A Complete Guide to Beach Wedding Dresses

Shop short, casual, plus size and sexy beach wedding dresses that you can buy now.
by The Knot
  1. From Left: Watters Wedding Dress, Maggie Sottero Wedding Dress, Oscar de la Renta Wedding Dress
    Kurt Wilberding, MARIA VALENTINO / MCV PHOTO

    Planning a beach wedding involves a number of site-specific considerations, from positioning guests so the sun isn't in their eyes to developing a backup plan in case it rains. Beach wedding attire—specifically your wedding dress—is another important consideration, since sand, sun and ocean breezes all have a profound effect on what looks and feels good to wear.

    While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to beach wedding dresses, there are a few important guidelines to keep in mind:

    • Skip a formal ball gown and chapel train, which weigh you down
    • Opt for light, airy fabrics that allow for easy movement and offer breathability, such as chiffon or silk
    • Features such as billowing skirts, lace and slits help maintain airflow and comfort
    • High heels and sand don't mix—opt for wedges or flats instead
    • Choose a lightweight shawl, wrap or stole to complement your dress and keep goose bumps under control

    These guidelines are just a start when it comes to choosing a beach wedding dress that works for your wedding and personal style. Discover some of our favorite fashions below to find the inspiration you need for the wedding day.

  2. Designer Beach Wedding Dresses

    Having a beach wedding does not mean you need to leave designer fashions on the rack. There are a variety of high-fashion beach-style wedding dresses to choose from. Check out some of our favorites from top wedding designers below.

  3. Christos Wedding Dress

    Christos silk chiffon sheer lace wedding dress

    The Tinsley dress by Christos hits all the right beach wedding dress points. It is made of a silk chiffon and sheer lace for a glamorous, free-flowing breathability. In addition, the sheath silhouette and V-neckline with slim shoulder straps provide the right mix of elegance and airiness perfect for a ceremony in the sun.

    Dress by Christos

  4. Kelly Faetanini Wedding Dress

    Kelly Faetanini lace and chiffon wedding dress from Spring 2017 collection

    Designer Kelly Faetanini is known for her elegant, feminine designs that brides can customize to include features such as beading and detachable necklines that make a dress personal. This lace and chiffon selection from her spring 2017 collection is both sheer and airy, making it an excellent choice for a beach wedding. Its back detail allows for more airflow to the shoulders, while also offering feminine details such as buttons and lace.

    Dress by Kelly Faetanini

  5. Reem Acra Wedding Dress

    Reem Acra chiffon strapless wedding dress Spring 2017 collection

    Going for the "lighter than air" look, this silk chiffon selection from the Reem Acra Spring 2017 collection is notable for its hand draping, which provides a natural, free-flowing look. Paired with an embroidered lace applique in the bodice, the feminine details of this dress add a distinct romantic element that pairs well with the ethereal atmosphere of the beach.

    Dress by Reem Acra

  6. Watters Wedding Dress

    Watters lace and chiffon dress Fall 2016 collection

    A beautiful combination of lace and chiffon, this selection from the Watters Fall 2016 collection has the type of flowing skirt that is befitting in the sand and surf. The lacy detail on top adds an element of romance and femininity that elevates this look to a more formal beach wedding dress combination.

    Dress by Watters

  7. Short Beach Wedding Dresses

    One of the best parts about a beach wedding is the opportunity to make it casual and carefree. A short beach wedding dress not only accomplishes that goal, but also eliminates the issue of sand in your hem. Just because these beach wedding dresses are short in length does not mean they are short on style. Many top designers offer short, elegant wedding dresses that are beach ready. Take a look at some of our favorites that hone in on the fusion of elegant and casual.

  8. Short Wedding Dress with Off-the-Shoulder Neckline

    BHLDN Mavis Dress by Cynthia Rowley beah lace wedding dress

    Fun and flirty, the eyelet lace that dominates this dress by Cynthia Rowley is both feminine and casual for a beach wedding. Featuring 9-inch slits on both sides, the form-fitting pencil skirt is moveable and flowing, while the off-the-shoulder neckline makes staying cool easy.

