What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

Beach wedding scene

I know I’m not alone when I get an invitation to a beach wedding and say, “YAAASSS!” And then, the very next thought is “what the heck am I going to wear to a beach wedding?”

As simple and relaxing as a wedding by the water may be, it’s one of the more difficult types of weddings to dress for. There is no standard dress code and you have to contend with several variables — weather, time of day, level of formality, seating setup, sand. Yikes.

But don’t decline that invite just yet. We’ve got some strategies to help you hone in on just the right piece.

Dressing for a Beach Wedding: Dos and Don’ts


Accessorize with a hat (if the weatherman isn’t predicting gale-force winds). Think big and floppy and you’ll make sure your skin is sun protected and your hair is wind-proof.

Choose a tidy updo (if the weatherman is predicting gale-force winds.) There’s nothing like a stiff wind mixed with sand to leave you looking like you’ve been in a fight. If wind is a possibility, get defensive with a pulled-back do. Now is not the time to go soft and romantic.

Wear seaside colors. Blues, greens, turquoises and neutrals are lovely options.

Bring a pretty shawl or scarf. Late-afternoon weddings by the sea can subject you to a full-range of temperatures. Be prepared with a light extra layer.

Ask about the setup. Spare yourself the grief of guesswork and just ask how the wedding will be set up. Will guests be seated on a solid-surface patio next to the sand, or directly on the sand? You can’t choose the right footwear until you know the answer.

Do choose a dress with movement. Lightweight fabrics that fall away from the body will keep you comfortable in the damp, salty beach air. Wrap style dresses, wide-legged jumpsuits and empire styles are fabulous choices.

Pink split-leg, floor-length jumpsuit

Split-Leg Crepe Jumpsuit
$158, Tahari ASL

Check your dress length. If the dress is too short, a gust of wind could lead to a peep show for your fellow guests. Knee-length is usually safe — but if that feels too frumpy, at least make sure your foundation layer is G-rated.

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Catherine Brock

Catherine Brock is a writer, editor and marketer who's been sharing wisdom online since 2002. She's been featured on DrLaura.com, Wellness.com and ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis and KCAL9 Los Angeles. Connect with Catherine on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter. Learn more about Catherine.
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