to win a copy of her brand new book, The Inspired Wedding. It is jam-packed with great ideas and gorgeous photography for seven popular wedding themes including vintage, rustic, beach, bohemian, free spirit, urban chic and traditional. You can enter the giveaway at the end of this post but first, here’s a sneak peak…

The Inspired Wedding by Emma Arendoski of Emmaline Bride

The Inspired Wedding by Emma Arendoski of Emmaline Bride

The Inspired Wedding by Emma Arendoski of Emmaline Bride

Last week, I presented some beach-themed wedding stationery ideas for your big day, and I’m back now to share with you some inspiration for an unforgettable wedding ceremony at the beach. The beach is such a romantic setting; its gently rolling waves, serene blue sky, and plenty of sunshine are the perfect backdrop for a day you’ll want to remember for the rest of your lives. But, when you’re planning a beach wedding ceremony, there are always some tips and tricks to consider. Here are five of my favorites to keep in mind.

1. Thoughtful Extras for You and Your Guests

Protect your guests and yourself by providing a few simple comfort items that both of you will appreciate. If the day is hot and sunny, walk down the aisle with a lightweight paper parasol and give your guests the same sun protection. Consider a basket of flip-flops in assorted sizes for guests to wear as they cross the sand. If there won’t be a boardwalk on your aisle, and you really want to wear high heels, think about having a burlap aisle runner to provide some stability — or you could wear a fabulous pair of sandals. A basket of sunglasses, bug repellent, and even shawls are a nice touch if there’s a chill in the air.

2. Accessorize, Accessorize!

The attire, colors, stationery design, setting, and décor all contribute to the overall look and feel of your wedding, especially when it comes to the ceremony. There are many ways to tie in beach-centric details wherever you can. Let’s begin with the ring pillow and flower girl basket. The offerings shown can be used by the smallest members of your wedding party: the flower girl and the ring bearer, as they make their way down the aisle. Aisle décor can include a decorative arbor or arch to define the ceremony area. Bunches of beach grass can be artfully tied with seashells and hung from the chairs that line the aisle, or have a one-of-a-kind aisle runner designed, like this one by Weddingstar. I especially like the tagline: “Love as deep as the ocean.” It’s proof that even indoor beach-themed weddings can exude a tranquil seaside mood.

3. A Unity Ceremony — With Sand!

Another fun idea is to include a unity ceremony. A fairly recent addition to the wedding repetoire, the unity ceremony traditionally uses candles, but what could be more perfect for the beach wedding theme than using sand? This new custom is a ceremonial joining together of two as they become one when two vessels of sand are united in one vase. And, you can even choose sand in colors that match your wedding color scheme.

Sand ceremonies make a great keepsake that you can cherish for years to come, and there are many unique designs to choose from. Weddingstar recently released an acrylic version where you can add special mementos from your wedding such as your menu, program or special poem and a picture.

4. Hand Fans for Guests

Even if you provide a shaded area for guests to sit during the ceremony, a hand-held fan is still a terrific idea. Weddingstar has a variety to choose from, and you can personalize each and every one.

5. Weather Woes

You can’t stop a storm, but you can be prepared in case your bright, sunny day takes a left turn and leaves you with rain and high winds. When planning your outdoor wedding, always have a contingency plan that includes adequate cover such as a rental tent. Or take it a step further, and note on your wedding invitation an “in case of bad weather” option. Include the address and location. As the date draws near, keep an eye on the weather report — it just may end up being your “perfect day.”

For more beach wedding ideas, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Inspired Wedding. I’ll be back next week here at Weddingstar to discuss your beach reception, so don’t miss it. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below! The contest will close at 11:59pm on Sunday, February 1st so be sure to check back on Monday, February 2nd when we announce the lucky winner!

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Tips for Choosing Beach Wedding Stationery

The weekend is almost here and with that we have something very exciting to share with you! Over the next three weeks, we are happy to have Emma Arendoski of Emmaline Bride sharing some of her best ideas with us for designing your beach themed wedding.

