Beach Wedding Decor

I’ve blogged about wedding dresses, bridesmaids, colour schemes and themes…. but I haven’t really talked much about decor. This is definitely one area I under-budgeted for initially. The best tricks are to buy used items from thrift stores and from Craigslist; to DIY with paper, felt, streamers, fabric, etc; and to keep it simple. Easier said than done, because it’s fun to let your imagination run wild!

Since beach weddings are uber popular, and also because my own decor theme is ocean-inspired, this blog is dedicated to decorating ideas for seaside weddings. In most cases, if you click on the image it will link to the vendor. Please note: I am not in any way associated with these sellers.

Ocean-inspired wedding decor:Seashells and starfish. There are so many ways to use them! They are easy to scatter around tables, display in vases or bowls, and instantly create the seaside mood.

Michael’s craft store carries a starfish garland, or you can make your own.

These are the seashell-decorated frames that my partner and I made.

Beachy centerpieces: Fill fishbowl vases half with sand, add a few shells, stick in a pillar candle, place on a square mirror et voila!

I love these! The pink orchids are so tropical, and match the pink in the shells. LED tealights were used to make the centerpiece glow.

Beach wedding favours:These lighthouse tealight holders are cute, aren’t they? Could be used in decor and double as a favour.

These sailboat tealight holders are nice.

I like these as well- sand and seashells.

Or, starfish wine bottle stoppers make a practical (and pretty!) gift.

Don’t forget your bridal accessories:A lovely rhinestone clam shell necklace.

Sugar starfish hair pins for a natural look…

… or white pearl starfish for more glamour.

Aisle decor:Starfish attached with seashells to green sea grass.

Tropical flowers and petals are colourful and biodegradable.

Illuminaires are a great choice for a beach wedding at night since they are visually stunning, practical (they provide light and direction), and easy to DIY too!

It’s no wonder why beach and destination weddings are hugely popular. Even if you aren’t getting married on an actual beach (like me- I’ll be on a boat), it can be fun to incorporate starfish and seashells into your decor theme; although I must say I think it makes the most sense if you are close to water at least. Of course, brides will be brides, so who’s to stop a prairie wedding from having a beach theme? Lol!

Are you have a beach wedding, or an ocean-inspired theme?


Co-ordinated mismatched saves the day

Choosing our wedding colours was not a simple decision that we made early on and never changed our minds. Before I got engaged I didn’t even know you had to choose wedding colours! And I had never heard about weddings having themes. Maybe I’ve only been to traditional weddings. Or I didn’t notice.

We have changed our colours quite a few times. Our first choice, Mango Orange and Aqua Blue, was the result of us trying to play up the “beach” theme. Our venue is a big ferry boat docked on the ocean, but we are not on a beach. A girl can dream, no?

After I was informed by one of my bridesmaids that she refuses to wear blue, we switched to Persimmon and Plum. That’s wedding-speak for orange and purple. It was less “beachy” and more “tropical” and I thought I could live with that. I was having a hard time letting go of the aqua blue however, because we had already started down the path of the seashell theme in some of our decor DIY, and it seemed an obvious match.

Now, I’m happy to say that we have made our final decision on our colours AND our theme, thanks to

‘Enchanted Summer Evening’ in Blue, Green, Purple and Pink.

We chose to get married on August 1st since it’s the midsummer full moon; an auspicious and magical night to celebrate our love. These colours fit perfectly with our desire to have an earthy, whimsical aesthetic with our decor, since we are creating a Celtic-inspired ceremony with our Reverend. Also, the seashell decor won’t be entirely out of place since we are, as I mentioned, right on the ocean.

One of the most stressful parts of planning this wedding has been deciding the wedding party attire! When you are too definitive (THIS exact dress, in THIS exact colour) you come off as controlling, bossy, and (gasp!) a bridezilla. When you’re too sensitive to everyone’s feelings and try to please everybody, you usually end up not pleasing yourself.

At last we have discovered our saving grace. Co-ordinated mismatched! I think it’s a new trend, and for good reason.

We’ve decided to take ONE of our colours, purple, and have them in varying shades. Once my girls decide on their dresses, then my fiancée will match the shades for the ties on her butch-maids. So she gets her colour-coordination (with variety) and my bridesmaids get more freedom in choosing the dresses. Happy Happy. This is one wedding trend that I hope is here to stay.

Here’s some of our inspiration pics.

If you want to see more examples of coordinated mismatched wedding parties, and even some completely mismatched, I started a dedicated Pinterest board on the subject. Check it out.

One DIY project done!

I am very proud to say that my fiancée and I have finished our first DIY project- our shell-decorated welcome frames!

I documented the beginning of our craftiness in my previous post, Our First DIY wedding Project.

First we had to paint them. We realized too late that we should have sanded them down a bit, since the wood was rough in some places, and we needed to do two coats. So that took a few evenings. Then we glued on the shells and starfish. This again took a few evenings to complete. Next we sprayed them with gold glitter glue- just enough to make ’em sparkle a bit. They had to dry overnight, and the next day we sprayed them with a matte varnish. Because we had to do both sides and have them dry for a few hours in between, this part took the entire day as well.

