Ocean-Themed Weddings

Amy Hoover
Contributor: Jasmine Myers
Bride throwing the bouquet at wedding

Ocean-themed weddings draw on the beauty and magnificence of the water to create a unique and memorable day. This type of wedding theme also offers flexibility with colors and decorations, making it simpler and cheaper to get ready for your exciting event.

Sea Life Wedding Colors

Not everyone lives near an ocean or wants the added expense of a destination wedding. In this case, ocean-themed weddings benefit from having many colors and styles to choose from and can bring a bit of the sea to you wherever you are. Two excellent color combinations include seafoam green with pink and bright blue with tan. Consider these additional options for your wedding color palette:

  • Deep green of kelp and seaweed
  • Bright oranges, yellows, and reds of fish and coral reefs
  • Vivid blues, aquamarines, and turquoise of the water

Use Colors in Stationary

The colors you select can be used in your save-the-dates, invitations, programs, and even your thank you notes. Coordinate with some graphics, like seahorses, shells, and rolling waves, to complete the theme.

Watercolor Wedding Invitation with Text

Color for Attire and Flowers

When it comes to selecting ocean and beach bridesmaid dresses, you'll want something that fits your aesthetic. For a calm, laid back ceremony, pick out shades of blues and greens. Aqua, turquoise, and teal, or even a combination, look great. Then select flowers that pop against the cool ocean blues of the gowns. Alternatively, pick out bright pink, coral, or teal gowns, and pair them with white and cream bouquets or even blue wedding flowers. Match the men's vests to the ladies' gowns.

Closeup of bridesmaids holding flowers

Oceanside Wedding Ceremony Ideas

The ceremony itself can be as simple and rustic or as elegant and elaborate as you desire. Most ocean-themed wedding ceremonies are located on a beach, park, patio, lawn, or dock overlooking the ocean.

Altar and Seating

Cover chairs for a classy beach wedding look near the ocean and add blue or turquoise fabric to suggest a pop of color. A bridal arch can be decorated with white fabric and bright pink, blue, orange, and purple tropical flowers.

Chairs And Gazebo On Beach

Sand Ceremony

A unique way to work an ocean theme into your ceremony is to do a symbolic sand ceremony in which both the bride and groom pour vases of sand into one large vase. Use varying colors to create a beautiful sand keepsake for your future home.

Sand ceremony

Accessories and Fun Ideas

Additionally, use ocean and beach themed accessories for your wedding, even if it isn't at the actual ocean. For example, skip the ring bearer pillow and have the child walk down the aisle carrying a ring bearer pail instead. The flower girl and ring bearer could also carry conches. Add a bit of levity by donning sunglasses through the ceremony. In fact, you could even make your entrance or exit as husband and wife on a surf or paddle board. Take advantage of the location!

Couple on paddle board

Ocean-Themed Reception Decorations

Decorating the reception is a huge part of the wedding. Couples who are planning an ocean-themed wedding but aren't seaside will find their theme come to life at the reception. At receptions on the beach, you'll want to set up the reception so guests have a view of the ocean.

Wedding reception on the beach

Table Decorations

Many beach wedding decorations are suitable for use at an ocean-themed wedding. The table itself should be set with your colors in mind, whether you went with cool blues or bright corals. Add reception centerpieces that include sand anchoring starfish, candles, shells, and even driftwood. Tying a fabric bow around your chairs complete the look.

Wedding decorations tropical style

Place Cards and Favors

Have your place cards do double-duty as favors. Select an iconic image, like star fish or sea horse, and purchase plain wooden ornaments. Add the table assignment to one side and your monogram and the date to the other side.

Wedding celebration in the Caribbean

Reception Menu for a Seaside Event

Décor isn't the only area in which you can incorporate your ocean theme. Your reception meal can also be influenced by your theme. Pick out a menu for your beach wedding by the ocean that reflects the theme. Serve tilapia as one of the entree options and make sure you keep salads fresh, incorporating citrus fruits into them for a pop of flavor and color. Avoid heavy sauces and sides.

Marine Life Wedding Cake

The cake you select might be a seashell cake or it may be an ombre blue design on a simple three tier cake. Classic white cakes with coral and seaweed is another design option. Marine life, such as sea horses or star fish, can also be added to your design. Work with your baker to come up with a design that's elegant enough for a wedding but still suitable for your ocean theme.

cake design marine sea corals and fish style

Inspired by the Ocean

There are many ways to work an ocean theme into your wedding whether you use the colors for your dresses, have a ceremony that reflects the ocean theme, decorate with inspirations from sand and sea, or feature a sea-themed meal.

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Ocean-Themed Weddings