What to Wear to a Beach Wedding (23 Top Tips Revealed + Expert Insights)

You just opened the mailbox and found a beautiful invitation… for a beach wedding! But now you’re facing that familiar question: what on earth should I wear?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Beach weddings are a blast, but finding the right outfit requires a little extra planning.

You don’t want to show up in a stuffy suit or a long, heavy dress, only to find yourself sinking in the sand. Thinking about practicalities like the heat, the wind, and what to wear on your feet is essential for enjoying the wedding comfortably.

Ready to find a beach wedding outfit that’s stylish, practical, and captures the magic of the occasion? Keep reading!

Look at the Invitation

The invitation is your secret weapon when deciding what to wear. It often hints at the dress code and overall vibe. Search for keywords like “casual”, “beach chic”, or “formal”. These words give you valuable clues.

Picture a “black-tie optional” wedding on the sand – you’ll probably want to swap your stilettos for elegant wedges!

Don’t forget to check for additional events, like a welcome party or a farewell brunch. This helps you plan additional outfits and ensures you’re ready for anything. Packing a variety of options ensures you’re prepared for all the festivities!

"Just because a wedding is at the beach doesn't mean that the couple won't dictate their own wedding style. The style of the invite--and its wording--should give you clues as to what to wear. 

Sometimes a dress code such as 'We invite our guests to wear white' will solve any mystery. Other times, you may have to infer from the language and tone of the invite what is best. If you're really unclear, it is thoughtful to ask the hosts whether they have a preference."

Karen Bussen | Entertaining Expert | Exclusive Designer for Weddings by Palladium

Pack for Multiple Events

A beach wedding weekend often involves more than just the ceremony and reception. Think welcome drinks, a rehearsal dinner, or maybe even a post-wedding beach picnic! Packing for multiple events is key to staying stylish and comfortable throughout your trip.

Instead of bringing your entire wardrobe, choose versatile pieces you can mix and match. A flowy maxi dress can transition from day to night with a simple change of accessories.

A classic button-down shirt can be dressed up with a skirt or dressed down with shorts. Smart packing lets you enjoy all the events without stressing about what to wear!

Choose Comfortable and Appropriate Footwear First

When it comes to beach weddings, lightweight fabrics are your best friend! Think breezy cotton, linen, or chiffon. These fabrics allow your skin to breathe and keep you cool under the sun.

Imagine yourself dancing the night away under the stars — a light and airy dress ensures you stay comfortable and avoid feeling overheated. You can find a variety of styles in lightweight fabrics, from maxi dresses to cocktail dresses.

Choose a style that flatters your body type and fits the wedding’s dress code.

Focus on Practical and Pretty Clothes

When dressing for a beach wedding, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone—you need clothes that are both cute and functional. Trust me when I say that the combo of sunshine, sand, and sea breeze calls for a special sort of wardrobe engineering.

Why?

  • Easy Movement: You’ll want something that allows you to move freely—maybe dance a little or stroll along the beach without any hassle.
  • Style Meets Comfort: A flowy maxi dress or a breathable linen shirt paired with dressy shorts can look stunning and won’t leave you sweating through the ceremony.

I think the key here is to choose outfits you feel great in. I mean, there’s nothing worse than tugging at a too-tight dress when you should be enjoying the wedding feast!

Lightweight or Breathable Fabrics

Ever been to a beach event in something heavy? Yeah, not fun! The right fabric choice is crucial for beach wedding attire.

Here are a couple of favorites:

  • Linen: It’s practically the unofficial fabric of beach weddings—light, breezy, and it keeps you cool.
  • Cotton: Breathes beautifully, making it ideal for sunny seaside settings.

Picture this: a gentle sea breeze playing with the soft fabric of your dress as you mingle or take beachside pictures. It’s not only about comfort but also about enjoying the day to the fullest without worrying about the heat.

Dress in Layers

At the beach, the weather can change quicker than a DJ switches tracks! That’s why layering is your best friend:

  • Start with a Base: Something cool and light, like a cotton sundress or a breezy shirt.
  • Add a Light Sweater or Shawl: Perfect for when the sun sets or if there’s a cooler breeze.
  • Consider a Stylish Hat or Scarf: These can offer additional warmth if needed and up your fashion game.

I remember one beach wedding that transitioned into a cooler evening. Those who layered could just throw on a shawl and continue enjoying the party outdoors. Always be the one who’s prepared, not the one who shivers through the speeches!

Maxi or Tea-Length Dress

Choosing the right length for a beach wedding dress is more than a style preference—it’s about practicality too. Maxi or tea-length dresses strike the perfect balance. Why are they ideal for the beach?

Here’s the scoop:

  • Comfort and Coverage: They keep you comfortable and protected whether you’re sitting, standing, or walking along the shore. Plus, they prevent any wardrobe malfunctions on windy days.
  • Elegance and Ease: These dresses flow beautifully in the beach breeze and are easy to move in, which is great for a setting that can be a bit uneven like sand.

