It’s the most wonderful time of the year—wedding season. Warm weather means invitations arriving at your doorstep, and swoon-worthy celebrations filling up your weekends. Odds are at least one of the nuptials on your social calendar takes place on the beach. After all, what could be finer than the sound of wedding bells, toes in the sand and beautiful seaside vistas? But before you get to enjoy the salt air and Tiki-drink toasts, you’ll have to figure out what to wear. Allow us to steer you to shore. We’ve got a sea of women’s beach wedding attire recommendations to help you make a splash.
Dresses for a Wedding on the Beach: Where To Start
Whether you’re the one getting married or a guest, dresses are a key component of women’s beach wedding attire. They’re breezy and festive—perfect for ringing in a new chapter or cheering on a loved one as they say “I do.” Read on for some basic ground rules to keep in mind as you find the perfect dresses for a wedding on the beach.
Bridal Dresses: What to Consider for the Coastline
When browsing bridal dresses for a beach wedding, finding the balance between practicality and style is everything. The number one thing you’ll want to consider is how much of your wedding will take place on the sand. If the majority of your festivities will be oceanside, skip the ball gown. Instead, opt for more comfortable beach wedding attire like an a-line dress or a sheath silhouette. That way, you won’t have to worry about the layers of your gown blowing in the wind or collecting debris.
Feel free to go more casual than you would if you’re getting married in a ballroom or another formal venue. Get ready to say “I do” in an eyelet midi frock. Explore the little white dress trend in a lace-covered cocktail dress. You can always dress up your bridal outfit with a veil or hair accessories. Not a fan of the traditional white-wedding look? Complement your paradisal surroundings with a blush, tiered maxi or an almond-tone off-the-shoulder dress. Best wishes!
Stylist Tip: Wearing a long dress? Here’s a hack to avoid tripping while you make your grand entrance. Be sure to inform your alterations professional that you’ll be walking down the aisle on the beach. Your feet sink as you walk in the sand, so you’ll need a higher hem than you’d need on solid ground.
Your Guest Guide to Dresses
We’re about to get swept up in the high tide of beach wedding guest dresses. But first, we have a few quick tips for picking out the right dress. Unless otherwise stated on the invitation, avoid red and white dresses. Red is sometimes worn by the bride for traditional cultural weddings. Happy couples also share vows in tones of cream, so steer clear of those hues as well. Though traditionally a wedding guest staple, wearing a little black dress is a no-go for women’s beach wedding attire. Black appears harsh against the washed-out colors of the coastline. If you prefer neutrals, seek out medium blue or tan choices instead.
Here’s our last quick tip regarding dresses for a wedding on the beach: Even though you’re spending a day by the waves, avoid beach cover-ups or overly casual styles. Remember, you’re there to celebrate a milestone, so it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Beach Wedding Dress Codes, Simplified
In the world of women’s wedding attire, the possibilities are infinite. Beach wedding attire is no exception, even though these ceremonies have a reputation as casual affairs. Every couple has their own expectations for what they’d like attendees to wear on their special day. For this reason, our number one recommendation for what to wear to a beach wedding is to first check with the nearlyweds directly. This is a must if the invitation doesn’t mention a specific dress code. Get your questions in as early as possible as a courtesy to the couple. Plus, that way you’ll have plenty of time to find your ideal outfit, and even confer with other guests. Once you know the expected attire, you can refine your search accordingly. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most frequent dress codes for coastal weddings.
Beach Formal Wedding Attire
Did you know that not all beach weddings occur on the actual waterside? This is especially true of many formal ceremonies. They might take place indoors at a luxurious beachfront rental or under a nautical pavilion, safe from the sand and waves. For these celebrations, beach formal wedding attire is a shore bet for what to wear to a beach wedding. Similar to formal wedding attire on land, the beach equivalent calls for dressing up without going over the top. Up the elegance with tea-length or floor-length dresses and jumpsuits. Set a sophisticated scene with solid hues like stormy blue. Want to pop against all of the cool tones and neutrals of your beachy surroundings? Fire things up with flamingo pink.
