Nautical Wedding Ideas, Photos and Details

by Alli

Remember when my husband and I hosted our youngest daughter’s wedding on May 14? The wedding photos are finally here. Of course, I have to give you all the deets about Caitlin’s nautical wedding. If I shared all of her nautical wedding photos, this would be the longest post in history and I can’t do that to you. So, I’ll just share a few.

Planning a wedding? I've got details, photos and more. I've included links to the best vendors including floral, catering, bakery and more. Click the photo to learn more or pin and save for later.

Nautical Wedding Venue

Caitlin and David were married in Charleston aboard The Carolina Girl Yacht. The yacht is privately owned and you can book it for weddings and corporate events. The yacht accommodates 150 people.

The Carolina Girl Yacht - Nautical Wedding

When Caitlin decided that she wanted to get married in Charleston, we visited all the wedding venues and ultimately decided on The Carolina Girl because it’s so different from everything else. Nautical and different topped the list of her wedding wants.

The Carolina Girl Yacht has three floors. The dining area is on the middle floor and the ceremony is held on the top floor. The bridal party took over the bottom floor to get dressed and have our hair and makeup done.

Captain Bob - nautical wedding

The Carolina Girl drops anchor during the ceremony and cruises around the harbor of Charleston for dinner and dancing. A DJ/DJ Booth and some impressive sound equipment are included. As you can imagine, the scenery is spectacular. Once it gets dark, the lights of Charleston are stunning.

Helpful Hint: Captain Bob is so much fun to work with and he’ll let the kids take the helm for a little while.

The Caterer

Once The Carolina Girl was booked,  we set out to find the best catering company in Charleston.

nautical wedding

Because I’m a foodie, the wedding dinner has to taste amazing. Choosing the menu is always fun too.

Nautical Wedding Food

When we arrived for our tasting at Hamby Catering and Events, we were treated like royalty. The tasting room is rustic, with a for-real brick wall. The table setting is dreamy and menu cards top each china place setting.

The food courses just keep on coming. There was way more than we could eat. Oh, and a complimentary iced bucket of champagne is waiting on a sideboard.

Hamby Food for Wedding

Once we tasted the food, we canceled our other tasting visits. It’s that good. From the sweet potato biscuits to the shrimp and grits with tasso gravy, everything was superb. If you get hitched in the Charleston, SC area, go with Hamby!

Nautical Wedding - Food

Appetizers and drinks were served as our guests boarded the yacht for my daughter’s nautical wedding. It took about 15 minutes for the yacht to reach the point where the anchor was dropped for the ceremony.

Nautical Wedding

The Floral Designer

The venue is about 150 miles from where we live, so many weekends were spent in Charleston. I’m not complaining at all. Most of our trips turned into mother/daughter weekends and we made memories we’ll cherish forever.

Bridal Bouquet for Nautical Wedding

Believe it or not, all correspondence with the florist was done online. We met in person the day of the wedding while the floral team was decorating.

Centerpiece - Nautical Wedding Ideas

We are 100% satisfied and wholeheartedly recommend Lisa Thomas of Ooh! Events.

Nautical Wedding Ideas - Centerpiece

The Wedding Planner

For an additional fee, you can book a wedding planner when you book The Carolina Girl Yacht.  Ashley Davis is the best wedding planner ever. She would not let me lift a finger to do anything. When she was informed that my mom had suddenly passed exactly a week before the wedding, she made sure I didn’t have any added pressures. By the end of the night, I wanted to adopt her. She was well worth the price.

I admit that it’s hard to pass the reins when I’ve been planning parties and directing weddings for a long time. This time, it was so worth it to pass it on to someone else.

The Wedding Cake

Ashley Bakery in Charleston is simply amazing. The gold foil on the middle layer of the wedding cake is gorgeous.

Wedding Cake - Nautical Wedding

The only day my daughter, Caitlin, could do a tasting was on a Saturday. Ashley Bakery closes at lunch on Saturdays, so they boxed up the 12 cake flavors and had the box waiting for us around 11ish.