    Dress by Cynthia Rowley for BHLDN

  9. Short A-Line Wedding Dress

    Christian Siriano short off-the-shoulder wedding dress from Spring 2017

    Fusing high fashion with the cool elegance of a short wedding dress, this selection from Christian Siriano's Spring 2017 collection includes unique style features inspired by French impressionists that offer a romantic flare ideal for the beach. The off-the-shoulder neckline provides a cooling effect, while the knotted details on each shoulder infuse a fashion-forward style. The short skirt eases walking in the sand, while the flared, A-line silhouette provides breathability in a warm environment.

    Dress by Christian Siriano

  10. Two-piece Short Wedding Dress

    Mira Zwillinger two-piece short wedding dress
    Kurt Wilberding

    This short wedding dress by Mira Zwillinger is not only sexy and stylish—it is also a trendy two-piece ensemble. This selection is a great option for a beach wedding dress, as it exposes the back and a bit of the midriff for a cooling and flirty effect. The short, flared skirt provides additional airflow, while offering a distinctly feminine silhouette that is still elegant and romantic.

    Dress by Mira Zwillinger

  11. Short Feathery Wedding Dress

    Oscar de la Renta short sheath dress from Spring 2017

    The simple sheath silhouette of this Oscar de la Renta Spring 2017 short wedding dress is the perfect compliment to its detailing and modern style. The beading and feathers on the bottom of the dress work well for a beach wedding, as they move with the air and stand out in a short dress style. In addition, the elegance of a short sheath is a great match for a beach wedding because it allows airflow

    Dress by Oscar de la Renta

  12. Casual Beach Wedding Dresses

    For a truly laid-back style on your wedding day, consider a less ornate dress that is still elegant and romantic. The casual nature of a beach backdrop makes choosing a no-frills wedding dress not only easy, but venue-appropriate. Don't make the mistake of confusing "casual" with style-less—check out our favorite casual wedding dresses for design inspiration that is both easy and fashionable.

  13. Sheath Wedding Dress

    Amsale Jack cut out crepe wedding dress

    The lack of beading and lace on an this dress does not detract from its style one bit. Instead, the fit-to-flare crepe frock offers subtle cutouts at the neck and back that are stylish and airy for a beach bride.

    Dress by Amsale

  14. Two-Piece Wedding Dress

    BHLDN Mia top and Ellory skirt two-piece casual beach wedding dress

    This two-piece combo available from BHLDN includes the Mia top by Catherine Deane and the Ellory skirt by Tadashi Shoji. This combination is a casual approach to a beach wedding dress style, and the light silk satin of the shirt and cotton lining of the skirt provide the breathability beach brides need.

    Dress by BHLDN

  15. Wedding Dress With Tiered Skirt

    J.Crew Heidi casual beach wedding dress

    The Heidi by J.Crew may not be specifically designed as a wedding dress, but its elegance and airy chiffon fabric make it the perfect match for a beach wedding. Plus, its purpose as a "party dress" makes it more casual than a typical formal wedding dress. The draped silk chiffon fabric and choice between long and short styles make this an ideal dress for the budget-conscious bohemian bride.

    Dress by J.Crew

  16. Tea-Length Wedding Dress

    Monique Lhuillier tea-length casual beach wedding dress

    On the other side of casual fashion, this Monique Lhuillier dress features a tea-length cut that makes it less formal than a traditional wedding gown. However, its designer label and detailing on the cut-out lace bodice make it a true couture choice for brides looking to toe the line between casual and on-trend elegance.

    Dress by Monique Lhuillier

  17. Plus Size Beach Wedding Dresses

    Women of all shapes and sizes are equally represented within bridal fashion, which means that finding the perfect plus size beach wedding dress is easier than ever. Light and elegant plus size beach wedding dresses come in ethereal and romantic styles that enhance a curvy figure.

  18. Wedding Dress with V-Neckline

    Allure Bridals W362 plus size beach wedding dress with tulle skirt and pleated V-neck

    The smooth silhouette created by the tulle skirt in this Allure Bridal design is a great way to enhance curves. Paired with a romantic V-neck and pleated design, this dress offers easy breathability and elegance.

