A Bride and Groom Standing in front of an Arch


7 tips for creating the perfect seaside wedding

Thanks to a plethora of waterfront hotels, resorts and idyllic venues dotting the California coastline, there’s no better time to consider a coastal-style wedding. For insight and inspiration, we reached out to Marin, California–based wedding planner Julie Nunn (a Palos Verdes native), founder of I Do! and Julie Nunn Event Design, along with Christina Canalez, associate director of catering at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, to discuss seven sure-fire tips and trends for the bride and groom.

A Cat Sitting On Top Of A Wooden Chair

1. Invest in mood lighting

“Lighting is key,” says Christina. “We see vintage marquee lighting, bistro café lighting hung from strings, old vintage ampersands and words like ‘love’ spelled out in lights, and detailed gobos [steel or glass stencils] casting gorgeous kaleidoscopes of patterns on the ceiling, walls and dance floors.”

2. Rethink the favors

“Favors are out,” says Julie. “Instead brides are opting for interactive food stations, or a walk-up bar for edible favors. Farm-to-table is still pretty big. Think chocolate-covered strawberries from the local strawberry patch, or s’mores with chocolates from local artisans, and fresh corn on the cob and veggies from the farmers market.”

A Plate Of Birthday Cake On A Table

3. Tempt the sweet tooth

“Some of our brides are skipping the wedding cake and opting for extravagant dessert buffets instead,” says Christina.

4. Set The Perfect Stage

“I’m seeing lots of boho-chic woven linens with pops of colors, which I love, and it’s kind of my personal style,” says Julie. “Another trend is monochromatic or pastel, but with tons of texture intermixed so the décor doesn’t appear flat. Also popular for fall is a metallic palette with lots of rose gold, or copper, combined with magenta.”

A Bride in her Wedding Dress with A Coastal View

5. Dress It Up

“Sleeves on wedding dresses are back, as well as cathedral-length veils,” says Julie. “Brides are also choosing more than one dress, including one for the ceremony, one for the reception and one party dress.”

“We are no longer seeing a two-color theme at weddings,” adds Christina. “Instead there is a palette of colors, and the variations on the colors are so much more interesting than having the bridesmaids in only one color and the groomsmen match perfectly. Style and individuality is being placed on display so each person can still be complementary but unique. It is not just in formal wear but is seen in all of the details of the wedding. It’s more eclectic and less matchy-matchy. Also super popular now is anything that sparkles and is reflective.”

A Woman Wearing A Flower In Her Hair

6. Go Green

“Succulents as centerpieces and party favors are popular,” says Christina. “Everyone has gotten the message that going green is great. Our California coastal cuisine is what most people love about Terranea. Chef Ibarra has the Sea Salt Conservatory where we harvest our own sea salt from filtered seawater. From there, we can infuse it with citrus and fresh herbs and use it in our culinary creations. It is just one of the sustainable items that we are doing.”

A Pair Of Glasses On A Table

7. Make It Personal

“The details of the wedding are so much more personal now and have specific meaning to the families and the bride and groom,” adds Christina. “We don’t see just a table number these days but rather sephia-toned photos of the bride and groom that serve as table numbers. Other ideas include ‘trees of life’ created by individual fingerprints, photo booths with chalkboards to say something fabulous to the bride and groom, and touches of home or the couple’s culture that are intertwined throughout the event and create a symbiotic blend that showcases their unique story.”

For more on our wedding planners, visit idoevent.com and terranea.com.

Wedding photography courtesy of Duke Photography, dukeimages.com, and Cean One Photography, ceanone.com.

Written by Jennie Nunn

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