Starbucks was the perfect place for a cake tasting and a cup of coffee. Everyone in Starbucks was cheering us on.

The cake tasting includes a checklist with each cake named and numbered. It’s so hard picking 3 flavors. Chocolate Kahlua with White Chocolate Mousse, Carrot Cake, and Vanilla with Strawberries and Cream made the cut.

The Photographer and Videographer

Caitlin is all about photography, so skimping on photography and videography is never an option. All photos included in this post are by the very talented Ashley Bosnick Photography of Willmington, NC.

This is one of my fave photos. She’s not a runaway bride. She’s walking back down to the yacht after a photo session under the moss-covered trees.

Nautical Wedding - Walking down the pier

The videographer, Adam Chase –  founder of MPA Weddings, brought along his drone and captured the beauty of Charleston and the beautiful wedding. The video is incredible!

The Bride/Wedding Gown

nautical wedding

The moment Caitlin slipped into her Vera Wang wedding gown, she knew it was the one.

The bride - nautical wedding

She went ahead and tried on several more gowns, but we all knew this one was it. With tears running down my face, I watched as she said yes to the dress.

nautical wedding

Caitlin’s shoes were hurting her feet from walking so much during the photo session before the wedding. Don’t tell anyone, but I told her to ditch the shoes and she walked barefoot down the aisle. No one even knew – until now.

The shoes - Nautical Wedding Ideas

It was too late to change the programs/flowers after my mom passed away, so my dad escorted me to my seat and was seated next to me. Caitlin carried my mom’s wrist corsage with her bridal bouquet down the aisle and gave it to my father. We were all in tears at that point.

Bride and Groom Kissing - Nautical Wedding

My husband, a pastor, officiated the ceremony. My son-in-law, Josh (the grandsons’ dad) assisted as my husband walked our daughter down the aisle.

Nautical Wedding

I’m the most unphotogenic person in the world, but I’ll take one for the team. 🙂 This pic below is special because the photographer caught my BFF/cousin and me talking to my daughter and snapped the photo.

Cait, Linda, Alli - Nautical Wediding

The Groom

I can’t leave out my new son-in-law! David was handsome in a slim-fit gray suit, blush bow tie, and blush vest.

The Groom - Nautical Wedding

He and his mom surprised all the guests (even me) when the mother-son dance started out with Forever Young and turned into whipping, nay naying, and a little bit of everything else. The choreography was awesome and they nailed it.

Nautical Wedding - Groom/Mom Dance

The Boys

Navy and blush are the colors that Caitlin chose for her wedding. The grandsons (belong to another one of my daughters) wore blush nautical shorts, white linen shirts, and navy bow ties with white anchors from Janie and Jack. Even their navy belts had white anchors.

nautical wedding

The oldest two served as Jr. Groomsmen and the youngest two served as bubble boys. Yep, since the wedding was outside, they blew bubbles as they walked down the aisle.

Nautical Wedding Ideas

Happily Ever After . . .

nautical wedding ideas

A vintage Rolls Royce was waiting (well, actually the driver was late) at the end of the pier to whisk them off for a romantic night at The Vendue Boutique Hotel in downtown Charleston.

nautical wedding

The next morning, they boarded a plane to The Cap Juluca Resort in Anguilla.

Rolls - Nautical Wedding

Nautical Wedding Highlight

As the bride and groom were about to say their vows, a speedboat went flying by and someone shouted, “Don’t do it!”

If you’re about to plan a wedding, please follow your heart and plan the wedding of YOUR dreams. It doesn’t matter if it’s large, small, or if you elope.

When my oldest daughter was married at a southern plantation, she had about 170 guests in attendance. My middle daughter had a classic cinderella wedding with a 4-piece stringed quartet and 250+ in attendance. Caitlin, the youngest, wanted a smaller, less formal wedding, so we had about 90 in attendance. Always go with your heart when planning your wedding.

We’re so thankful to everyone who traveled near and far to be at Caitlin’s wedding. Hanging out with everyone at the host hotel was so much fun.

