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

Expert Wedding Planner Tips- Part II

We have all seen the images from wedding after wedding under the stars with nothing overhead aside from strings of lights. Just so dreamy and it is on my bucket list to pull off one day.  However, in New Jersey, we are not blessed with sunny blue skies nearly ever day. Cue the tent.  The beautiful compromise to an outdoor backyard wedding.  Many people are apprehensive about hosting a tented wedding due to the unpredictability of the weather or overwhelmed at the prospect at starting from ground zero.  Hopefully, through my experience, I can share some expert wedding planner tips to help you navigated the tented backyard wedding.

Schedule a walk-through

If you are thinking about having a backyard tented wedding but don’t know where to start, simply give your favorite local tent company a call to come survey the space.  They will be able to tell you what size tent will fit comfortably, if the ground is level enough, what size dance floor works, and talk to you about lighting, power, climate control, staging and more.

Lights, Camera, Power

Speaking of lighting and power, make sure you have enough of both. Of course, your tent will be lit well, but consider the path that your guests will be taking to the restroom or to their cars at the end of the night. Pathways lights and uplighting will be areas that you should budget for to keep your guests safe.  When it comes to power, do your research. Find out from your caterer and band or DJ how much power they will each need. You may even need to rent fans, air conditioning or heaters to regulate the climate the best you can.  My suggestion is always to splurge for the generator since nothing kills the party quite like when the music stops.

Know the costs

Tented weddings can be expensive so know the costs and what is a comfortable budget before committing. A wedding planner can help you with estimated costs for each area including rentals which, not surprisingly, will add up quickly.  I also recommend leaving some wiggle room in your budget for your Plan B. If the weather is looking iffy, you can add a ceremony or cocktail tent or walkways where needed to make sure that guests stay warm and dry. Although there are many perks of having a raw space that will conform to any style wedding you wish to have, you are creating a space from nothing and everything will need to be brought in to create an inviting and whimsical venue and that is not cheap, yet completely worth it.

Hire good help

My ultimate recommendation is to hire a wedding planner with tented wedding experience. They will be paramount in anticipating what you need to create the ultimate experience for you and your guests. At the very least, a day of coordinator will save you from running around the morning of your wedding just before jumping in the chair for hair and makeup like I did on my wedding day. A caterer with experience with tented wedding or unconventional venues is also a great idea. They will be working in small quarters and braving the elements, so a bit of practical knowledge is invaluable in making sure the event goes off without a hitch.

 

Are you thinking of hosting a backyard wedding and need help? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. I would love to help you have your dream wedding.

Vendor Credits

Photography: Christina Lilly Photography

Tent: Sperry Tents NJ

Caterer: et al Fine Foods

Florist: Devon & Pinkett

Architectural sketch: Todd Schmeling Portraits

VW Photobooth: VW Booth Bus