Emma is an expert on wedding themes, DIY projects, party planning and so much more. She has just published her brand new book, The Inspired Wedding, which is filled with tons of gorgeous photography and inspiration. And the best part? Next week we will be giving away a copy to one lucky reader! So be sure to check back next Friday for details on how to enter, but in the meantime get ready to swoon over these gorgeous ideas.

Sand, sunshine, and gently rolling waves make it impossible to not love the beach! It’s no surprise that couples love a beach-themed wedding, as it provides relaxation and tranquility.

In my new book, The Inspired Wedding, I share my favorite beach themed ideas including color palette, decorative touches, attire, favors, and more. Today I’m focusing on wedding stationery with help from Weddingstar’s new collection entitled Aqueous — it’s the perfect combination of color palette and design for a beach themed wedding.

Beach Wedding Stationery

One of the details you’ll want to tackle first is the invitation suite. The suite typically includes envelopes, reply card, and perhaps a map or other piece of information. The suite may also contain a save-the-date card (if you plan to send one). A save-the-date card is used to give your guests advance planning notice with the date and location of your wedding. If you are having a destination wedding—and many beach weddings are—this card is a must-have so guests can plan travel arrangements accordingly.

Before you order your invitations, have a color palette in mind, since your invitation will need to coordinate with your entire wedding (including other paper goods, attire, and florals). When couples ask me what color to choose for a beach wedding, blue is the color that comes to mind first: it is reminiscent of the sky and the sea.

A popular trend with wedding invitations is a watercolor-inspired design, where the colors blend from lighter to dark (an ombre effect). Weddingstar has a beautiful collection in the ‘Aqueous’ style with coordinating pieces from invitations to décor. Instead of struggling to piece together your entire wedding décor based around a color from your invitations, Weddingstar provides the template and everything you need to tie your wedding stationery together, including your invitation, save the date, bunting banner, ceremony program, table number, and place card.

Beach Themed Watercolor Wedding Program

featured here: aqueous program

Weddingstar even has a special design for ‘Well Wishes’ cards for guests, which can replace a traditional guest book. Instead of guests writing their congratulations in a book, they write on a coordinating card provided at the reception. As an added thematic touch, have guests place their completed cards inside a woven basket, suitcase, or a personalized beach tote bag, like this one from Weddingstar.

Instead of spending so much time trying to mix and match your pieces, just pick a favorite template like the above and let Weddingstar take care of all the details to match! It’s never been easier to plan your beach wedding with thematic touches like these.

Next Friday I’ll be covering ideas for your beach ceremony, so stay tuned!

Wedding Planning Tips: Welcome Table How-To

welcome table

First impressions are everything. And weddings are no exception. Start your reception off on the right note by greeting your guests with a well planned Welcome Table for your cocktail hour. Not sure what to incorporate? Follow this simple ‘How-To’ for your foolproof tablescape layout.

Cheers to Good Times

Arguably a cardinal rule for any wedding, a signature drink is the perfect way to set the tone for your wedding reception. Impress your guests by making it subtly fit to your theme and color scheme. Get original with your choice of glassware and accessorize wherever possible.

retro wedding ideas

red wedding ideas

featured here: oval plastic tub personalized with a candy colorful design diecut label

Downtime Fun

If not planned properly a ‘cocktail hour’ can feel like a ‘cocktail never-ending night’! Help your guests pass the time by keeping them occupied with conversation starting eye candy. Consider featuring a creative guestbook alternative where guests can leave you their well wishes.

wedding guestbook alternative

Keep the Momentum Going

Never leave your guests unsure of what to do or where to go next. Guide your guests to their dinner seats with a well laid out display. If logistics permit, use a seating chart for its ease of reference.

retro theme seating chart

Send Off

You started things off with a great first impression, now end them off on a high note with a thoughtful gift for guests. Skip the expected boxed chocolate favor and give them something they’ll enjoy long after your day is done.

retro themed wedding ideas

Want More?

For additional creative reception ideas come back to the blog this coming Wednesday for a simple and super pretty paper straw DIY feature. 

xoxo.

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