PS – When our guests checked into the hotel, I had welcome bags waiting for them. In it was a book detailing everything to do in Charleston. It also included snacks, bottled water, and a candle made in Charleston.

PSS – Pralines from River City Sweets – a southern classic – served as favors for the wedding.

Pralines - Nautical Wedding

Are you planning a wedding in Charleston, SC? I've got links to the best caterer, floral designer, photographer and more. Click the pic to read more or save the pin for later.

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Caitlin August 26, 2016 - 8:49 am

Love it!! This was the best day of my life and I think we should redo the cake tasting since you didn’t get any at the wedding. ? Love you!

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:40 pm

We made precious memories that I’ll never forget! I’m so glad you were calm, cool and collected throughout the entire year and a half of planning. You were never a bridezilla and it was a special time that I’ll remember forever.

dana vento August 26, 2016 - 9:04 am

Looks like it was a grand Southern affair with quite that just kind of let you sail away. The nautical wedding ideas you used were perfect and everyone looked so gorgeous. What a lovely way to have a party.

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:35 pm

Thanks! We had a lovely time and it was so different from any other wedding I’ve planned.

Laura August 26, 2016 - 11:15 am

I had my wedding at a yacht club. It wasn’t nautically themed as such, but had a nautical feel to it because of the location. It really is a lovely vibe and you captured it well 🙂

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:34 pm

We tried not to go “overboard” with the nautical theme – just enough to convey the nautical feel. The guests really enjoyed cruising around Charleston.

Nancy Reyes August 26, 2016 - 11:35 am

These are some really good ideas. And I love Charleston its has so much history, you look so beautiful and that yacht is unbelievable, The color theme fits.

Pam August 26, 2016 - 11:46 am

Wow, it looks like a beautiful wedding. I love all the little touches that seem to really make it special.

Paula Schuck August 26, 2016 - 11:51 am

That’s amazing! You and your husband make a gorgeous couple! Your wedding venue was absolutely fantastic.

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:33 pm

Thanks! Actually, it’s my daughter and her husband. 🙂 My husband and I hosted the wedding. But I think they are an adorable couple also.

lisa August 26, 2016 - 1:27 pm

Nautical weddings are so fun and pretty. The last one I was at I was pregnant with my 3rd child. It was not the best situation for myself!

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:32 pm

Being pregnant at a wedding can be overwhelming.

tara pittman August 26, 2016 - 1:41 pm

I love the outfits that the boys are wearing. Bubble boys is also a great idea.

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:31 pm

Thanks! I thought they were adorable too and the two little ones were so intent on blowing those bubbles as they walked down the aisle.

Jeanine August 26, 2016 - 3:23 pm

Wow. Not only did she look stunning but this whole entire thing looked beyond amazing. What a gorgeous wedding, and the theme is just lovely!

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:30 pm

Thanks, Jeanine! We had a really good time and were so blessed that so many friends came and enjoyed the weekend with us.

Shirley Wood August 26, 2016 - 6:42 pm

My favorite pic is the one with the boys at the end and that cute little fella with his leg raised. Everything was gorgeous in every way. Love that cake!! I’m so glad y’all were able to have such a nice day and enjoy the wedding. The mother-son dance is awesome!!

Alli August 26, 2016 - 6:51 pm

They were adorable and the two little ones blew those bubbles like little pros. We have so many cute photos of the boys, but I had to stop at some point. 🙂

Sarah August 26, 2016 - 7:09 pm

What a great list of nautical wedding ideas. I will have to look further into these some day just for fun!

Lindsay Pevny August 26, 2016 - 7:40 pm

Wow, I love it! The blush pink is just right. Congrats, Cait and David!

Heather August 26, 2016 - 8:39 pm

We eloped for our wedding! Love to look at all the cool wedding ideas though!

Christy Garrett August 26, 2016 - 9:35 pm

Your daughter is beautiful. I am glad that her wedding day went as planned. I remember my wedding day.

daytodayMOMents August 27, 2016 - 12:05 am

So so so beautiful! And oh my bubble boys! ❤️❤️ What a great wedding and perfect in its own way. Congrats to your children and wishing them forever of happiness.