Needless to say, they took a lot longer than I had anticipated (isn’t that always the way?), but the fact that we will be re-using them as gifts to family and friends post-wedding made it worthwhile. I will definitely be considering this with every other wedding craft idea I have- how long will this take? how much will this cost? what will I do with it afterwards??

The next task once the frames were done was to complete the inside, making the matting and affixing the letters to it. Thankfully, this process only took one hour, and we did it together one evening as we watched “Glee”.

Finally, our welcome frames were done! We will display them on a table in the boat entrance, on a table covered with fish netting and some shells. I tried to replicate the look in this photo:

What do you think? 🙂

Beach wedding colours

So I’ve been seeing that my blog gets a lot of hits from people looking for beach wedding colour schemes, so I thought I’d elaborate on the subject. Not that I am an expert, by any means!

When you are getting married by the sea, blue seems an obvious choice. Alas, there are many variations on the hue of blue, so it can be hard to colour-coordinate. Marine blue? Teal or turquoise? Pool blue, aka Tiffany blue?

Early on, I came across a fabulous blog dedicated to wedding colours called The Perfect Palette. There, I found an inspiration board that, well, inspired me! I showed it to my fiancée, who loved the colours too! I thought the decision was made and I’d never had to re-consider the matter again. However, I was wrong. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

The colour combo that initially excited me so much was aqua blue, orange and ivory. It was, in my mind, a “perfect palette” for a beach wedding, giving a bright, fun, summery feel- like we could pretend we were somewhere tropical. She suitably named this palette, ‘Island Wedding’.

I loved these colours so much, I thought my bridesmaids would too! I thought they would feel the same inner joy that I did, looking upon that Caribbean blue paired with mango orange. My bubble burst when my one BM curtly told me that she doesn’t wear blue. !?! She loved the orange dresses, however I was envisioning the orange only in the flowers and some decor. You know, as an accent colour. (sigh)

I didn’t know what to do, so I eventually evolved my colour scheme. I found another close relative, a cute alliterative couple in teal and tangerine.

Do you see the problem? Teal, turquoise, aqua blue… are all pretty much the same colour. So unless I went all the way to jade, I was still left with a bridesmaid who did not want to wear my chosen colour. What to do? It was, somewhat literally, back to the drawing board.

My fiancée loves purple. Plain and simple. Anything violet, plum, berry, merlot, she loves it. So it made sense that purple made its way into our discussion. Orange was being persistent, so one day we had a long talk and decided to scrap the aqua blue/teal dilemma altogether and go with purple and orange- like a Florida sunset. And we were still able to have fun with alliteration, as I now accepted that our wedding colours were persimmon and plum. (somehow, it makes it more wedding appropriate with cutesy colour names, doncha think? :))

Soon after, however, I got worried that it was more of an autumn wedding colour scheme, and didn’t really go with my original beachy theme. So, I tried to bargain teal’s way back in, maybe in the organza table overlays, perhaps? Or in other decor elements? The wedding party can be in persimmon (dark orange) and plum (purple) but turquoise could highlight the venue?

At this point I am considering purple, orange, teal, gold and ivory. How many colours are too many? What if my BMs don’t wear the same colour? What colour should we choose for the butch-maid vests, and what colour pants?? So many questions, and so many little details to stress over- if you let yourself. Picking a wedding colour scheme can easily become overwhelming.

Eventually, both my fiancee and I had to take a step back and realize that we were going to a lot of trouble because ONE person didn’t want to wear a teal dress. Why was it such a big deal to us anyway? Isn’t it more important that our friends are happy to support us in this role, considering the money and time they will generously spend to be a part of our wedding? As I’ve written about before, I want to keep my friendships intact post-wedding.

I realized that I truly wanted my ‘maids to love the dress enough to wear it again. So recently I asked them to make a choice out of three colours: persimmon, plum, or teal. One chose persimmon (no surprise there!) and the other chose plum. Decision made. My partner’s butch-maids will wear plum- pattern vests with orange flower bouts, and tan pants. And I still may get those aqua blue organza overlays…

There’s no moral to this story, it’s just my story. My adventure in wedding colours! But since you’ve read this far, I’ll reward you with a few more lovely beach wedding colour schemes; inspiration boards again courtesy of The Perfect Palette.

For those who want to keep it simple, and inspired by the Ocean and Sand: (or Turquoise and Taupe 😉

If you wanna add some warm tones to the palette, try Coral, Aqua and Berry:

For those who want to go all-out with the Nautical theme, Navy and White:

For brides who like BOLD colours, Teal and Fuschia:

If you wanna see more pretty colours, I’ve started a Pinterest board of my favourite combinations.

Have you picked your wedding colour scheme yet? Was it easy, and you never thought about it again? Or did you change your minds a few times?

