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What to Wear To a Beach Wedding

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

Let's be honest – from the moment you got your invitation to a destination wedding in an exotic locale, you envisioned yourself in a sundress & flip-flops, catching some rays while the bride- & groom-to-be tie the knot. If only dressing for a wedding on the beach was that easy. Whether in Mexico or the Hawaii, there are certain factors you need to consider before picking out your outfit for this special occasion. Between heat, sand & wind, you're battling conditions that will eliminate certain apparel options. So what's the ideal ensemble? Follow this guide & you'll be simultaneously comfortable & stylish from the moment the ceremony starts to the "I do's."

Read cues on the invitation The invitation can tell you a lot about how to dress. TLC explained that a wedding is typically only black tie if the invitation clearly indicates it. The same goes for laid-back attire: The invitation will state that shorts, sandals & other casual items are acceptable. There also may still be some insight into the climate that could prove helpful in deciding on your outfit, such as high humidity or sweltering temperatures. You might want to look into the dress code of the particular venue – for example, five star Caribbean resorts might require certain attire.

Fool-proof ideas Sometimes specific guidelines are not clearly spelled out on the invitation. In those cases, it's best to just stick with a tried-and-true ensemble.

TLC explained that for ladies, a dress that falls between mid-calf & several inches above the knee typically works for any wedding. Or try a maxidress in an ocean-inspired color, such as seafoam or coral. Accessorize with gold faceted jewelry that glints in the sunlight, but don't select anything too garish – this is the bride's day, after all. If you decide to keep your baubles simple, you could carry an ornate clutch embellished with beading or other intricate details. Lucky magazine suggested going for eclectic boho accessories if the wedding is in an exotic locale, like Tahiti. However, you should always decide between more vibrant garments or accessories – both could look over-the-top & distracting.

When you're choosing shoes, consider a pair that's beach-friendly. Skinny stilettos aren't practical, as you're likely to sink into the sand, but flat sandals are a safe bet. If you just can't forego the extra boost because your dress is long, you'll still get added height & adequate support in a low wedge. Lucky magazine recommended choosing a dress that's shorter in the front & longer in the back so you can show off your fancy footwear.

If you're jetting to Jamaica or somewhere else equally hot, stay away from heavier fabrics since you don't want to be sweating up a storm. Instead, opt for a gown in a light, flowy fabric that will keep you cool & move nicely in the ocean breeze.

According to TLC, men have it easy choosing something to wear for these occasions. Colorful madras & pastel seersucker suits are fun for a beach wedding, as long as you're bold enough to sport them. However, the source warned that it's better to stay away from Hawaiian prints, even if you are attending a wedding on the Big Island. Unless the invitation explicitly says that flip-flops are OK, they're probably not appropriate, even if the ceremony is low-key. Whatever shirt you're wearing, TLC recommended following the groom's lead for tucking it in.

When you're still not certain If you still have any doubts, TLC suggested asking the maid of honor or the best man. Beach wedding attire can be ambiguous, but no one wants to walk the fine line between effortless casual-chic & under-dressed. The maid of honor & best man usually have to be informed on these aspects of the wedding, & consulting them is a much better option than bothering the bride or the groom during such a busy, stressful time.

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