Seeing Stripes.

Is there one place in the world where you feel completely at home?

Somewhere that calms you, completes you, nourishes you and restores you. Somewhere that inspires you and takes your breath away – even at its worse.

For me, this place is the sea.

It doesn’t matter where in the world it is, once those crashing waves are within my sight everything is ok again. Life reclaims its perspective and I can honestly say that I’m truly happy. I’m even getting a little bit emotional writing about it.

Shame that I live in the landlocked Midlands then…

A huge part of me wishes that I’d planned a nautically inspired wedding and I’m always slightly envious of those brides who have chosen to have their nuptials by or on the water.

It always looks so romantic doesn’t it.

Perhaps you’re a seaside bride, or maybe you or your beau are in the Navy and want to reflect this in your celebrations but aren’t sure where to start.

Below is a collection of some of the most beautiful maritime images to help you on your way.

And if anyone has a boat full of drinks at their wedding I want to be the FIRST to know!

Aye Aye Sailor

Now girls.

Hosting a nautically inspired wedding does not mean that your other half must therefore don a full sailor suit complete with kitbag and cap.

Although I would like to see that please.

I would also like to see more grooms half submerged in water and smouldering at the camera.

Ahem….. back to the topic in hand.

Maritime grooms and ushers look best in clean lines, close-fitting suits and modest cuts. Keeping things simple is the key to preventing this look from becoming farcical. If I had to sum the look up in one word then I’d say it was ‘preppy’ but with a modern twist.

Ok that was 6 but I’m allowed a little bit of creative licence, aren’t I?

Striped fabric and brass buttons really epitomise this look best, as do deck shoes, rolled up trousers, navy blues and seersucker materials. A smart bow-tie finishes a maritime ensemble off nicely too. Try to mix colours up; the best nautical grooms include at least two or three shades in their outfit with the usual suspects being blues, creams and tans topped off with a splash of peach.

It’s also worth thinking outside the box for buttonholes. Using shells, nautical crests, fishermen’s knots as well as seeds and grasses more commonly found at home in the sand dunes is a perfect way of pulling this theme together.

Message In A Bottle

If there’s one thing that gets me more excited than a posy of beautiful blooms then it’s a well executed stationery suite.

If you think about it, this is the first impression that your guests will have of your wedding day – a sneak peek if you will – so relish this opportunity and really go for it.

The beauty of a nautical scheme is that there are so many motifs to play with. Ships, anchors, twine, ropes, knots, flags and compasses – I could go on and on. And you don’t have to limit yourself simply printing these symbols either.

Why not have flags made for guests so they can wave you down the aisle or pull the different components of your invitations together with an actual fisherman’s knot.

I am in love with the idea of giving each guest a compass as a favour – it’s sweet, relevant and still has a purpose after the event has taken place. And how amazing is the oar guestbook – I love how this can be displayed pride of place in the home once the wedding is over as a constant reminder of the day.

Continuing a ‘look’, regardless of what it may be, through all of your stationery i.e. from invites, menus, order of service and table names really helps to strengthen the theme as well as putting smiles on the faces of your nearest and dearest as they discover these quirky touches.


Dressing your maids to suit a seaside event follows much of the same lines as that of grooms and ushers. Let stripes and greeny-blue hues be your guide.

Silky blue and cream stripes are reminiscent of the sea and the foamy frothiness on top of choppy waves. Accessorise the look with jewellery in golden tones – the two anchor bracelets below are simply the tip of the iceberg of nautically inspired accessories that are available to buy.

Choosing blousey white flowers such as hydrangeas will also ensure that darker hues pop for maximum effect.

I love classic, bold, navy stripes but these pretty girls in green pleats show how easy it is to reinvent this traditional theme in a modern way.

Don’t they just ooze effortless cool.

If your wedding is a more casual affair, I’d suggest opting for a shorter style dress with sleeves. Perhaps you’d like your maids in something a little less obvious? Finishing bouquets with a ream of stripy ribbon can be a perfectly subtle nod to such a theme. If in doubt add a pair of shades and a straw hat for that finishing touch.