I personally adore a good maxi dress. It’s like a secret weapon that’s both incredibly stylish and surprisingly practical. You look put together without much effort, which is exactly what you want at a beach wedding!

"Dresses could be cocktail length or long. Don’t wear a suit or anything too structured. Maxi dresses are the rage right now and easy to find everywhere from H&M and Zara for good prices to higher-end stores. Check the weather and bring a cashmere wrap in case! This is a staple item that everyone should have in their wardrobe!"

Susie Coelho | TV Personality | Lifestyle Guru | Entrepreneur | Founder and Creative Director, House of Sussex | Author, Style Your Dream Wedding

Linen Suit

For men, a linen suit is a classic choice for a beach wedding. Linen is a natural fiber known for its breathability and relaxed look. Opt for a light color like beige, cream, or light gray. These shades reflect sunlight and help you stay cool.

A linen suit can be paired with a crisp white shirt and loafers or boat shoes for a polished yet comfortable ensemble.

Flowy Skirt and Wrap Dresses

When you’re at a beach wedding, embracing the charm of flowy skirts and wrap dresses can make you feel like part of the beautiful setting.

Here’s what makes them such a fantastic choice:

  • Versatility and Flair: Flowy skirts can be paired with different tops to suit the specific event or time of day, and wrap dresses adjust to flatter every body type.
  • Wind and Weather Friendly: Both flowy skirts and wrap dresses handle a seaside breeze beautifully, allowing you to move freely without worrying about your outfit.

Wrap dresses, in particular, have always been my personal favorite for any outdoor event. They’re the epitome of dressing smart—easy to wear, stylish, and they adapt to your body’s needs throughout the event. Pair these with some cute sandals or wedges, and you’re good to go!

Pastel or Vibrant Colored Outfits with Bold Patterns

When dressing for a beach wedding, don’t shy away from colors that reflect the joyous occasion. Pastels and vibrant tones are not just beautiful—they’re practically made for sunny beach settings. And let’s not forget bold patterns that can really make your outfit pop.

Here’s why they work so well:

  • Match the Scenery: These colors and patterns echo the natural beauty of a beach environment. Think about how stunning turquoise or coral looks against the sand and sea.
  • Stand Out Beautifully: Both pastels and vibrant colors ensure you look fresh and lively. Bold patterns add a touch of playfulness that’s perfect for a celebratory atmosphere.

If you wear a lemon yellow floral dress or a sky-blue suit, you’re not just dressed for a wedding; you’re dressed for a beach wedding.

Wide Brim Hat and Sunglasses

A wide-brimmed hat is not only a stylish accessory but also a practical necessity for a beach wedding. It provides shade from the sun and adds a touch of glamour to your outfit.

Choose a hat made from breathable materials like straw or cotton. Consider a hat with a colorful ribbon or embellishments to complement your outfit.

Sunglasses are a must-have for any beach wedding. They shield your eyes from the sun’s glare and complete your stylish beach look. Choose a pair that complements your face shape and personal style. Consider polarized lenses for optimal clarity and UV protection.

Light Sweater or Shawl

Evenings by the beach can get chilly, so it’s always wise to pack a light scarf or shawl. Choose a scarf in a lightweight fabric like silk or cotton, and opt for a color or pattern that complements your outfit.

A scarf not only provides warmth but also adds a touch of elegance and can complete your beach wedding attire.

Khaki Pants and Hawaiian Shirt

Embrace the casual, breezy vibe of a beach wedding with the classic combination of khaki pants and a Hawaiian shirt. This pairing is not just about comfort; it’s a style statement that says you’re ready to celebrate in a laid-back, tropical setting.

Here’s why this duo works:

  • Perfect for Casual Weddings: They strike the right balance between casual and dressy, making them ideal for less formal beach weddings.
  • Fun and Festive: The vibrant prints of a Hawaiian shirt add a playful splash of color and pattern, which is always a hit at a beach-themed celebration.

It’s effortless yet appropriately festive, letting you enjoy the occasion to the fullest. And hey, who doesn’t love the fun vibe a Hawaiian shirt brings?

Stylish Flat Sandals

Skip the stilettos and embrace comfortable footwear with a pair of stylish flat sandals. Sand and high heels don’t mix well! Opt for sandals with embellishments, metallic accents, or vibrant colors to elevate your look.

For men, boat shoes or loafers are a great choice for a beach wedding.

Cocktail Length Dress and Dressy Shorts

For those looking for a smart-casual option that fits beautifully within the coastal setting, cocktail-length dresses and dressy shorts are perfect.

Here’s how they make their mark:

  • Sophistication With a Twist: These choices offer a casual elegance suitable for a festive beach atmosphere without going too formal.
  • Stay Cool and Chic: The shorter length ensures you stay cool, while premium fabrics keep the look chic and suitable for a special occasion.

Statement and Stacked Jewelry, Mix Metals

A beach wedding is the perfect opportunity to have fun with your accessory choices. Statement and stacked jewelry, as well as mixed metals, can really set your outfit apart.

