Beach Wedding Details That Are Anything But Cheesy

The trick to adding nautical décor to your big day? Not going overboard

Updated 07/15/15

Alison Conklin Photography

Whether you're tying the knot just steps from the ocean or simply have a deep love of all things nautical, there are a lot of beach-inspired details that you can add to your wedding that will feel thematic, but won't leave your day feeling themed — which is important when implementing these ideas work.

The idea of a beach wedding, or at least a bash bursting with your favorite nautical details, is appealing to plenty of couples for a multitude of reasons. For one, summer wedding dates practically beg for seasonal details, and ocean inspirations tend to be popular not just in coastal regions but across the country. Plus, hues like icy blue and warm sea foam green, as well as preppy stripes and anchors, are perennially beloved by June, July, and August brides.

Because these nautical touches can be so fun, it's easy to get carried away, but limit yourself to just a few cohesive accents to ensure your wedding-style remains elevated. Pretty stationery with striped accents, driftwood signs with elegant calligraphy, and a "shoe valet" where guests can trade heels for flip-flops are the perfect subtle nods to the ocean for a sandy ceremony and reception.

Some ideas we love can be incorporated into your not-so-coastal wedding, too. While seashell escort cards and coral cake toppers can be the perfect finishing touch for a seaside venue, an ocean vista is certainly not required to make them part of your day. And, when used sparingly, anchor motifs or navy-and-white stripes can be an elegant addition to your overall décor.

Click through to see a few of our favorite ways to bring the beach to your big day.

Juliet Grace Design penned names onto these gold painted oyster shells for a chic and beachy escort card.

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Shells On Your Cake

Amanda Hedgepeth

Delicate shells are the perfect beach-inspired accent for your wedding cake, as seen on this option from Buttercream Dreams.

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A Nautical Welcome

Mastin Studio

Even if you're not tying the knot with your feet in the sand, you can add nautical touches to your wedding. One idea we love? Delicate anchor details, like the hand-drawn option seen here.

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Sailboat Details On Your Invites

Rebecca Amber Photography

Navy blue nautical details, like ropes, compasses, and sailboats are the perfect addition to these invitations.

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An Oceanside Sweetheart Table

Photo by Renee Hollingshead

Whether or not your sweetheart table is set in the sand, you can add an oceanside touch to your seats with hand-painted driftwood signs.

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A Sea-Inspired Bouquet

KT Merry Photography

Add a sea-inspired ribbon to your bouquet for an instant beachy upgrade. This golden brown option feels reminiscent of driftwood!

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Anchor Your Wedding Games

Abby Jiu Photography

You can have nautical touches at your wedding even if there's no beach in sight! Lauryn Prattes Events designed this fun blue-and-white corn hole lawn game with an anchor motif.

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Coastal Escort Cards

Lisa Frechette Photography

These blue-and-white escort cards with a knot motif, created by Kaity Ryan are the perfect addition to a coastal reception.

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Beach-Friendly Welcome Bags

Judy Pak Photography

Print a coastal map or other nautical detail onto a tote for the perfect beach-friendly welcome bag!

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A Shoe Valet Lets Guests Be Barefoot

Melina Wallisch

Provide a spot for guests to drop their shoes at your oceanfront ceremony. A shoe valet, like this one with a custom sign, tells guests exactly where to leave their footwear.

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An Ocean-Inspired Cake

Michelle March

Top your blue-and-white hued wedding cake with finds straight from the ocean, like this pearlescent piece of coral on Cloud 9 Bakery's confection.

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Sea-Inspired Signage

Natalie Franke

Nautical details, like the anchor on this welcome sign from Lauren Hooper Calligraphy, add just the right amount of seaside details to your big day.

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Seaside Wedding Favors

Liz and Ryan Photography

Striped bottles of champagne with nautical bowties make for the perfect favor at your seaside wedding.

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Use Driftwood For Your Bride and Groom Signs

KT Merry Photography

Driftwood bride and groom signs are the perfect way to decorate your reception chair backs at your sandy party!

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Add Seashells To Your Escort Card Display

Erich McVey Photography

Miniature seashells add a summery touch to any reception and make easy work of keeping escort cards in place.

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Give Your Ring Bearer A Nautical Pillow

Charlotte Jenks Lewis Photography

Your ring bearer can carry your wedding bands down the aisle on an adorable nautical pillow.

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Nautical Bottle Openers? Yes, Please

Lara Kimmerer

Nautical bottle openers are a fun (and useful!) favor for a beach wedding.

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Go Simple With A Blue-And-White Ribbon

Pia Clodi

Add a blue-and-white striped ribbon to an otherwise white cake for a look fit for seaside nuptials, like The Cake Shop did here.

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DIY Seashell Place Cards

Chantal Andrea

Write guests seating assignments inside mismatched seashells for a DIY project.

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Use Knots For Your Table Numbers

Liz and Ryan Photography

Create large knots from nautical rope to hold table numbers at your reception.

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