How to Design a Chic Beach Inspired Wedding

Pick which “style” beach wedding most speaks to you.

You may not have even considered this before, but there are  different styles of “beach”.  It might mean something different to you depending on where you live. Living on the eastern shores of New Jersey, we have 130 miles of coastline spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May.  Each with their own unique landscapes, quaint towns and scenic views.  However for some people, your beach style may mean bright sunset colors and palm trees.  Before diving into how to design a chic beach inspired wedding, choose which style fits your vision. Stay true to the kind of elements you would find on that beach and it will come together seamlessly.

Set the tone with your invitation.

One of the best ways you can share your vision and communicate your beach wedding to your guests is through the invitation.  Whether you choose to be literal in your design by incorporating shells or landscapes or more abstract by incorporating watercolor elements of the sky and sea, your guests will be excited to see the design come together. It is also true that you invitation dictates to your guests the level of formality of the event, so keep that in mind as you incorporate your beach theme.

Be inspired by the colors of the sea and sky.

For any wedding design, it is wise to be inspired by your surroundings. Beach weddings should be inspired by the myriad of colors found in the sea, sand and sky. Shades of blue and grey read coastal weddings effortlessly and are so chic.   They can be traditional, modern, fun and classic all at the same time.

Use shells and other beach-inspired decor unexpectedly.

In order to create a chic beach wedding, try to incorporate the materials from the beach in unexpected ways. Seashells with calligraphy for table numbers, mussel shell salt cellars, oyster shell candles, and sea-glass inspired details.  Beach weddings take on a more sophisticated approach when the details are understated and unique.

Incorporate natural elements.

Mixing different natural elements will make sure your beach wedding design is grounded and feels relaxed.  Using rocks, sand, textured linens and shells details is a great way to bring a beach vibe into your wedding regardless of your surroundings.

Encourage a laid-back atmosphere. 

When you think of the beach, you immediately conjure relaxation and putting your feet up.  Within your wedding design, incorporate lounge areas that invite your guests to sit and relax awhile.  Whether they are on the water or just sea “inspired”, remember those natural elements and your color palette for a cohesive coastal look.

Serve summery treats.

Summer is full of the most delicious fruits, produce, sweet treats and of course cocktails. Serve your favorite summer treats during your wedding to remind your guests of a day at the beach.  Whether it is a signature cocktail, succulent watermelon skewers or a good old fashioned ice cream truck.  Make the food and drink part of the decor!

Keep your flowers unfussy.

Summer is all about the easy breezy lifestyle. That “just picked” or “just threw this on” way of life. Keep your flowers in the same vein.  Using just one type of flower, large bundles of fluffy hydrangea, sea grasses or a wild flower bouquet all remind us of being at the beach. Simple, classic and easy is the way to go when it comes to your seaside flowers.

Dress appropriately.

Just as the invitation and your flowers evoke the laid-back coastal vibe, remember that your attire should also be in tune with your beach atmosphere you want to create. Easy wedge shoes and lightweight dresses in the color palette work really well on the waterfront.

Soak it all in. 

After all, isn’t that what life at the beach is all about? Enjoy your wedding day and soak it all in. It goes way too fast.

Photography credit: Love & Light Photographs

Stationery & Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon

Flowers: Wallflowers Florist

Planning & Design: Gilded Lily Events

Balancing Motherhood and Entrepreneurship

I am pretty sure that the elusive work-life balance does not actually exist. Yet we are all still constantly striving to reach that goal. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, once said, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”  We all just need to make it work. As small business owners and moms, we need to make it work even more since the lines between work and life blur much more frequently. I hope by sharing some tips for balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship, you can get just a bit closer to that “balance” we hope to find.

It has been said that if you are a small business owner, you can only choose 3 at any given time. Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, Friends. As a mom, sleep and family are non-negotiable so that leaves me with one. Inevitably, it is work. However, if I completely neglect the other aspects of my life the guilt sets in. I am going to suggest some tips on how to hold it together the best way I have learned how.

Find Your Tribe

On the day my doctor confirmed I was pregnant and suggested my due date as April 17th my second feeling after pure elation was anxiousness. As a wedding planner, I had booked a wedding a year before and it was scheduled for April 22nd. How would I make this work? How would I break the news to the bride? Well, I found out it was much easier than I had thought because I had chosen the people I work with wisely. I have been lucky enough to work with clients that also value family. They also trust me to make sure everything runs smoothly even without my physical presence. That is how I knew that I found my tribe.

I have also surrounded myself with people on my team that care just as much about my small business as I do. I am lucky to have found these people and trust them to delegate those tasks that take me away from family, sleep, fitness or friends. That is invaluable to me and worth the effort I had spent to cultivate.

Prioritize yourself.

My days are jam-packed with entertaining a 13 month old, squeezing in work during naps and bedtime routines, preparing tiny meals and cleaning tiny dishes. The days go by in a blur. I recently decided to build in one night a week that was just for me. On Tuesday nights, after I have put my son to sleep I do something just for me. Before baby, I enjoyed spending time by myself. I like the quiet and time to reflect. I crave that time even more now as a self-proclaimed introvert. I look forward to those nights and it gets me through and re-energizes me to take on the next busy day.

Create a schedule.

As women, we are master multitaskers. However, I have felt my anxiety rise when I try to do too much at the same time. Just because I can doesn’t mean I should. I have learned that I am a much better businesswoman and mom when I create space for both. This will look differently for each individual of course. Some may be better at it than others. So, I suggest creating a schedule for you that works and stick to it. We crave schedules and it helps us get through the day with much more ease. Believe it or not, the best investment I made as a small business owner was a sleep-training consultant. I was able to put my son on a sleep schedule that allowed me to create a schedule with confidence. If you are struggling to get through the day, maybe see if there are places where you can create a bit more structure. I have a feeling it might just help.

It is ok to say no.

I am a people pleaser. It is one of my best and worst attributes. Yet in these days I am learning to say no and not feel guilty about it. It is hard to say no to every new inquiry or creative collaborations that comes your way because you are saying no to more money or a cool opportunity but at what cost? Determine as a family what you feel comfortable taking on as you navigate and “balance” these early years as a mom and an entrepreneur.

This is still an on-going learning process for me. I hope just reading some tips might help you with some perspective on being a mom and a creative entrepreneur. Every family situation is different and we are constantly comparing our situation. I advocate that if you can get to a place where you feel secure in how you are making it work then you, my friend, have found the secret to the balance.

Photo Credit: Christina Lilly Photography

Venue: Content & Co.

Calligraphy: Mary Kate Moon

Rentals: Dovetail Vintage Rentals & Party Rental Ltd.