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The Ultimate Beach Wedding Attire Guide

Here is the ultimate guide to beach wedding attire in 2021. If you are a beach wedding guest, you may find yourself struggling to find what to wear to the coastal event.

couple on beach

Dealing with sand, water, and sunscreen are the last things you want when dressing up for a formal event, so here are some of our tips for what to wear to a beach wedding. 

What Is a Beach Wedding?

A beach wedding can be anything from a destination wedding, a seaside reception, or a oceanside ceremony.

Anything that is close to a beach or takes place on the beach should be considered a “beach wedding.”

wedding on beach

A beautiful beach wedding can feel like you are going on a vacation when you attend it. The only difference is that guests are expected to dress appropriately for a wedding. You can’t go to a beach wedding in your bathing suit, you must dress up respectfully, as you were invited to the bride and groom’s special day!

Depending on the beach venue, the beach wedding attire rules will vary. Usually the couple or the wedding planner will suggest a dress code on the invitation to the beach wedding event. If it is not listed on the wedding invitation, then you may be puzzled on which clothes are suitable to wear. 

A tropical wedding can be a dream to attend. It is important to remember that although these weddings are fun to go to, the wedding is all about the couple and you should be respectful to whichever attire they wish you to wear to the event. 

What Type of Attire Should I Wear to a Beach Wedding?

If you are looking for the best beach wedding outfit, we have you covered. Depending on the dress code of the event, there are different quality options that you can choose from. From formal gowns to comfortable and customizable clothing options, there are different outfits to wear to a beach wedding. 

beach paradise

For a beach ceremony the attire is usually dressy casual, as guests will have to walk through sand towards the ceremony space. Having a more casual wedding allows the guests to match the relaxed vibe of the surroundings of the ocean and wear different beach themed outfits. 

Many couples getting married on the beach will dress less formally – a beach wedding dress might be shorter, lighter, and less formal than a church wedding dress.

Dressy casual beach wedding attire can be described as semi formal or casual. Although this is the usual attire for beach weddings, it does not mean that all beach weddings are this way.

If the bride and groom have specified in their invitation, on social media, or in person that the attire should be formal, you should respect their wishes and dress accordingly. 

Formal Beach Wedding Attire

For a formal beach wedding, the attire may be somewhat difficult. For men, you have to wear black tie attire which means a full suit with a jacket.

wedding ring in sand

You may opt for a lighter fabric suit so that you are not too warm with the summer temperatures. 

Formal beach wedding attire for women often means resort wear gowns in different color options and formal sandals.

Oftentimes the most difficult part of finding what to wear is finding acceptable footwear options. Sand is hard to walk in when you have closed toe or high heel shoes. 

Evening weddings are more likely to have formal attire than daytime weddings. A formal wedding will usually indicate on the invitation that guests should wear black tie attire or formal attire. 

Semi Formal Beach Wedding Attire

There are a variety of options for semi formal attire for beaches. You should stick with a classic, coastal style for your outfit inspiration. Semi formal is a step up from casual wear, but has a more elegant feel to the reception.

wedding party beach

Semi-formal beach wedding attire for men typically means a suit rather than a tux, and you may even be able to forego the jacket. You can also be more creative in style, colors, and accessories. For women, breezy maxi dresses are a good choice, or other cocktail attire.

The wedding party will probably be wearing long gowns and full suits, so you should mimic what they are wearing so you do not feel underdressed.

Little touches like beachy accessories, formal sandal shoes (no flip flops), or lighter linen fabrics will make your look more suitable for an oceanside wedding. 

Beach Wedding Casual Attire

The most typical attire for a beach wedding is dressy casual. This usually means that lighter fabrics and brighter colors are the go-to look for common beach weddings. Style gurus will say that colorful, resort-ready styles are perfect for casual beach weddings. 

couple casual on beach

Think of what you would consider “beach style.” This usually button up white shirts, or tropical accessories with lots of color. You may also think of lighter fabrics like linen or cotton. This style of dress is common for outdoor weddings.

These styles can be applied to a casual wedding setting. Think of what you would wear to a fancy dinner on a cruise or at a resort, and that should be the goal for more casual beach wedding attire.

We still recommend avoiding flip flops and choosing a nicer sandal, however. 

What Should Women and Men Wear to a Beach Wedding?

Men and women have different styles that they are more likely to wear to a wedding. Typically women should wear a dress or skirt to a more formal event, and men should wear a suit or a tuxedo.

bride and groom

With these differences, here are some separate suggestions for what to wear to a beach wedding for women and men.

Beach Wedding Attire for Women

Beach wedding guests who are women should stick to colorful and light, breezy fabrics for outfit inspiration. You should not wear a simple black dress to a beach wedding.

Better choices for women are lighter colors and breathable fabrics that will help you not sweat in the summertime heat.

woman at beach wedding

Usually beach weddings happen in the summer months, so style your outfit similar to what you would wear for any other summer wedding. 

Beach wedding dresses for guests should be colorful and breezy. A perfect choice would be a maxi dress because it is a long gown but it is also very comfortable to wear.

If you think you may get cold later in the evening, you can choose to wear a shawl over your shoulders. Other wedding guest dresses that may work are asymmetrical dresses, or you can even choose to wear a skirt with a dressy top.

If you do not want to wear a dress or a skirt to a beach wedding, another great option for women is to wear a romper.

Rompers are usually pretty outfits for warm weather that are a connected shirt with pants.

beautiful beach wedding

These rompers can come in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles. Whichever style you choose, rompers are easily dressed up or down depending on what kind of attire the wedding calls for. 

One major issue for women with beach weddings is finding the right pair of shoes. Dressy sandals work better than heels in this type of situation.

Open-toe shoes are also a good option due to the fact that sand is annoying to remove from closed toe shoes. You should make sure that you are wearing flat shoes too, as sand is difficult to walk through.


Beach Wedding Attire for Men

Not sure what to wear to a beach wedding as a male guest? Don’t worry, we have you covered on multiple outfit ideas for men to wear.

You can experiment with different types of fabrics for a coastal wedding. Patterns like a seersucker suit jacket or a wool suit jacket may be a different style that you can rock.

Match with a vest or a slim seersucker pant and you have a perfect formal beach look! Seersucker is a linen fabric with light blue stripes. 

men wedding guests

Another idea for men is to wear a button-up white shirt with khaki pants for a casual look. Some men will get hot having to wear a fit suit jacket, blazer, or long-sleeved shirt in the Summer temperatures.

Pink shirts are also a great look with khaki pants if you want a more colorful option.

Other than khakis, men can also wear cream or white pants with their suit jackets. By wearing a lighter color, you will stand out. Y

ou can pair these lighter colored suits with prints and patterns that are more experimental. 

Other than clothing, men also need to think about their footwear options. Loafers may get sand in them, but if you must wear a closed toe option to a more formal wedding, opt for a pair of deck shoes.

These shoes are meant for boating and they will fit the occasion of the wedding. 

wedding footwear

Overall, men should look for more lightweight fabrics when choosing their wedding outfit.

Finding the perfect suit jacket, pants, and shoes is all up to what you feel most comfortable in. You will be dancing the night away, so it is best to choose the most breathable fabric that you will feel comfortable in. 

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Caroline Kinsley

Caroline Kinsley is a recent graduate from the University of Delaware. With a degree in media communications, Caroline’s passions are marketing and journalism. Caroline has always loved the wedding planning process, being the daughter of an event planner. In addition to contributions to Yeah Weddings, Caroline Kinsley has published articles in Delaware Today Magazine, Her Campus, and YOUR Magazine.

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