Lastly I want to look like the bride at the bottom of all these images. Doesn’t she look like a real life mermaid washed up on the shore…

At The Captain’s Table

As much of the inspiration shows here, tablescape settings tend to be soft, elegant affairs with muted palettes of blues, browns, whites and greens. Peaches and blousey pinks are the perfect accent colours to boot.

This look takes much of its inspiration from its natural environment – driftwood centerpieces, coral and shells, lanterns, grasses and wildflowers all feature heavily. Table settings should be windswept and worn. Don’t fight the landscape and light, embrace it.

And then add scads of candles on top.

A really effective tablescape manages to reflect the wedding day theme in the flower centerpieces too. I love the idea of grouping masses of thick white blooms, such as dahlias and hydrangeas, in large galvanized buckets as a way of creating centerpieces that are reminiscent of the choppy sea.

If the traditional blue and white stripes leave you cold why not think about using stripes in other ways. Choosing ribbon bands of different colours and in various thicknesses still cleverly hints at a nautical theme without being conventional.


This last moodboard demonstrates how simple it is for you to capture the perfect beachside essence by choosing and clustering key props at your event.

Think oars, kitbags, knotted ropes and bleached driftwood.

Time to put on your creative hats boys and girls and bring your bartering skills out to play.

Whenever I’m trying to create a certain look or theme for a photoshoot or an event, I pull all of my inspiration together into one place. This helps me focus my thoughts so that I can determine what it is that is really needed to make a look work, what is likely to be expensive and those pieces that I can recreate for myself that won’t induce a call from a red-faced bank manager.

This is also a great way of prioritising where to spend those precious pennies when your budget is limited.

Larger items like boats, oars and anchors can be pricey. I’d suggest looking on eBay as there is always a bargain to be had, as well as down your local car boot. You just never know what you can find.

Some props are easy to recreate at home. Filling old jars and hurricane vases full of sand and pebbles or knotting nautical ribbon onto cocktail stirrer screams seaside chic without hurting your pocket. Plus it’s a great way to get your nearest and dearest involved in the big day.

Never underestimate the aesthetic value of candles – they don’t have to be expensive and they always look amazing, whatever your theme may be.

Lastly finer details, such as compasses and anchors in this case, aren’t always essential but they do take things to the next level. I’d recommend purchasing items like these once you’ve analysed how much you’ve spent and whether there’s room for anything more.

So what do you think?

Are you suddenly inspired to include some nautical motifs in your big day?

Perhaps you’ll have mermaids rather than bridesmaids and handsome sailors for ushers instead…

And does anyone else try to get their sea ‘fix’ by buying bucketloads of the Sea Salt and Kelp handwash from Waitrose?

No? Just me then…

Let us know your thoughts by sending a message in a bottle folks …or if it’s easier then in the comments box below.

Love Lolly xxx

Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.

32 thoughts on “Seeing Stripes.

  1. I completely agree with you Lolly, I think the sea is calming as it’s so reliable. Everything else in life can change but the sun will always rise and set, pulling the tide as it goes, there will always be high tide and low tide with waves in between. Oh to be by the sea…. I’m off to Waitrose to stock up on handwash!

  2. The sea is a massive connection between me and my hubby. We both adore it and like you say, when you’re stood in front of it, everything seems to click right for me. I’m just in awe of it. The power, an uncontrollable element, it puts things into perspective.

    Loving all this inspiration and would love to see more nautical inspired weddings 🙂

    For now, I’ll do with living by the canal. Its almost like the sea. Ish.

  3. @Lou I really want that swimming cap too. I saw the image and knew I had to include it. I love how she’s reading and refusing to get her hair wet despite the cap.

    @Becky. You live by the canal? Amazing – I’m super jealous. We’ll see what we can do on the nautical weddings front…

    @Lucy S seriously lady you are doing nothing for my ‘Oh I wish I was getting married by the sea’ dream. That venue is divine!

