What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

What to wear to a beach wedding


You’re off to a beach wedding later this year.

Glorious sunshine.

Blue skies.

Turquoise waves lapping white sands.

There’s so much to look forward to, including planning your outfit! If you’re a bit lost at sea when it comes to what to wear to a beach wedding, read on for expert advice and top tips for perfect beachside styling.

Bride sitting on a beach wall

Complement the beach bride’s style

A beach bride is bound to be wearing something light and airy; a dress that flows freely in the warm sea breeze. It will often be silky and strappy and punctuated with sparkles that reflect the sunlight.

Beach brides tend to be cool and relaxed, often minimalistic and elegantly casual. If this is the case then you’ll be right to go down the same route with your own outfit.

You won’t feel comfortable if you’re out of place wearing something that’s overly ceremonial if the general style of the day is laid back and informal, which most beach weddings tend to be.

Get the colour spot-on

Bright and light is considered the order of the day for guest attire at a beach wedding. What better choice against a backdrop of white sands and crystal seas?

Before you go indulging your love for all things bright and beautiful though, do check for a set colour scheme, and think about complementing the bride’s style as we just discussed, as it’s always good practice to consider the bride’s colour palette. You don’t want to stand out too much after all!

“Always check for a set colour scheme, and think about complementing the bride’s
style and colour palette.”

Follow the beach wedding dress code

Whilst it’s rare, some beach weddings do veer off the norm and follow a formal or
semi-formal dress code, especially if the reception is booked for a resort ballroom or swanky restaurant. Be sure to dress for the individual occasion.

The invitation should provide clues as to the dress code you’ll be expected to follow.

Here’s what you might see, and what it usually means:

“Beach chic” – you’ll need to find common ground here between chic and casual. Go for something in between what you’d don for an evening out on a beach holiday, and what you’d wear to a traditional wedding at home. Remember it’s likely to be warm out there under the sun, so opting for a lightweight fabric is wise.

“Beach casual” – these weddings are usually held during the day. The beach casual dress code usually means easy-to-wear, comfy fabrics like cotton or linen, with sandals or flip-flops for both guys and girls. Think light and relaxed and you’ll nail it.

“Beach semi-formal” – generally a semi-formal seaside wedding will involve an evening ceremony on the beach with the reception directly afterwards. Lace, chiffon and organza cocktail style dresses are perfect for this type of wedding, and for the guys an open shirt with linen trousers is a great look. Remember that not all evenings abroad are balmy; sometimes that sea breeze that warmed your face during the day can turn a little chillier at night. So be sure to take a light jacket or wrap for when things cool down later in the evening.

“Beach formal” – again, as with semi-formal, this will usually involve a ceremony late afternoon or evening, so the same advice applies as to a jacket or wrap for when the breeze cools down. Think smart but comfortable and definitely dress for the weather. No bride or groom will expect their guests to turn up to a beach wedding in full formal attire, but they will expect male guests to avoid shorts. Jumpsuits and dresses are perfectly acceptable for ladies, whilst linen trousers, short sleeved shirts and summer suits are great for guys. Stiff fabrics should be avoided though, it’s just not beach style in anyone’s book, formal or not. Go for cool and flowing, but elegant. Be sure to avoid flip-flops or barefoot sandals too at a beach formal wedding; fancy sandals or low wedges will strike an ideal balance, with loafers for the men.

“The invitation should provide clues as to the dress code you’ll be expected to

Beach wedding sandals and woven hat

Choose the right footwear for a beach wedding

If the wedding is actually being held on the beach, then flat shoes are a must. You’re not going to look cool, calm and collected if you’re struggling to navigate the ups and downs of the sand!

A pair of fancy flip-flops or sparkly sandals makes the ideal choice. Barefoot sandals are another idea and will add a touch of boho-beach-chic to your outfit. Remember, anything that sparkles will catch the sunlight beautifully at a beach wedding.

If you’re off to a swish venue for the reception, you may want to take a change of
footwear with you, especially if you’re a glitzy heels type of person. Then again, if you’re a dancing queen, it may be just as well to stay in flats for the rest of the day.

For men, a smart pair of leather flip flops or sandals is a good way to go, or choose a light coloured loafer or boat shoe if it’s a more formal do.

Bride and Groom showing there beach wedding footwear

Always come prepared for a beach wedding!

Beach weddings are idyllic, but they can also be very hot and very, very sandy! Check the weather forecast for the destination, and be prepared.

Your beach wedding bag should contain deodorant, sunscreen, water and wipes – and definitely don’t leave home without your sunglasses! Some headwear may also be advisable if you are going to be directly under the sun.

When choosing your beach wedding outfit, think about whether it will show sweat stains, or if it will be damaged by sand or sunlight. Think comfortable, cool and ready to have fun in the sun!

Remember though that you’re going to be outside, so you will be exposed to all the
elements, including rain. You never know when a storm could creep up and surprise
everyone, so make sure your outfit won’t be damaged by water.

Planning a beach wedding?

If you are planning your own beach wedding and looking to source that extra-special dress, look no further than Lucy Can’t Dance. For unique wedding gowns that tick all the cool, free and flowing beach wedding boxes, Lucy has all the ideas you need. Book your appointment today!

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