These kinds of embellishments embody your personal style and add an exquisite touch to any wedding attire.

Here’s why this approach works wonders:

  • Eye-catching Details: Big statement pieces or layered fine jewelry can catch the light and add sparkle to your beachfront ensemble.
  • Versatile and Vibrant: Mixing metals, such as combining gold and silver, provides a contemporary feel that works well against the natural backdrop of the sea and sand.

Loafers or Relaxed Footwear

When it comes to footwear for a beach wedding, comfort is key. Loafers offer a stylish and comfortable option for men, while women can choose from a variety of relaxed footwear options, such as espadrilles, sandals, or ballet flats.

Avoid high heels, as they can sink into the sand and make it difficult to walk. If you’re unsure about the terrain, opt for wedges, as they offer more stability than stilettos.

Sunscreen

Don’t let a sunburn ruin your beach wedding fun! Sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed areas of skin, and reapply throughout the day, especially after swimming. Pack a travel-sized sunscreen to keep in your bag for easy access.

Clutch or Small Bag

A clutch or small bag is a practical and stylish accessory for a beach wedding. Choose a bag that’s large enough to hold your essentials, such as your phone, keys, and sunscreen. You can find clutches and small bags in a variety of materials, from straw to leather, so you can choose a style that complements your outfit.

Don’t Wear Anything Too Revealing

While a beach wedding might seem like a casual affair, it’s important to consider the dress code and err on the side of modesty. Avoid wearing anything too revealing, such as short skirts, low-cut tops, or see-through fabrics.

Opt for clothing that’s stylish and appropriate for the occasion, showing respect for the couple and the setting.

Balance Is Key

Finding the right balance between style and practicality is key to mastering beach wedding attire. Consider the venue, dress code, and weather while choosing an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

By prioritizing both fashion and function, you’ll be ready to celebrate the happy couple in style.


More Insights From the Experts

“In general, stay away from white. You don’t want the bridal party to think you’re trying to outshine them! You can, however, take cues from the invitation colors (or ask what the wedding color palette will be) if you’d like to coordinate your look. This way you’ll look great if you take Instagram photos from the party!”

Karen Bussen | Entertaining Expert | Exclusive Designer for Weddings by Palladium

“My advice is to start at the bottom and work your way up, the opposite of most wedding outfits. If you are on the sand, you can be barefoot. Sand, weather, and tide permitting. This means a shorter dress is in order. Think tea length, not too short. If there is an ocean breeze, you could expose more than you want.”

— Diane Lloyde Roth | Stylist | Owner, Diane Fashion

“I highly recommend a more casual and breezy cocktail or tea-length cocktail dress, so you don’t have to worry about the sand getting all over your dress. A beach wedding is a perfect time to play around with fun colors and bold prints. You can also add some cute shell accessories to finish the look. Make sure to wear flats or a small wedge if you know you’ll be walking in the sand!”

— Greta Schmid | Founder & CEO, Ragdoll PR


Frequently Asked Questions

What color should you not wear to a beach wedding?

It is advisable not to wear white to any wedding, in general. While white is a classic wedding color, it is traditionally reserved for the bride and can take away from the bride’s special moment. 

Similarly, it’s best to avoid wearing anything too bright or bold, as this can detract from the overall ambiance of the wedding.

If you’re unsure what to wear, consider reaching out to the bride or groom for advice or take inspiration from the colors and styles they’ve chosen for their special day.

Can you wear silk to a beach wedding?

Sure, you can absolutely wear silk to a beach wedding! In fact, silk is a great option for a beach wedding as it’s lightweight and breathable, making it a perfect choice for a warm outdoor event. 

However, it’s important to keep the dress code in mind and choose a style that is appropriate for the occasion. If the wedding is more casual, you can opt for a silk sundress or a loose-fitting silk blouse paired with shorts or a skirt.

If it’s a more formal event, a silk maxi dress or a silk jumpsuit would be a great choice.

What should I bring with me to a beach wedding?

Attending a beach wedding is a great opportunity to relax, have fun and celebrate the love of the couple. Here are some essentials you should pack to make the most of the day:

• Sunscreen
• Sunglasses
• Hat
• Light and comfortable clothing
• A wrap or cover-up
• Comfortable footwear
• A small bag
• Camera


Final Thoughts 

As you decide what to wear to the beach wedding, aim for a balance between casual and chic. This isn’t just about looking good; it’s about feeling good too.

With the right outfit, you’ll be able to move freely and enjoy the event to its fullest, from the sandy walks to the dance floor.

So pack your favorite beach-friendly outfit, slip into some comfy sandals, and get ready to celebrate.

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Jahrine is a seeker of knowledge and personal growth. When not exploring the worlds of self-help books and spirituality, she enjoys reading dark fiction and spending time with her beloved dogs. With diverse interests, including career development, travel, and poetry, Jahrine is constantly expanding her horizons and seeking new experiences.