Place cards were placed on mini-Adirondack chairs that guests could later use as frames. I then used a huge bag of sand and made a "beach" on the table. I placed paper umbrellas typically used for drinks into the top of the chair. Shells were hot-glued onto long, thin pieces of balsa wood to create a border on the table. Everyone easily found their names, as they were lined up in alphabetical order.
Centerpieces were glass vases filled with blue sand and shells. A white taper candle was placed in the center. I tied raffia around the vase to embellish it, yet still keeping it masculine. I had my friend purchase votive candle holders that were light blue sand pails with carved out tropical designs; these illuminated when the tea lights were lit. White dendrobium orchid heads were purchased and shipped over from Hawaii, then scattered around the centerpieces on the tables. All were placed on a lauhala woven mat brought home from Hawaii, and shells were added as a final touch.
I made a card/cash box for collection. This is much easier than having someone in charge of collecting and holding these all night.
A Bar Mitzvah boy at his reception does a candle-lighting. So, to add a nice touch and keep within the theme, I used white tapers, mini surfboards, raffia, and wooden letters that I painted. I placed these in small glass taper holders. I decorated the table with fish nets, shells, etc.
The guest book was actually a wake board and Sharpies. This way, he has something he can keep and hang in his room, which is also beach themed.
Little touches of shell candles with shell holders and orchids were placed around the room.