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DIY Beach Themed Wedding Decor

August 3rd, 2011 by Jeannine

Melanie's Beach Wedding

Summer is finally here to stay… right? Hopefully! :P In that case, I’ve got some DIY decor inspiration that will complement this beautiful weather. Back in May, my husband and I, along with a group of friends, went to Mexico for our friends, Ray and Melanie’s destination wedding. They said their “I do’s” on the beach in the beautiful Mayan Riviera. It was a great wedding, and an unforgettable reception. Melanie had a lot of DIY elements in her wedding and she was more than happy to share it all with Vancity Bride readers :) She’s a proud Vancouverite (and Canucks fan!) living in New York (that explains why all the prices are quoted in USD). So read on if you want to learn how to bring some tropical atmosphere to your wedding!

A Few Words From Melanie…

“When I started wedding planning, I had no idea about the amount of detail that goes into a wedding.  It became apparent that all these little details could add up to a hefty number.  After browsing through several wedding forums I was introduced to the DIY (do-it-yourself) world.  A great forum which brought about great inspiration and ideas was the Wedding Bee forums.  I highly encourage any future brides who are currently in the planning process to visit this forum.  Lots of advice and great ideas to plan all the little details for your special day at half the retail price!  (Insider tip: do not forget the 40% off coupons from craft stores!)”

All instructions were written by Melanie…
thanks for taking the time to write this all out!

Hair Flower

Melanie made these flowers for herself and her bridesmaids. For 5 wedding flowers and 2 bridal flowers, the total came to $14.48 USD.

Large artificial flower
Hot glue gun
Beads – pearls, shimmer, glitter etc. for the center of your flower

  1. Get an artificial flower for your local craft store.  I chose a large, ivory peony flower for my bridesmaids and a large dahlia for myself.
  2. Remove the stem and center that is keeping the petals together.  When you remove the center, about 10 flower cut-outs can be removed.
  3. Arrange these flower cut-outs as you like.  I layered about 4-5 cut-outs.
  4. With a hot glue gun, add a dab of glue to the center of the bottom layer.  Press the next layer onto the bottom for about 5 seconds.  Repeat this process with all your flower cut-outs.
  5. For the center, I added ivory pearl beads to the center with the hot glue gun.
  6. Let dry for about 20 minutes.
  7. Voila! You have your DIY hair flower that will not be ruined in the heat, humidity and wind!

Unity Candle

This came to a total of $9.54 USD.

1 large pillar candle
2 tapered candles
3 sheets of vellum paper
Double sided tape

  1. On Microsoft Word, design the wording for your unity candle.  I used the following:
    For hearing my thoughts
    and understanding my dreams,
    On this day I will
    marry my best friend,
    The one I laugh with,
    live for,
    dream with,
    love …
    Bride & Groom
    Date of wedding
    Optional: add a clipart to the background of the body of the poem
  2. Print out your design on normal paper.  Wrap your paper around the large pillar candle.  Make sure your design and words fits within the size of the candle without having to turn the candle.
  3. When you are happy with your design, print it out on vellum paper.
  4. Wrap the vellum paper around your pillar candle.  Use the double-sided tape to tape the paper ends at the back of the candle.  You may have to cut the vellum paper with a paper cutter so that you do not have excess paper.
  5. Cut enough ribbon so that it can wrap around the pillar candle.  Use a flame to melt off the frayed edges of the ribbon that occurs when you cut it.  Place double sided tape on the back end of the ribbon.  If it is a thick ribbon, you may have to place double sided tape on the bottom and upper half.  Where the vellum paper has ended, wrap the ribbon around the candle.  Repeat this process for the bottom of the vellum paper.
  6. For the two taper candles, cut enough ribbon to wrap around these candles.  Use a wider ribbon and thinner ribbon and layer it on top of each other with double-sided tape.  Wrap this ribbon around the taper candle with double-sided tape.
  7. The end product is your own personal unity candle for you and your to-be husband.

