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.

The Right to Marry WHO and HOW we want to

This blog was featured on Offbeat Bride!

We didn’t start out wanting a big wedding. My partner proposed to me on a gorgeous summer morning in June. That afternoon we went for a hike, walking together on a blissful cloud of love, and naturally began discussing how we envisioned our wedding.

She revealed that she had always wanted a beach wedding. I wanted to incorporate elements of my pagan spirituality in the ceremony. We both agreed it had to be in the summer. Since we don’t have a lot of money, we thought a simple party in one of Vancouver’s lovely beach parks would be perfect. We’d invite 30 or so people, immediate family and our closest friends, and have a potluck picnic. Simple, inexpensive, no frills.

Then a funny thing happened. We announced our engagement by emailing everyone a photo slideshow I had created, and a lot of people got really excited. And we got more excited along with them. When we first sat and wrote down all the names of the people we wanted to be there, we had over 100! If we stayed with our original “intimate wedding” plan, that meant NOT inviting a lot of people that we loved, and who loved us.

We got to thinking- this is a major life event, and should be celebrated properly! We are undervaluing our wedding and treating it like a kid’s birthday party in a park! This isn’t good enough for family to fly across the country for! We are completely committed to building a life together ’til death do us part, so we might as well kick that off with a helluva party. We realized we wanted a real wedding.

What’s a real wedding?

Every couple has their own answer to that question, but it’s a very potent (and political) one for same-sex couples. We are lucky enough to live in Canada where it has been legal since 2004, and I am so thankful for that. We are also lucky enough to have supportive and loving families, so planning a more formal wedding wasn’t our way of making our relationship more “legitimate” in their eyes- but I know that IS the case for some. They want the whole grand affair to prove to their parents, friends, themselves, and society at large that this is a real wedding.

Same-sex weddings are still new enough that a lot of people wonder how different they will be compared to a straight wedding. I suspect that some straight people automatically think that all queers are alternative, counter-culture types and in their minds gay wedding = rainbow musical theatre circus. Or something to that effect. I guess they just don’t know how many conservative, mild-mannered queers there are out there, who plan black tie formals and get married in churches.

Interestingly, I see that more and more straight couples are throwing out the wedding rule book and getting married in a myriad of offbeat, eccentric and entirely unique ways, whereas it seems like many same-sex couples are adhering to traditional customs. Go figure.

Some people expect gay weddings to be different, for a variety of personal reasons and pop culture assumptions. Straight or queer aside, we hear more about the challenges couples face with their non-traditional wedding plans, but how about the challenges/criticisms/judgements we face when we choose to include tradition? I have personally experienced this- close family and friends expressing their disappointment in our more conventional ideas in not so tactful ways. My Mother hoped we would elope. Others have openly displayed their surprise that we were having a bridal party (?!). I was hurt- do they think my wedding is less cool now that they know there will be flower girls and a father-daughter dance? And I was confused- WHY should a same-sex wedding be so different from a straight wedding?

I didn’t set out to make my wedding gay, but by having two women at the altar we are put in that category by default. I feel that I am planning pretty much the same kind of wedding I would have wanted whether I was marrying a man, or a woman (personal note: I did at one point in my late 20’s get very close to marrying a man). This celebration will reflect who we are as individuals, not as gay people.

The heart of this party is the joining together of two people in love, and their two families becoming one. Truly, this is what has sustained us when we had our doubts about it all- we want our parents, siblings, extended family and our circle of friends to meet each other and share in this one special day together.

I know that it will be the first same-sex wedding for most of our guests- myself included! I hope that afterwards, even if they hadn’t thought much about it before, our guests will go home and muse on the fact that ours was just like any other wedding. And I hope that this realization will have a ripple effect that eventually encompasses the entire world, as more people will accept that our love is like any other love and can be celebrated in any way we choose.

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?

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!!

Beach weddings in BC

There’s something so romantic about the idea of getting married on a beach, isn’t there? I guess that’s why destination weddings to Hawaii and Mexico are so popular. Weather is more predictable than it is here on the wet coast!

My partner really wanted a beach wedding. So I looked into a lot of different places, in the greater Vancouver area, the Sunshine Coast, and Vancouver Island.

Here are my “Top 10 BC Beach wedding venues”:
Vancouver Island
Kingfisher Spa, Courtenay
Wickaninish Inn, Tofino
Pacific Shores, Parksville
Vancouver Island Beach House, Campbell River
The Lodge at Weir’s Beach, Victoria

Sunshine Coast
Rockwater Secret Cove Resort, Halfmoon Bay
West Coast Wilderness Lodge, Egmont Village

Ferguson Point in Stanley Park, or Spanish Banks, via Parks Board
Celebration on Water, North Vancouver

Do you see a pattern? Not many options in Vancouver. I didn’t even list all of the options on the Island! We toyed with the idea, but then decided we wanted to get married in Vancouver. It’s our home after all, and with family visiting from Ontario, we wanted to be able to show them the beautiful city that we live in.

Initially we decided on Spanish Banks, and even submitted our application to the Parks Board. Then we checked out Ferguson Point in Stanley Park. Breathtaking views! And the Teahouse is right there! I inquired about a reception and quickly realized that we could only afford that if we made our guests pay for their own dinner.

Then we discovered Celebration on Water. It’s not technically a beach location, but you’re right on the water. This big, beautiful boat; once in active service with BC Ferries; is in my opinion Vancouver’s most unique wedding venue. Probably one of the best kept secrets for West Coast brides-to-be too! But not for much longer, if I have anything to do about it.

For couples like us who don’t want to have to fret over details, it is a wonderful all-included situation. We are taking about a gorgeous patio to have the ceremony on, a lovely formal dining room, in-house catering, and everything- tables, chairs, linens, cutlery, wireless mic, and even the bridal arch- is included in your price quote.

The coordinator Michelene is simply a darling and we are so excited to be working with her for our ferry-tale wedding!

If you think I’ve missed a good one, please let me know. If you are having a BC beach wedding, tell me where you are doing it! 🙂