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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