    Dress by Allure Bridals

  19. Halter Wedding Dress

    David's Bridal halter dress with ruffles plus size beach wedding dress

    Made of tiered chiffon that includes four inches of extra length for tall brides, this David's Bridal halter dress is totally beach ready. The breezy, ruffled skirt looks extraordinary in wind-swept photos, while the open-back halter top is a great way to stay cool on a warm summer day.

    Dress by David's Bridal

  20. Cap Sleeve Wedding Dress

    Stone Fox Bride Federika plus size wedding dress

    Stone Fox's collaboration with e-tailer Eloquii offers popular Stone Fox gowns in sizes 16-24. The Fredericka gown features an empire waist and flowing skirt, which is a fantastic combination for a beach wedding. The romantic style of the lace backing and cap sleeves provide just the right amount of elegance for a beachside look.

    Dress by Stone Fox Bride

  21. Wedding Dress With Illusion Neckline

    WTOO Curves plus size beach wedding dress with illusion neckline and flowy skirt

    Combining a flowing skirt with an illusion neckline, this dress by WTOO Curves is ideal for a variety of body types. Its airy look offers an elegant style that beach brides love, while its floral lace embroidery on the bodice is both pretty and romantic.

    Dress by WTOO Curves

  22. Lace Beach Wedding Dresses

    The addition of lace to a wedding dress adds an element of romance and whimsy, while enhancing a vintage or bohemian feel. Opting for lace at a beach wedding—rather than a heavier fabric or lots of embellishments—adds breathability to any dress. Check out some lace beach wedding dress designs for your ideal beach wedding look.

  23. Crochet Lace Wedding Dress

    Romantique by Claire Pettibone bohemian lace wedding dress
    Kurt Wilberding

    From the Romantique by Claire Pettibone collection, this bohemian-inspired lace wedding dress is made for the sun. The unique cut-out pattern and long slit offers easy exposure to the legs, despite the form-fitted pencil cut of the skirt. As a result, this dress highlights a lengthy figure while helping you stay cool.

    Dress by Claire Pettibone

  24. Blush Lace Wedding Dress

    Legends by Romona Keveza blush pink and lace wedding dress

    This Romona Keveza dress breaks the "no chapel trains" guideline. With the right backdrop, the romantic look of the all-lace train is a great match to a picturesque beach background. A haute couture option, the A-line skirt of this Legends dress features a beaded lace overlay that extends onto the back of the gown in a flowing, seamless way that is timelessly romantic. In addition, the blush pink of the fabric underneath is a perfect match to any beach sunset.

    Dress by Legends by Romona Keveza

  25. Tiered Lace Wedding Dress

    Lihi Hod layered bohemian lace wedding dress

    This sheath-style layered lace gown by Lihi Hod creates an elegant bohemian vibe that makes it an ideal wedding dress for the beach. The layered lace and ribbon detail on the skirt create a patchwork look that is vintage and unique. The upper portion of the gown allows for some beachside skin to show, especially when paired with the lace overlay of the sweetheart neckline.

    Dress by Lihi Hod

  26. Classic Lace Wedding Dress

    Liancarlo lace v-neck wedding dress

    You don't have to give up a dress with a more traditional feel if you're having a beach affair. This slim-cut gown is lightweight enough to work in a warmer setting. Another plus: The sheer straps are supportive but not constricting.

    Dress by Liancarlo

  27. Sexy Beach Wedding Dresses

    The allure of the sun and surf is not just idyllic—it's effortlessly enticing. Embracing the environment and choosing a sexy beach wedding dress may not be for all brides, but when done tastefully and fashionably, it can be just the right option for some. Check out some of our favorite sexy beach wedding dresses for ideas and inspiration about how you can kick up your wedding day look.​

  28. Wedding Dress with Sheer Cutouts

    Lela Rose cutout illusion neckline sexy wedding dress from Spring 2017 collection
    Kurt Wilberding

    This look from the Lela Rose Spring 2017 collection is sexy, feminine and trendy. The side cutouts and illusion neckline create an enhanced hourglass figure, while the open back and exposed shoulders allow you to stay cool in the hot sun.

    Dress by Lela Rose

  29. Wedding Dress With Plunging Neckline

    Maggie Sottero deep plunging neckline sexy wedding dress
    Kurt Wilberding

    There is little that is more classically sexy than a deep, plunging neckline. This scalloped lace gown by Maggie Sottero is the right match for a beach day, thanks to the slim spaghetti straps that offer extra shoulder exposure.