Our first DIY wedding project

As any modern, crafty, budget bride knows, DIY is the way to go for many elements of your wedding. It can save you money, brings a personal touch that no store-bought or rented items can, and be a fun activity to do with your fiance/bridesmaids/Mother/sewing club/etc.

I should start by saying I am not particularly crafty. My talents have always leaned to the performing side of the arts spectrum. Whereas my Mother and brother are fantastic visual artists, I cannot draw at all. Don’t get me wrong, I have taken on the occasional art or costume project in my day, for Burning Man or Hallowe’en, and I used to make those embroidery thread friendship bracelets, but overall crafts are not my forte.

Necessity is the Mother of all invention however, and we knew early on that to stay on or under our modest budget, we would have to go the DIY route. So far, we plan on doing the following ourselves:
– invitations
– wedding programs
– bridal bouquet
– flower crowns for flower girls
– aisle, altar, and reception decor (if we’re not making it, we’re setting it all up)
– card box
– guest book pages (scrapbook style)
– welcome bags (in hotel rooms for our out-of-town guests)
– cupcake stand (decorating it- and maybe baking our own cupcakes too)

Other items that will be sewn or handmade by our Mothers and friends include:
– vests for the Butch-maids
– my flowy, detached sleeves
– my garters
– my wedding jewelry
– the flower girl baskets
– the frosting on the cupcakes

Let me tell ya, it’s a lifesaver having the support of our nearest and dearest to help us bring it all together. So much work goes into organizing a few hours! 10 months of my life, planning for 5 hours of a single summer evening. I’ve planned overseas trips that lasted more than a month in less time. Kinda crazy.

Last week we started our first DIY project: decorating the frames that will used as a welcome sign in our entrance. Afterwards, we will put photos from the wedding inside and gift them. That’s my requirement for everything we buy/make/use- it must have a life and serve a purpose post-wedding.

First we had to paint them. We covered our small kitchen table with newsprint and got to work. Turns out they needed two coats, so it took us a few evenings to finish them all.

Soon we had painted all of them, in our three main colours: Mulberry Purple, Persimmon Orange, and Turquoise Blue.

Then came the fun part- decorating them with shells and starfish! We got out the glue guns and tried not to burn our fingers. I’m still searching for some small white scallop shells and glitter sand, but here’s what we have so far.

I bought a UV-resistant, clear matte spray-on varnish to finish them when we are done. The more things I can do in advance the better, I am definitely not a last-minute kind of gal. Besides, I am hoping to get work when I am finished school in April, and so May – July could be really busy for me. Get organized early on, and don’t stress out- that’s my motto in all of this (easier said than done sometimes!).

What parts of your wedding are/did you DIY? Tell me what was your favourite project as well as your nightmare stories!

Picking our wedding colour scheme

Yet another thing I didn’t know about planning a wedding is that picking a colour scheme is a crucial part of the process. Apparently, if you want a unified, semi-formal or formal look to your special day, everything should match within your “colour palette”.

I’m talking about your bridal party’s dresses, the bouquets and larger floral arrangements, the decor, the invitations, even your signature drink.

Sounded kind of intense to me. But I’ve been letting my imagination run wild for the past few weeks, and after discussing a number of options, my partner and I have settled on our colours. It’s beach and Island-inspired, so I think it will perfectly suit our oceanside wedding.

In my search I found this great blog site, dedicated to helping couples choose their wedding colours!
The Perfect Palette. Her “Island Vibe” palette was just what I needed to make the final decision. As well, has TONS of photos to inspire you.

270 days to go!!

In the beginning

Our proposal story:

We always love it when we can sleep in on the weekend, make a nice breakfast and relax. This particular Saturday in June happened just like that, with my girlfriend making delicious pancakes, and us having the time to enjoy the sunny morning.

Around 10:30 or 11am, she asked if she could play me a song on the guitar that she’d been working on. I knew she had been taking lessons again, and I was very proud of her for learning the instrument. She was clearly very nervous, but I thought it was because she had never really sung a song for me!

I listened attentively as she timidly started to strum and sing. After the first verse, I politely asked her to sing louder, since I wanted to hear the words. I didn’t recognize the song, but it was clearly all about love. (she’s a die-hard romantic, so I wasn’t surprised)

Half-way through the song it started to dawn on me that this song was speaking about strong commitments, and at the end when she sang out my full name and asked “will you marry me?” I was already crying. I had hoped she would propose at some point (we had been hinting at it for a few months) but she had completely taken me by surprise.

Through my laughter and tears I of course said yes! Being a brat, I made her get on one knee and ask me again. I wanted to experience that little tradition! She had already given me a custom-designed silver “promise” ring last summer, so on this day she gave me a lovely silver necklace. The whole proposal was perfect- so beautiful and personal and a day we will never forget!

We are getting married this August on a big ferry-boat that’s been renovated into a banquet space, that is permanently docked in the waters of the Burrard Inlet, North Vancouver, BC. It will be an enchanted summer evening, with lots of whimsical and DIY touches. Our big, beautiful, Pagan, lesbian wedding!