DIY Beach Themed Home Decor (great gift idea for newlyweds!)


My best childhood friend got engaged! Super exciting news, right?!

Ring After recently losing two very close family members, this is the happiest possible news that any of us could’ve wished for her.  Plus, who doesn’t like a good love story? Sail away on an amazing vacation cruise and gaze out at the beauty of the stars only to catch, out of the corner of your eye, the glimpse of another sparkly, shining bit of perfection and the love of your life down on one knee… it’s almost as if it was a story pulled from a romance novel. But no, this is her life; her very real life, her amazingly smart and lucky man, and her own incredible story.

Cruise (500x333)

Now, of course, I’m not at mercy to spill her full life story for the masses but one thing I can say is how truly happy I am for her, for him, and for their impending nuptials. That being said, I cannot help but set my mind into all things wedding related. Oh how I despise you yet love you, oh dear Pinterest. Yes, you all know exactly what kind of love-hate relationship I’m talking about here.

That inevitable excitement to find and pin spectacular ideas, crafts, recipes, designs, and more only to realize that you’ve essentially wasted hours upon hours of your time. Yes, that. Add to that the excitement of a recent engagement (and our own new house) and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. As amazing as Pinterest is, this time around, it failed me. Oddly enough, that was a good thing. It got me racking my own mind and I ended up thinking of a pretty neat idea. Insert cliche light bulb nod here –>

Disney Light Bulb (500x341)

Wanting to put together a classy little gift while still managing to keep it unique started off as a task much easier said than done. Of course, my little ones wanted in on the project, too, so keeping it kid friendly was making it a bit tricky. In the end, however, it was his proposal that rang the thinking bells – nautical themed! Of course, living by the shore for the majority of my life means that I have an infinite amount of beach themed crafts and goodies running through my mind at any given time. Once I decided on going that route, the rest was a breeze… or sea breeze!

This particular couple does a lot of travelling and I opted to tie that into the mix. Typically, when one goes on vacation, souvenirs are often brought home. Most of those, however, usually end up being goofy, odd items that get lost, misplaced, or tossed out over the course of time. I wanted to give them a way to hold on to these memories, those places, that adoration of travel, and this love for each other. Here are the basics:

  • Two different sized glass vases
  • Sand
  • Various seashells
  • Extra decorative items of your choice (I kept it simple with ribbon and an initial)

I started by putting the smaller vase inside the larger of the two and I partially filled them with sand from our local beach. After decorating it with various seashells, starfish, sand dollars and similar beach themed items, my work was done but theirs is just beginning.



DSCN9831 (500x375)



The idea behind it goes a little something like this… The local sand represents the foundation of their relationship and symbolizes that their life together began right here. Now, when I gift it to the couple, he will add a handful of sand (that he secretly brought home from their proposal vacation) to the center vase to signify their engagement and location thereof. From that point on, they can continually add in handful by handful of sand from each new venture they journey on together. And, one day, they can look back on a life well lived and the memories they’ve collected with each and every grain of sand.


Who would’ve thought that a little bit of dirt could, symbolically, mean so much?

Sandy Heart (500x333)

Congratulations Kelly & Mark!
Best wishes, always!


About Author

Randi is a stay-at-home mother to two wildly crazy little boys, in love with one hell of a great man, a hobbyist writer and, more or less, glued to her camera. In a world where making mud pies, searching for bugs and racing Matchbox cars have become her forte, her true passion can be found all around her (or attached to her hip) at any given moment - her family.


  1. What a super sweet way to document their engagement and life together. I wish I had a handful of sand from the beach where my husband proposed to me. I would have loved to create something as beautiful and unique as this thoughtful gift to your friend. : -)

  2. The vase gift not only looks fabulous but the symbolic nature of the sand that is in there now and will be placed in there as the years go by is just beautiful.

  3. That’s very touching. You are a good friend and a great gift giver. You did a such a nice and special job. A beach theme is fun for home decor, too, my parents had collected lobster traps, sea lanterns, and it made cool decor!

  4. That’s a great idea for weddings, and for memorable vacations or commemorable occasions. The ribbon and Initialled tag add a classy touch.

  5. That’s so lovely, what a wonderful gift to give. We spent 3 years in Hawaii and now live in Florida, I’m a sucker for nautical theme decor as well!

  6. You are really creative. I do not think that I would have been able to come up with such a inspirational gift as this. It is pretty,and I would love to receive this gift from you if I was getting married. You did a great job, and I am sure they will love your gift! Congrats to the Bride and Groom.

  7. what a great idea! i think it is very romantic to put the sand in the vase. and congratulations to your friend, sounds like she deserves some happiness in her life!

  8. What a great thoughtful friend you are. Crafty too! This will make such a fantastic gift. So thoughtful and special. Sounds to me like she has everything a girl could want. The love of her life and a great best friend.

  9. Best of luck to the happy couple! What a sweet, sentimental and symbolic gift to give and get! I just love it! Thanks for the idea.

  10. I wish Pinterest was around when I was planning our wedding. We did not have much money since we were so young and just starting out and ideas like these would have def helped out. Congrats to the happy couple and may they have MANY MANY happy years together.

  11. I think this is a wonderful sweet idea to do this. Reminders of the time spent together and the pretty things that touches their heart string when ever they look at it. Hope they have a happy and long life together.

  12. This is such a neat idea and I like the story behind it and The candle and the sand being the grains of their life together and that they can add sand from special places in their marriage, I like you idea and I also wish Kelly and Mark best wishes.

  13. What a great gift! I love how you tied their cruise and their special time into the perfect gift. I think it will be cherished for ages. Congrats to your friend!

  14. This is so awesome, I love this idea and I’mm sure so many others wish they had done something like this as well. You are so darn clever, I am just amazed by this and think this is one gift they will cherish. You’re brilliant!

  15. Congrats to the couple and kudos on your wonderfully creative vision to put this unique and specialized gift together which will continue to commemorate their life journey

  16. I love it! My sister recently took her family to florida where they visited several different beaches and she brought home shells and sand to do something similar. Thanks for sharing your great idea!

  17. I love beach themed decor, and it makes a nice gift for any age, couple, single! You can’t go wrong, if you are in doubt.

  18. Nice idea, you got me though….as I was reading I was just sure there was going to be a candle somewhere in that center glass vase with maybe something like lighting it on special occasions to let the light and the love shine through.

  19. What a great idea! My husband and I travel a lot and even though we have been married for ten years, this seems like something we could start for future trips.

  20. Congrats to your friends, I got married 5 years ago and I wished I had pinterest then. These vases are beautiful too.

  21. What a gorgeous present to give to the new couple. A vase inside another vase is so pretty and I like all of the items in the Vase. You did a good job, and this is a wonderful gift to give.

  22. This is a nice and personal kind of gift to keep the wonderful memories of a special time just buy looking at the decorated vase as a remembrance. Alot of time music or things bring back memories to our minds

  23. I’m not super big on the beach theme, but because it holds such beautiful memories, I think it is wonderful for them to have that reminder all the time of their love!

  24. Oh, you are such a romantic! What a sweet idea. I’m sure the lucky couple will love it–and you, for the thought and caring you put into it.

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