Beach Wedding Style: Top Personalization Tips

On your wedding day, play up your passions and personality.

You met at the beach, he proposed on the beach, and now you want to have a beach wedding. You may think your choice of location says a lot about you as a couple -- and it does -- but the personalization does not need to stop there. Here's how to make your beach wedding the event of the season, and uniquely you.

1. Save-the-dates
Instead of sending a ho-hum save-the-date, go beyond the typical magnet. Consider save-the-date postcards created from photographs of the two of you at your favorite beachy spots (think the crab shack on the bay, or your favorite ice cream parlor). Online photo services like Shutterfly.com can help you turn ordinary pictures into postcards. Not only will the cards clue guests in to your wedding location, they will give guests a sense of how important the beach is to you both.

2. Invitations
If you've selected a color scheme for your wedding day, be sure to incorporate that into your invitations. In addition to the standard card that presents the pertinent information sketch out an illustrated map of your beach town, highlighting your favorite spots and local hangouts. Did you choose this location because it's where your fiance proposed? Be sure to point that out on the map. Also include a few restaurants (a great, kid-friendly seafood joint); surf shops; the Ferris wheel; and all of your can't-miss sites.

3. Ceremony Extras
You'll no doubt want to make your guests comfortable during your ceremony, particularly if it's taking place on the sand. Having bottles of water, comfortable flip-flops, and beach towels and blankets on hand is a great way to show you care. What's more, all of these items can be personalized (and double as favors)! Create water bottle labels with you names and wedding date, order flip-flops in a variety of sizes emblazoned with the date, and have those blankets embroidered with your monogram.

Have bottles of water, comfortable flip-flops, and beach towels and blankets on hand for your guests.

4. Vows
Nothing is more personal than writing your own vows. You can incorporate sentiments about the sea to reflect your surroundings, or include readings that discuss love, nature, or the ocean. A passage from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet advises that love should be like a moving sea between the shores of your souls. If you're having trouble finding a reading that inspires you, make up your own!

5. Reception Decor
Rather than relying on the ubiquitous seashell motif, think outside the sandbox. Ask each other what your favorite thing is about the beach, and try to incorporate that idea into the day. Do you love the warmth from the sun? Use lighting -- chandeliers, twinkle lights, and hurricane lamps -- to set the mood and cast a warm glow on your reception. If it's the ocean itself that inspires you, draw from its colors and use sea glass as your decorative foundation. The glass balls from fisherman's nets that wash ashore in certain locations can also be a unique design element; you can find them in all different sizes and colors and string them around your site.

6. The Cake
Often the centerpiece of the reception, your cake is the easiest way to show off your personal, creative side and play up your passions. We know one couple who were avid scuba divers and asked their baker to make the surface of the cake look like the ocean floor (complete with sea creatures!) and, in lieu of the traditional bride and groom cake topper, they topped it off with a male and female diver. Don't be afraid to have fun with this dessert -- just make sure it looks good enough to eat!

-- Meredith Gray

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