Getting married by the ocean? You’ll want to draw inspiration for your decor details from your seaside surroundings, of course. And one of the most popular beachy motifs: seashells. But the trick to adding shells to your big day is to not go overboard. There are so many cute and creative shell-themed ideas and it’s very easy to get carried away, but limit yourself to just a few select seashell accents to ensure your overall wedding style remains elegant and chic.
Keep reading for some of our favorite seashell decor details to complement your waterside setting without feeling overly themed.
Shell Escort Cards
Direct guests to their assigned dinner table with a display of beautiful hand-lettered scallop shells (so perfect for this couple’s alfresco clam-bake reception!). Calligraphy by Chelsea Petaja.
Shell and Florals Centerpiece
A giant clamshell becomes a clever vessel for this all-white floral arrangement of tulips, roses, hydrangeas, and ferns—so perfect if you’re going for an elegant, coastal-chic aesthetic. This arrangement was placed on an entry table at the church for the afternoon ceremony, but smaller versions would be perfect for reception tables. Floral arrangement by Branches Designs in South Carolina.
DIY Shell Garland
DIY Shell Garland
If you’re up for a DIY project: Drill holes into shells to create a garland, which you could use to decorate the dinner tables.
Seashell Escort Card Display
Another elegant shell-inspired idea: Instead of using numbers to assign guests their tables, use names of seashells. Each table was named after a different type of shell and was printed, along with the guest’s name, on a card and affixed to a linen-covered board.
Oyster Shell Wedding Cake
If you’re marrying by the sea, draw inspiration for your dessert design from the ocean. This creation by Jonathan Caleb features a delicate trail of sugar pearls, a handful of sugar hydrangea blossoms, and a trio of the most incredible sugar oyster shells, which we for sure thought were the real thing!
Gauzy Table Runner with Shells
For an easy, affordable way to pull off an elegant beach-inspired look, line the center of the table with a flowy table runner to bring to mimic the ocean waves. Skip the floral centerpieces and opt for one large airplant (this variety is called tillandsia xerographica), a couple of taper candles, and a smattering of pretty shells to tie the look together.