Alli August 27, 2016 - 9:07 am

Those little bubble boys took their job seriously and the bubble blowing was executed perfectly. 🙂

Elizabeth O. August 27, 2016 - 2:00 am

You simply can’t deny how beautiful this wedding was! From the venue to the little details, everything was just, WOW! I’m sure everyone had a great time, it was all planned to perfection anyway. The theme is perfect!

Alli August 27, 2016 - 9:06 am

Thanks! We had so much fun planning Caitlin’s wedding.

Melanie Smith August 27, 2016 - 2:04 am

Nautical wedding is a great option! And these ideas are so cute and helpful.

chei August 27, 2016 - 4:42 am

Wow i love the wedding dress! Very elegant..

Alli August 27, 2016 - 9:05 am

Thanks! I love it too and we’ve had it preserved and boxed. I hope one day that my (future) granddaughter will wear it. 🙂

Debbie Tom August 27, 2016 - 6:22 am

I never ever thought of a nautical themed wedding. This is so classy and beautiful.

Alli August 27, 2016 - 9:05 am

Thank you, Debbie! We had a great time.

Amanda Love August 27, 2016 - 8:09 am

This has to be one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve seen! It’s really nice how you’ve managed to plan the whole thing. I love the theme and everything about this wedding. The bride is very beautiful as well!

Alli August 27, 2016 - 9:04 am

Thanks so much for your sweet words. We had a great time celebrating with family and friends.

zan August 27, 2016 - 8:21 am

OK. Now that I have gotten a break and contained myself from all the emotions in this post, I can finally comment. Seriously, this wedding was BEAUTIFUL! I started scrolling through the pictures around 12:30 last night and was so in awe of how beautiful your daughter is and looked on her wedding day (she took after you). And then I got to the mother and groom dance and couldn’t stop laughing. And your comment “they nailed it” was so funny. And then there was the grandson with his knee up and mouth expression – and Shirley’s comment. I couldn’t stop laughing. And then this morning, I went back to read the details and my laughter turned to a bit of happy/sad tears for all the emotions you all expressed in the wedding. I love everything about it. That shoe is lovely even though she had to take it off. too much to explain. But that dance and grandson photo. . . .funny. I used to live in SC and we never visited Charleston. Congratulations on all your daughters awesome weddings!

Alli August 27, 2016 - 9:04 am

Thanks for all your kind words, Zan! I wish I could have shared all the wedding photos, but it would have been the longest post in history. It was so difficult picking out the ones to share. It was the wedding of her dreams and we spent a year and a half planning the wedding. Charleston is such a beautiful city and was the perfect backdrop for her wedding. Now I’m gearing up for my son’s wedding in November. Good thing I’m just the groom’s mom this time. And, no, I can’t dance, so we’ll be sticking to the basics. 🙂 Not being able to dance never stops me from participating, but when all eyes are on my during the mother-son dance, I’ll be too nervous to do much of anything. We’ve already picked out our song. Now we need to practice! 🙂

Amy Jones August 27, 2016 - 10:10 am

These photos are incredible and I love the overall feel this concept offers. It would really make a nice wedding!

Momina Arif August 27, 2016 - 10:40 am

These pictures are great 🙂 Love to do this

Shanna Uptergrove August 27, 2016 - 5:46 pm

That looks SO beautiful! Such a grand wedding! I wish we lived near there- I would love to host a party like that. Nothing of the likes in the panhandle of TX. Congratulations!!

Rebecca Swenor August 27, 2016 - 6:17 pm

This looks like it was an amazing nautical wedding indeed. These idea are amazing for anyone looking to have a nautical wedding. The photos are just perfect and gorgeous. I love all these ideas. Thanks for sharing these fantastic nautical wedding ideas.

Abby August 27, 2016 - 7:16 pm

This is very unique. I rarely see boat themed weddings. I love the theme, style, and originality I’m taking notes 🙂

Kandi August 27, 2016 - 8:01 pm

This looks like such a beautiful, fairy tale type wedding. Your daughter is beautiful and everything looked perfect.

