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Nautical Wedding Inspiration


One of my favorite wedding themes is whimsically nautical. What exactly does that mean? Taking the traditional nautical theme you think of like navy blue & white stripes and anchors and adding in some whimsical details to bring it into the year 2020. There are many ways to do that including non-traditional shades of blue (& other colors!), using those stripes in unique ways, and utilizing the nautical aspects that aren't at the forefront of the trend.


I'm from Maryland, so anything to do with the blue crab I automatically swoon at! Some of our favorite favors from a nautical wedding were the cutest personalized crab mallets! The groom grew up with the water a huge part of his life and

they knew they needed to incorporate this


special detail into their big day! These little personal touches add the custom details that bring your nautical wedding to the next level.


Think about it this way; you can have an "off-trend" wedding or a "last season trend" wedding and it be totally okay. It's your day, so do with it what you will...just please make it your own! It's so easy to get caught up in having the most perfect pinterest wedding, but please use pinterest as an inspiration and not the end all, be all of your wedding. The reason pinterest weddings are what you see is because of the personal touches that the couple added to it!


Give me a nautical theme and I'll throw some off the wall ideas at you... but that is what makes the day unique to the couple. Once the couple embraces their theme as a starting point and not the top floor - that's when the magic happens and at that point it doesn't matter if your theme is "so 2008".



When you google nautical. You see a common theme of tight blues, anchors, and ropes. I want to challenge your nautical theme from the norm and go with dusty blue and seafoam green - you can even go a step further and go with creams, pastie yellows, and deep reds. Creams and seaglass tones can really increase the romantics in a nautical event. Keep the dreaminess going and take a step back from anchors; go more for the lighthouses and compasses. "Leading the way to your heart" (swoooon!) There are so many play on words that come to mind with lighthouses, sailors, and compasses. You can set the mood all the way from your engagement announcement, to the stationary.


Are you a pearl girl? Pearls come from oysters and I'll tell you what, there is really nothing quite as nautical than a focal point that comes straight from the sea! Sailors have to eat something right? Take on the challenge of simplicity and really wow your guests with an elegant take on the nautical theme. Give me an oyster bar during cocktail hour and I am a happy planner! Such a fun way to incorporate the nautical theme into the food and really make it an experience!


Creating an experience around your wedding can really make it memorable! An open bar and a pumped up dance floor is a great start to a fun party but creating that whimsical event takes an extra leap. Make the first part of the day just as memorable as the party and you're wedding will be the most talked about that year. This doesn't mean shelling out some extra cash either! Adding the simplest personal touches can create an atmosphere of love, which in it's self is the reason for the occasion. I want your love to be celebrated not only for that day but every time your guests think of your wedding for years to come.

So, how do I create experiences on a minimal budget? Find your friends' and families' talents.


Does your uncle's best friend own an oyster boat? Strike up a deal to get a few dozen oysters displayed on some ice in box crates ($9 at Michaels), and chop up some lemons for topping. You've just created a DIY oyster bar for about half the cost your caterer would charge. Don't know any waterman? Find some local wholesale, right off the boat, seafood shops. They can probably work out a deal that still saves money compared to your catering company.


Do you enjoy going to the seashore? Keep an eye out for seaglass on the beach every time you go. Talk to locals about where seaglass collects throughout the year and take a visit to that spot. Take a few youtube calligraphy lessons and you can create your own seaglass escort cards. Don't have the steady hand? Check with your bridal party! There is bound to be someone in your party or their significant other who is a closet calligrapher just looking for a reason to bust out!


Pearls? Who said they have to be real? Find some pearl sized beads in the kids section of any store. Get some pearled paint and go to town! Not a DIYer? You can find some realistic faux pearls online. Read the reviews and order a test round, but you can definitely find your pearls at your budget price!


What are some other fun experiences at a romantic nautical wedding? Take your grand exit photo as your walking back down the isle! Use fresh or dried flowers as your confetti to get the perfect pop of your dusty color scheme or even sand! Make a combination so there's not so much sand flying around but it'll sparkle in the sun for that perfect picture! It may get a little messy but maybe a wardrobe change could become a surprise experience for the guests as well!


Finally, if we're having a lighthouse and compass romantic nautical wedding... it only seems appropriate for the venue to be a rocky seaside or an old lighthouse! Most lighthouse venues are public parks so the price is great and the view is absolutely gorgeous! Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Jeannette's Pier, and Old Baldy Lighthouse are only a few North Carolina favorites for a whimsical nautical wedding!



Interested in learning how to add your personal touches to your wedding day? Book a consultation to see how Bri By Design can help and make your vision come to life in a stress-free and joyful way!

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Bri By Design

Wedding Coordinator & Event Planner

Based out of Raleigh, North Carolina

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