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How to Plan Nautical-Themed Wedding on a Budget

Posted on by Arya Miller

For the last few years, it has become very important for the newlyweds that their wedding has a theme. Which means that everything from cake, invitations and decorations should follow a specific theme that the happy couple have picked. This way, the whole story of wedding is well rounded and everything looks perfect to the very last detail. It's important to strive for perfection but also to save some money while doing so. Being that the summer is still hot, nautical weddings or nautical theme weddings are very popular. The details are very important in this theme if we wish to capture the whole seaside atmosphere.

Check out our breathtaking collection of beach wedding dresses for a memorable wedding day in the sunshine!

wedding dress


Real Wedding: Chelsie and Daisy, Full Story at Equally Wed

If you're among the lucky ones that are having an open air wedding or maybe on a boat or a beach, then this theme won't pose a problem for you, and you will fairly easy achieve that atmosphere. But, if you're not among those previously mentioned, then you will need a lot more details, and when trying to save some money, a lot more imagination and DIY moments. Classic sailor symbols like anchors, seashells, sailor stripes, sand or even fish will be a must have on this wedding, and you will save money by making those on your own, leaving you to spend more on important things like food and location.


When it comes to nautical themed wedding, most of the couples opt for a beach as their wedding venue. And, we understand why. There is no better way of getting married than barefoot in the sand, with the sounds of waves crashing on the shore, and the wind playing with your veil. Not to mention it is picture-perfect. But, when selecting the location for your beach wedding, you should be very careful. Most beaches are usually windy, so try to pick a cove or an area that is sheltered from direct winds. Also, it is always a good idea to have a plan B, just in case the weather doesn't cooperate. Check out indoor spaces close by, or maybe a tent option.

nautical themed wedding

Wedding Venue pexels>

If you are looking for something a bit more unique, a lighthouse is perfect for that. Not only it has a charm, but it is historic, mysterious and more affordable than you may think. And it will be a totally unique experience for you and your guests. Our recommendation for venue: SOLENT FORTS

nautical themed wedding

Wedding Venue>

Just one hour away from Central London, surrounded by the waves of the Solent and with its imposing architecture, Solent Forts is the ultimate venue for your romantic and unique wedding reception. You can choose between two locations. Spitbank Fort, which include eight luxury bedroom suites, wine cellar, champagne bar, original bolt hole and lighthouse, rooftop hot pool and fire pit. It is perfect for small weddings (up to 60 guests). No Man's Fort with stunning panoramic view of the fierce beauty and dramatic seascape. It also includes sauna and spa treatments, rooftop hot tubs, and fire pit. And it can host up to 200 guests.


How to Plan Nautical-Themed Wedding on a Budget

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While selecting the wedding location is probably the most important step, wedding dress is what really wows the guests. And the nautical themed wedding calls for a romantic, relaxed gown. Agree? When choosing the dress you will need to consider a number of factors. Think all that sand and wind. Look for flowing, lightweight fabrics like organza and chiffon, fabric that are ideal for those sea breezes. Trains can also be problematic on the beach. As they drag in the sand and end up looking dirty in just a few minutes. With that in mind, opt for short wedding dress, they will look amazing, and you don't have to worry about the sand. Our recommendation for dress:

nautical themed wedding

Wedding dress Lucy Can't Dance>

If you are a bride that wants to stand out from the crowd in a bespoke dress with a difference, than this Lucy Can't Dance dress is perfect for you. Made of 100% silk fabric with tulle overlay skirt, and dip dyed in a subtle frost grey, this dress is perfect for nautical themed wedding. It is elegant yet lightweight. It features V neckline, stunning bodice covered in hand sewn lace leaf appliqués and a beautiful open back.


The cake should be part of the wedding, and should fall into the theme too. It is one of the most important focal points of the day, after all. Choose a cake that is compatible with the style of the venue and the season. You can decorate your cake with treasures of the sea like shells, coral and pearls. And it will look amazing.

wedding cake

Wedding cake>

If you are looking something more alternative, you can always opt for cupcakes. We must admit that we don't know person who doesn't like them. You can decorate cupcakes with blue icing and sea shells made of white chocolate. Be creative.

wedding cake

Wedding Cake Made by Nevie-pie Cakes

For those who want something healthier you can serve raw cake or cookies. Although the cakes are a more traditional choice, it would be very good and interesting to serve ice cream at a nautical themed wedding. You can even out ice cream makers so the guests can help themselves. This will surely put a smile on their faces.


How to Plan Nautical-Themed Wedding on a Budget

Make-up by Multi Award winner Laura Dawson

Nautical themed wedding are mostly held in Summer. And we all know what that means. High temperatures, humidity, sun, sweat. Just because all these reasons, summer makeup requires a more natural, fresh 'no makeup' look. It takes a little effort and good make up products, but the result is amazing. BB cream with SPF factor, a little bit of corrector, if needed and coral lipstick. And that's all.

