Board #285 | Sunrise on the Beach (Budget Friendly #17)

There are pros of having a year or two to plan your wedding (plenty of time to gather ideas, book the vendors you want, complete do-it-yourself projects) and there are cons (lots of time to second-guess decisions comes to mind). But just because you don’t want to spend 16 months planning (that’s the average engagement length in the U.S.), doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful, meaningful wedding. Today’s budget friendly inspiration board takes this idea and applies it to a sunrise wedding on the beach with a breakfast reception at home or in a favorite local restaurant, and get friends and family to help you pull it together – if you’re an easy going couple, this might just be the way to go.

Who says…you have to spend months and months planning?

Mood: spontaneous, carefree and casual
Palette: pale blue, sand

{click image to enlarge}

Top row from left: headband from Martha Stewart Weddings, tiki torch aisle from Brides, blueberry corn muffins from Martha Stewart, driftwood photo by Sugar Love
Row 2: bouquet photo by Dana Gallagher, ric-rac invitation by Bird & Banner, dress from Watters, photo by Bella Rose
Row 3: plaid blanket, dress photo by Jude Mooney, emerald ring by Sarah Perlis, thermos photo by Nicole Hill styled by Chelsea Fuss
Row 4: driftwood and seaglass, blueberries from Martha Stewart, sunrise photo from On Site Clicks’ flickr

The Paper: Depending on how last-minute your planning is, you might skip invitations and just send out an email or make phone calls. But if you do have time to make some invitations, at 80-cents per yard, ric-rac is a nice touch and a change from ribbon. When you’re short on time, you’ll probably skip the RSVP cards and ask your guests to respond by email or phone, which is an easy way to save – and for such a casual wedding, it’s totally appropriate!

The Fashion: You can have this beachy dress by Watters for only $630. Personalize it by adding a tiny blue heart to the train – a simple detail that won’t cost much. A Swarovski vine headband for only $30 is a darling way to accessorize, and will dress up outfits even after your wedding. The groom can get away with khakis and a nice shirt that he already owns, and if he doesn’t, it’s a good excuse to buy some! For a reasonably priced and wonderfully unique ring, how about this emerald ring by Sarah Perlis for $750?

The Decor: For around $12, buy some tiki torches – or pull them out of your backyard – to create an aisle on the beach. It won’t be pitch black just before sunrise, but a little flicker of light is a nice way to walk down the aisle. Ask your guests to collect sea glass and driftwood from the beach and use the found objects to decorate the breakfast tables.

The Flowers: If there are no prohibitions against it, make an impromptu bouquet from wild grasses and flowers picked at the ceremony site, and tie them together to carry down the aisle. It definitely fits in with the casual, spontaneous feel of the wedding, and it’s certainly budget friendly.

The Food: If it’s chilly on the beach early in the morning, have thermoses full of coffee and hot chocolate to serve your guests. Follow your sunrise ceremony with an incredible breakfast – fresh seasonal fruit, a variety of (warm!) breakfast breads, eggs make for a cheaper meal than most lunches or dinners. And at an earlier hour than even brunch, you can get away with skipping cake.

Other Details: If hot chocolate isn’t enough to keep your guests warm, make sure you have blankets on hand – they don’t have to match, you can just use what you already own, or borrow some from family if you need to.

Splurges: Go for it and splurge on a photographer! A good one will be able to capture the most memorable moments of your wedding beautifully, no matter how little planning went into it. Also, by booking at the last minute, you might not be able to get exactly the photographer you want, but you might be able to get a deal – especially if your sunrise breakfast wedding happens on a Sunday.

For Free: It’s a beach wedding – go barefoot! Well, and the sunrise is free, too…

Real Wedding Inspiration: A Bodega Wedding and Jeordis & Mathias both via A Practical Wedding

Well friends, today is the last day of budget friendly wedding boards for now – I hope that you’ve enjoyed them and that you’ve been able to find some ideas here. No matter what your budget, it doesn’t hurt to save where you can, and I hope that these inspiration boards have proven that you don’t have to go into debt to have a beautiful, creative wedding!


  • Sara E. Cotner says:

    Great point! Our own wedding planning process was only seven months (which is relatively short!) but I was starting to go slightly insane by the end. I was second-guessing our decisions, coveting other people’s decisions, and thinking about our wedding all the time. It reminds me of one of the themes from the Sex and the City movie: don’t let your wedding overshadow your relationship.

  • miss britt says:

    I have enjoyed them! thanks for doing it. your commentaries have been a lot of fun for me to read through.

  • DomestiGals says:

    What a heavenly board, Kathryn! Almost makes me want to scrap all our formal plans… ;-) Thanks for this lovely, laid-back start to the weekend!

    Jen xx

  • Kathryn-
    This is my favorite idea that you’ve ever ever had. I love it so much I don’t have words for you…


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