Umbrella Seating Chart

Melanie was inspired by the Martha Stewart website with this DIY and says it is perfect for a destination/beach themed wedding.  The whole project costs approximately $18.

Cocktail umbrellas
Tray – I used a cardboard box lid which I covered with fabric.  I had a lid lying around but you can purchase an IKEA storage box with a lid for about $5.  Buy the lid in the color of your choice or cover it with fabric.
Foam core
Knife/exacto knife
Paper strips with your guest’s name and table number  (this will be glued to the cocktail umbrella)

  1. Cut the foam core so that it fits within the tray.
  2. Glue the paper strips onto the cocktail umbrella
  3. Arrange the cocktail umbrellas by poking it into the foam core.
  4. Add sand to the tray.  You now have your beach umbrella seating chart!

Optional: lay starfish or shells on the sand!

Tile Coasters

Melanie was looking for unique and practical wedding favors for her guests.  She found this project online and she found it simple to do! The total cost for 100 tiles (2 per person) was $65.00 USD. I thought she ordered them, I was surprised to find out she made them herself and they’re fantastic!

Sponge brush ($1.50 for a pack of 3 from Target – you can get this at any supermarket or hardware store)
Rubbing alcohol
Scrapbook paper (packs of 8 at Target for 0.99… for Canadians, check dollar stores, Michaels with 40% off coupon)
Cork board or felt for backing
Candy sticker labels (found them at Michael’s for $5)
Acrylic waterproof sealant – I will be using Minwax polycrylic protective finish ($8-$9 at Home Depot or Michaels)

  1. Cut scrapbook paper about 1/8-1/4″ less than the tile with a paper cutter.  I printed our initials onto the candy label and pasted it on the bottom corner of the square. The candy labels came with an online template that I used on Microsoft Word.
  2. Clean the tiles with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Apply Mod Podge onto the tile.  It dries quickly so you have to work fast!
  4. Center the scrapbook paper onto the tile.  It took me a while to figure out the best technique to avoid air bubbles and wrinkly paper.  The best method is to place your index finger in the center of the paper.  Then with your other index finger, smooth out the paper from center to the outer edges of the tile trying to get ensure that no bubbles form.  Let dry for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Apply modge podge again.  Wait 15-20 minutes.  Apply as many layers as you desire.  I applied 4 layers.
  6. Let dry for at least 1 week (the longer, the better!).  I dried mine for about 3-4 weeks.
  7. Apply sealant.
  8. Let coasters dry for at least 2 weeks.
  9. Add cork board or felt to bottom.
  10. Package your coasters with ribbon!


To add detail and color to your tealight holders! This was also inspired by an idea on the Martha Stewart website.

Clear glass tealight holders
Vellum paper
Paper cutter
Invisible tape

  1. With normal paper, measure out the length and width that will wrap around your tealight holder.
  2. On your computer, create boxes on the page with the dimensions that you need.  Add designs or words inside the boxes.
  3. Print onto vellum paper and cut out the boxes.
  4. Wrap paper around the candle holder and tape the back ends with tape.
  5. Place your tealight into the holder and light! Now you have an inexpensive detail that will add color and light to your table!

Card Box

Cardboard box of varying sizes
Glue gun
Big bow

  1. Cut a slit in a box that will fit a standard card.
  2. Wrap boxes in fabric and glue them down
  3. Glue the big bow on the top of the boxes and decorate with ribbon.

Starfish Aisle décor

White large starfishes
Glue gun

  1. Use enough ribbon so that you can wrap it around the body of the starfish and have adequate length to tie a knot at the end and hang on the chair. It’s really hard to see from the picture below but if you look closely you can see a starfish hanging off each aisle chair.

Photos provided by Melanie and Vancity Bride

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  • August 4th, 2011 at 10:03 pm
    Kelsey says:

    I think it was in all the small touches and details that Melanie really made her wedding beautiful and personal! xo


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