    @Amy don’t go buying it all now – I need some too!

  4. @Lolly Ye, we’re really lucky to have an alcove in our complex so we can have BBQ’s and dinner out by the canal. It was involved in my engagement too so is super special to me – even if its a bit dirty! 🙂

  5. Awww I love the sea!! My office is actually based on the seafront, walking down the cliff top first thing when the sun is rising/setting isn’t a bad start to a work day!!

    Despite this we didn’t go for a nautical themed wedding, but it is one of my fav themes!! and Lolly your mood boards are the prettiest representation of it I have ever seen (as are all your mood boards)!!


  6. I want to jump into that first picture….

    And apart from nautical being a really beautiful theme it is also incredibly timeless and is in fashion always really…without being a fleeting trend.

    Or at least I hope it is. I wear stripes a LOT.

    Charlotte xxx

  7. Where can I get the white and Green Striped dresses in the th picture?? the bridesmaid ones.

    They are perfect for what i’m looking for.

    Kind Regards Steph Skelton

  8. We’re getting married by the sea in Cornwall and I can’t wait! I love the sea – even when its raining and it looks dark and moody. We’re going for quite a natural romantic theme with lots of light to capture the cliff top light that makes our venue so gorgeous – using nautural motifs like the driftwood with lovely blousey florals and candlelight! Lots of pictures on the beach are planned too!

    I agree on those green stripe dresses @Stephanie Skelton – they are gorgeous!

    Our gorgeous venue, even if you don’t wanna get married there a glass of wine on the terrace or massage in the spa acing the sea are both rather special –

  9. @Amy D – first off, before I even comment, can I just say wowsers. I bookmarked the Scarlet’s website and periodically log in to drool over it. Lucky, lucky you!

    I adore these pictures. I too yearned for a barefoot wedding for the longest time – I think it must be my erstwhile addiction to anything Martha Stewart – and the Big Sur/ Martha’s Vineyard setting just seems heavenly to me…


  10. They do have the skirts on the site Lolly found. $200 each though. I have 5 bridesmaids….
    Search continues for me sadly.
    Do love them though 🙂

  11. *Sigh* oh to be by the sea! I lived in Aberdeen while @ uni & from the kitchen of one of my flats you could see the sea. My favourite thing to do was to stand with a cuppa & watch the waves (couldn’t sit because A the kitchen was too small for table & chairs & B the window was slightly too high to see from while sitting!)
    Loving these mood boards, the mermaid bride is beautiful!!

    Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…

  12. What a beautiful post! I’m getting married in Cornwall next year at the beautiful Trebah Gardens where our drinks reception will be on the beach! I am so excited to have it by the sea as like you I now live in the midlands and miss my sea side home all the time! We’re trying to tie the nautical with nature as much as possible:)

  13. ooohhhh I want to get married all over again just so I can have navy stripes and coral & peach flowers with a nautical theme. Love the rope knot buttonhole too!

  14. Such an inspiring post.

    Where is the short wedding dress from in the picture with the gorgeous green and white striped bridesmaids dresses?

  15. What a lovely post! It’s great inspiration as we’re having a Cornish coastal wedding with nautical theme in November and I’m finalising the decor at the moment. We’re spending our honeymoon at the Scarlet Hotel and I can’t wait!!

  16. OMG…. its like you’ve read my mind. Our wedding in October is based on a nautical theme. Oli and I met as sailing instructors and still compete in sailing races regularly around the country. Although its not taking place beside the sea we really wanted to feature our favourite stuff in our wedding. Its mostly already planned and we ARE having a boatful of beers as that’s what we did as young sailing instructors at the centre where we worked! There’s lots of stripes featured too including handmade bunting from old stripey bed sheets. It has however been a bit of a challenge trying to match stripes with tartan (We’re getting married in Royal Deeside nr Blamoral Castle) nothing matches tartan aaaargh! but hopefully I’ll be able to make it work. Would you guys be interested in featuring our wedding on your lovely pages?? please say yes! xx

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