If you choose to play with pattern, balance it out with luxury fabrics such as silk and seer-suckered Pima cotton. Now for the finishing touches. Wearing pearls is the perfect way to appear formal yet on-theme for formal beach weddings. Opt for dangly earrings or a delicate necklace to feel like you’ve just stepped out of the ocean in style.
Semi-formal or Beachy Cocktail Attire
Beachy cocktail attire and semi-formal beach wedding attire for guests are usually one and the same. For this type of wedding dress code, find the middle ground between formal and casual. Give a midi-length dress in a slinky slip silhouette a whirl. Or, if your power outfit involves pants, opt for wide-leg trousers in a high-waist cut and a coordinating blazer. You can even get away with a romper if it’s elegant enough. Just be sure to check whether the length is appropriate for sitting, standing and dancing the night away. This dress code also allows for incorporating more prints. Stay up to date with summer 2022 fashion trends by slipping into a short-sleeved frock with watercolor flowers. If you want to keep your look elevated, stick to lighter hues. Acceptable colors include seafoam green, eggshell blue, driftwood brown and sun-bleached coral.
Semi-formal beach weddings are more likely to take place near the surf. This is the time to prioritize breathability and comfort in your clothing. Leave the tight-fitting outfits and thick synthetic fabrics in your closet for another time. Instead, rely on looser silhouettes and flowy fibers to match the balmy beach climate. With beachy cocktail attire, you’ll have it made in the shade.
Casual Beach Wedding Attire
Last but not least, it’s time to wade into the waters of casual beach wedding attire. These are the sandy nuptials that probably came to mind when thinking about what to wear to a beach wedding. This is the place where your sunglasses are your go-to accessory, and—pending approval from the betrothed—shoes are optional. Throw on a romper in a tropical print to mirror the swaying palm trees in the background. Embrace bright tones like canary yellow and magenta to show your joy for the happy couple.
You can also dip your toes into trendy touches. Try a sundress with tasteful cut-outs at the waist or dare to bare one shoulder in asymmetric sleeves. Don’t hesitate to take your neckline off the shoulder by choosing a convertible bra. For time out on the sand, avoid long hemlines and select at or above the knee silhouettes. Be sure to wear an ensemble you love but that you won’t mind getting a splash of seawater on. You’re all set to have fun in the sun while your loved ones tie the knot.
Women’s Beach Chic Attire for Weddings
Beach chic attire may be just what you need for seaside weddings and ceremonies. This trend is an offshoot of the chic style aesthetic, providing a coastal approach to elegance. Lovers of this style usually lean into color, skip accessories and embrace sleek sartorial choices. Think of this as clothes you could also wear to brunch at a trending oceanview bistro. Or, an outfit you’d wear on a fancy night out during a tropical vacation. Envision a pastel jumpsuit and heels with a clear strap, or a bias-cut maxi dress and lace-up sandals. Get ready to be the coolest guest in the crowd with your beach chic wedding attire.
What To Wear to a Beach Wedding for Women Over 50
If you’re wondering what to wear to a beach wedding for women over 50, the answer is simple. No matter your age, you can enjoy every type of women’s beach wedding attire out there. Take a page out of Jennifer Lopez’s book and set trends at any stage of life. Rock an embroidered handkerchief dress with a deep V or curve-defining flared pants with a bodysuit. But if you prefer an understated approach to beach wedding attire, we’ve got you covered. Slip into a sleeveless, a-line frock with a bateau neckline. Keep your hemline just below your knees, so you feel covered without overheating. Incorporating a boho style balloon-sleeve silhouette will give you the arm coverage you prefer in a snap.
Stylist Tip: Attending nuptials under the hot coastal sun calls for giving your skin extra TLC. Guarding your skin from the sun is important at any age. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, women approaching 50 should take extra care. In addition to sunscreen, consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat for additional shade. Now you can stay protected from sun rays while championing a high-fashion accessory choice.
Shoes for a Beach Wedding
You’ve decrypted the women’s beach wedding attire dress code except for one key component: shoes. Don’t worry, we didn’t forget. When it comes to shoes to wear to a beach wedding, it all depends on where the ceremony is. If the event is indoors, you can wear anything from high heels to flats. But if you’re going to be traversing dunes or avoiding stepping on shells, leave the stilettos at home.