Wildish Jess August 27, 2016 - 11:14 pm

When you said nautical I wasn’t expecting it to be on an actual boat too! I LOVE that cake!

Jenjen August 28, 2016 - 6:00 am

Pretty wedding concept! I love everything about it and the kids outfit are just so adorable!

Jessica Harlow August 28, 2016 - 9:04 am

These are some great nautical themed wedding ideas! I agree, the venue, food, and photog are definitely a priority for any event, especially a wedding!

Rosey August 28, 2016 - 9:22 am

I agreee the food at a wedding has to taste amazing! The pictures here are great, I love the nautical theme and I love the background faces in the dancing pic!

victoria August 28, 2016 - 10:36 am

What a cool wedding ideas, It’s so great to have a memorable wedding it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

Glenda August 28, 2016 - 4:29 pm

This is such great ideas. Love the decor, the wedding dress, the flowers and all the pictures. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Kathy August 28, 2016 - 7:05 pm

These are all such wonderful ideas. I never had a real wedding when I got married. My husband and I got married at the court house.

Crystal August 28, 2016 - 8:03 pm

What a beautiful bride and wedding!! Love the flowers!!

Alli August 31, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Thanks, Krystal! I loved the flowers too.

Ana Sanchez August 29, 2016 - 8:51 am

Such a gorgeous wedding!! I love the idea of bubble boys. It is so cool and such a fun job to have.

Katy August 29, 2016 - 3:25 pm

Your daughters wedding looked beautiful. I love her dress, and that cake is awesome.

Alli August 31, 2016 - 2:34 pm

Thanks so much, Katy. We had fun planning it.

Enricoh Alfonzo August 29, 2016 - 5:39 pm

WOW! Se manfique. What wonderful photography and description. my cousin is getting married in October. Going to share this awesomeness with her.

Alli August 31, 2016 - 2:33 pm

Thanks so much, Enricoh! We made beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

Mimi Green August 29, 2016 - 9:30 pm

Beautiful, that mac & cheese looks baked to perfection. When I saw the colors I thought “My colors are blush and bashful”. hahahaha Beautiful wedding, I love the little people with the bride. They looks so happy to celebrate with her.

Tiffany Hathorn August 29, 2016 - 11:32 pm

You can tell that a lot of thought went into this idea. Looks like this would be the dream wedding for some couple out there.

Lisa Rios August 30, 2016 - 5:26 am

I am just loving these beautiful wedding photos and MPA Weddings has done a wonderful job in capturing those precious moments. The outfit looks gorgeous and all the ideas are amazing to make it a great one!

Alli August 31, 2016 - 2:23 pm

Thanks, Lisa! We really had a great time and it was everything my daughter wanted and more.

Jen September 1, 2016 - 2:43 pm

What an absolutely fabulous wedding venue! I’ve never ever seen photos of heard of people marrying on a yacht – it all looks perfect!

Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories September 3, 2016 - 8:38 am

This wedding is stunning and so unique, I want to do a vow renewal ceremony and this time We will keep it small and near/on a beach. We love Charleston! Thanks for hosting Pretty Pintastic Party with us and I hope you will link up with this week’s Small Victories Sunday Linkup starts tonight 8pm EST and open all week.

Leslie September 4, 2016 - 10:52 pm

Stunning photos! I have attended many weddings of various themes, but this Nautical Wedding tops it all!

Colette S September 5, 2016 - 4:54 pm

Wow! What a beautiful wedding!
I love the location, the flowers, the boat idea.
Fantastic photos!!!!

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McKenzie January 5, 2017 - 12:33 pm

From the great photos and the commentary it really sounds like your daughter had a wonderful wedding day! The gold foil on the cake was so unique, and I loved the photo of the groom and his mother. A nautical wedding on a yacht is so special. Thank you for sharing!

John Marc Ramirez September 8, 2017 - 2:51 am

All of these nautical wedding ideas are great because it makes the wedding really more beautiful and unique than most weddings. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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