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When it comes to beach wedding hairstyle, there is so many possibilities. From the classic ponytail to the humidity-friendly updos to the beautiful nautical hair accessories to top off the look. And we can't forget the braids and loose waves for that beachy vibe.


nautical themed wedding

Bride And Groom Captured by David West Photography

Being that the groom also has to shine, it is necessary to choose a appropriate outfit and details that comes with it. Because of the nautical theme, we suggest to abandon the classic black suit and choose one in gentler colors (beige, sand color, light blue), or navy blue. You don't even need to have a jacket, with nautical style it's all about being relaxed, so you can afford wearing unbuttoned white linen shirt. Instead of shoes, you can opt for loafers. When it comes to accessories, you can choose a fun bow tie, or a vest. Go for light and airily materials, they will fit the theme perfectly.


How to Plan Nautical-Themed Wedding on a Budget


As with every wedding, invitations play a significant role. They start the story. And with nautical theme weddings, it would be nice to give your guests an idea that the wedding will be in that theme. Make a small revelation that they may be surrounded by sea, maybe eating some sea food, that they wouldn't have to wear shoes because they will enjoy walking in soft sand with their bare feet. There's a broad choice when picking out invitations. From messages in the bottle, stripe ones, or even in a seashell. So how to save money? DIY is a perfect choice. If you have some extra time on your hands and a lot of friends and sisters this could be an interesting and quickly done project. A perfect example of nautical invitations are the ones in a bottle, and they are very simple to make. Put some sand and decorative seashells in glass bottles, and roll a piece of paper with all the needed information (time, date, location etc.) and put it in the bottle. Use a cork, and if you want, you can put a decorative golden tape. Perfect and simple, right?


nautical themed wedding

Get Inspired by this Navy and White Nautical Wedding, Wedding Chicks

Decor is a very important part of the wedding. It brings the theme to life, creates an atmosphere and makes your guests more comfortable. That, of course, stands if the decor is made nice and well. You always have two options, to hire a decorator or to do it yourself. Hiring a decorator is easier, but more expensive. So if you're looking to save money, we suggest DIY. It is very important to choose a color palette that will be presented in all aspects of the wedding. For nautical themed wedding the aim is to achieve a beach like setting during a perfect summer night. You will start with choosing appropriate lighting. Forget about neon lights and disco bowls.

nautical themed wedding

Wedding Decor Wedding Chicks>

Candles and a whole lot of string lights and fairy lights will create a beautiful ambient that will look perfect, soothing, gentle and attractive. Along with playing with lights, decorate tables with seashells. They are the best when it comes to seaside decor. Candles and seashells should be in center of tables. You can even put them with sand in short vases, it will look very romantic. Anchors and corals are also very good details that will attract attention. Play with colors like navy blue, white and sand color. Put fishing nets on chairs, or decorate the entrance with them. You will save money and at the same time make your venue more prettier.


Guest book is a must have on a wedding! A classic guest book is a place where your guests can leave you a well wishing note or a their impressions of your wedding. But in the last few years, guest books got a whole different look and shape, and have become more fun and imaginative. But their purpose remains the same, to leave newlyweds a fond memory for their whole life. You can of course make your own guest book. A simple way is to take a big jar, decorate it with seashells, leave small papers and pencils in front of it and a small plank that says: please leave us a message to read on our anniversary. This is a very simple, effective and low cost way. If you want something different and at the same time unique, you can try with the local artist or a wedding shop. We found you a very interesting version of a guest book on Etsy. It is shaped like a big clam, and your guests should leave their names on smaller clams and put them on the big one. This very special guest book is handmade.


How to Plan Nautical-Themed Wedding on a Budget

Guest Book Etsy>


nautical themed wedding


If you are big food lovers, then your wedding menu will be of great importance. Your nautical theme wedding menu should include fish, seafood, light summer salads and light deserts. It is important to have fresh food and have it well prepared, so you should save money on it. You can decorate desserts with edible chocolate seashells, and for drinks choose cocktails and wine. Have your cocktail barman decorate them like he would for guests on a beach. This will really make your guests happy. Also don't forget your vegetarian friends and those who don't like fish. And if there's children on your wedding, having a kid's menu would be great. It should include pasta with tuna, salads, crab cakes, french fries and light cakes. You can also serve seasonal fruits like watermelon, melons, grapes, or even ice cream, a perfect way to refresh.


nautical themed wedding

Get Inspired by this stunning ceremony on a boat, Love Our Wedding

Flowers are always a priority on weddings, especially for brides and not only for bouquets, but for tables as well. Their role in decorations is very big. Every flower has it's meaning and is used for different wedding themes. To save money, opt for flowers that are in season. For a nautical theme wedding, you can choose calla flowers that bloom in spring and summer. They represent elegance and beauty. Another ideal flower are daisies. They are in bloom all year, so are not expensive. Hydrangea is a beautiful flower, and fit for every wedding, especially nautical. They represent understanding and are blooming in spring and autumn. You can even pick them out in gentle blue.

Take a look at our new wedding dress collection for your classical wedding,

wedding dress