Sandals are your best friend for a beach casual style. Kick on a pair with a back strap to keep your feet from slipping. Show your personality through fun details like braided straps or bow embellishments. If you feel stable in heels, stick to wedges or block heels at a two-inch height or less. This way, you won’t have to worry about how to make your heels more comfortable. From head to toe, you’re ready to make waves.
Beach Wedding Attire for Women: Destination Weddings
A beach wedding already feels like a small escape from your daily routine. A destination wedding is the icing on the cake. Take the opportunity to switch up your style for the occasion. Ready to take a flight of fashion? Come explore the beach wedding attire we’re loving for our top three destination wedding spots.
Hawaiian Wedding Guest Dresses
Hawaii remains a frequently booked destination wedding choice. If you’re in the U.S., it’s a passport-free flight, and the islands have a world-renowned lush landscape and rich culture. Mirror the tropical flora in women’s beach wedding attire with eye-catching colors and nature-inspired patterns. Stand out in a spaghetti-strap dress with a joyful blue parrot print. Pop on beaded earrings in the same color story, and finish off the outfit with a wickerwork handbag. With these Hawaiian wedding guest dresses, you’re sure to have big love for your stay on the Big Island.
Stylist Tip: Hawaii is the fourth most popular U.S. wedding destination while also being the smallest state on the list. Though this can mean positive things for local vendors and entertainers, the wedding industry also contributes to social and ecological hardships. While visiting the island for a wedding, strive to reduce your footprint. Try shopping locally, cleaning up after yourself while in nature and respecting native peoples and customs.
Beach Wedding Attire for Mexico
From Cancun to Cabo, Mexico has no shortage of beautiful destination wedding locales and upscale resorts. If you’re attending a wedding at one of these private spots, it’s time to put your formal beach wedding attire knowledge to the test. Earn a sanding ovation in a sunflower-yellow frock with a tie-waist and chandelier earrings. While indoors, go classic with solid-toned pumps. When the party’s over, kick off your shoes and hit the surf with an easy pair of slides. If the wedding is at a smaller beach, pick a beach-chic style. Combine a cropped orange cinched-hem blouse with a high-waisted fuchsia skirt. Que bonita.
What To Wear to a Beach Wedding in the Mediterranean
For the jet-setting wedding guest, the beaches of the Mediterranean are a dream destination. Here, we recommend embracing any hue except for blue. Who can compete with those famous azure sea tones, anyway? Instead, pick colors that’ll sizzle against that backdrop. Do this through color matching and seeking complementary colors that contrast with the vista. Try a peachy ribbed-knit dress with a wide v-neck for a look inspired by European fashion. Add kelly green heels and a crossbody purse to keep a pocket phrase book on hand. If you’re in the French Riviera, step into a French style with romantic flutter sleeves and simple gold accessories. We’ve taken you on a sunny tour of what to wear to a beach wedding. Now it’s time we round out this sartorial love story with tips for acing beach wedding style on colder shores.
What To Wear to a Cold Beach Wedding: Celebrate Shiver-Free
Not every coastline wedding is all sun and games. Despite year-round chilly climates, Ireland and the Northern California coast are favorite beach wedding destinations. Spots like Martha’s Vineyard in the off-season or Australia in July will require you to bundle up as well. If this is on your itinerary, you’ll need to figure out what to wear to a cold beach wedding.
First, set the tone with your color palette. Instead of surrounding yourself in the light tones and baby pastels of a warm beach wedding, opt for moodier hues. Burnt sienna and plum purple top our list for a dark academia twist. Maintain the beachy aesthetic with floral patterns and preppy style prints like polka dots. Now for the cozy part. Layer your look with a neutral jacket like a trench coat to block out the wind. Then, protect your feet from cold sand in closed-toed shoes such as Chelsea boots. Teeth still chattering? Tuck a couple of hand warmers into your coat pocket to keep you warm while the newlyweds say, “I do.”
Interested in adding women’s beach wedding attire to your wardrobe? We have a proposal for you. Enlist the help of our expert stylists and take your style quiz to get started. Five curated items will arrive at your home that you can try before you buy. Keep what you love and return the rest. As always, shipping and returns are on us.