    Dress by Maggie Sottero

  30. Sheer Wedding Dress

    Naeem Khan deep neckline sexy wedding dress with hand-embroidered lace and beading

    Another selection that features a classic and sexy deep neckline, this dress by Naeem Khan offers a layer of intrigue thanks to its sheer effect. The color of the fabric under the hand-embroidered lace and beading match this bride's skin tone, leaving the illusion of shimmer and sparkle from head to toe.

    Dress by Naeem Khan

  31. Nude Illusion Wedding Dress

    Pronovias sheer embroidered wedding dress

    Known for their ornate lace embroideries and (almost scandalously) sheer dresses, Pronovias pulls off the sexy bride look with just enough sophistication. This sheer gown with strategically placed appliqué is perfect for a breezy affair. Pro tip: Ask to add an opaque lining if you're going for a more conservative feel.

    Dress by Pronovias

  32. Beach Wedding Shoes for Women

    Finding shoes for a beach wedding is not so hard once you learn the number one rule—stilettos and sand don't mix. The only exception to this is if you walk across a platform. Opt for pumps in this case, but for safety as well as comfort, err on the side of a lower heel. If preferred, you can always switch to a different pair of shoes for the reception.

    One of the true pleasures of a beach wedding is the option to forgo shoes altogether. For brides who aren't comfortable without shoes, there is an option for a fancy sandal, flat or wedge that gives you a solid surface atop the sand.

  33. Sparkly Flats

    Stuart Weitzman Gilligan flat shoe with blue pave crystals for beach wedding

    The Gilligan by Stuart Weitzman is the perfect combination of function and high fashion. From his Pave collection, this elegant espadrille flat comes in four colors, including the elegant "something blue" pictured above. The solid flat foot of this shoe makes gripping the sand easy, while the glitter and glam makes you forget that you sacrificed the heels.

    Shoes by Stuart Weitzman

  34. Embellished Wedge Sandal

    Dune London Mona wedge heel sandal for a beach wedding

    On the more affordable side of the spectrum, the Dune Mona wedge heel sandal provides the same jeweled tone that sparkles in the sun. The subtle wedge heel is enough to add lift without making walking over sandy ground too difficult.

    Shoes by Dune London

  35. Floral Sandal

    Paul Andrew floral metallic sandal for a beach wedding

    This leather sandal by Paul Andrew is as timeless and fancy as your wedding day. With a flat footbed that is perfect for walking over sand, the details on the upper create a sophisticated jeweled look that stands out beautifully against tanned skin.

    Shoes by Paul Andrew

  36. Men’s Beach Wedding Attire

    When it comes to outfitting the groom, groomsmen and other important family members for your beach wedding, leave the black ties at home. Not only would the thickness of traditional suits cause unnecessary sweating, the dark color of a black tux would be too stark when set up against the light pastels of the beach.

    Instead, many beach weddings feature men's fashions in light colors such as khaki or light blue. Some grooms skip the suit altogether, opting for a less formal shirt and pair of slacks. Take a look at some men's beach wedding attire choices and match it to the mood and theme of your seaside wedding day.

  37. Lightweight Plaid Suit

    Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald fit plaid suit for a beach wedding

    Made of lightweight stretch cotton, this plaid suit from Brooks Brothers helps keep guys cool under the hot sun. The light color is almost sand-like, fitting in with a beach theme. Paired with a bright tie or pastel shirt, this look is a great way to bring subtle elegance to a relaxed beach ceremony.

    Suit by Brooks Brothers

  38. Slim Fit Khaki Suit

    Combatant Gentleman khaki slim fit chino for a beach wedding

    This dark khaki suit from Combatant Gentlemen is both lightweight and breathable. It offers dual back vents for more airflow and tailored 100 percent Italian cotton. Matched with loafers and a crisp white shirt, this is a fine example of how classic and casual are easy to combine in beach wedding attire.

    Suit by Combatant Gentlemen

  39. Nautical Suit

    Vinyard Vines suit for a beach wedding

    For the fashion-forward man, choosing a bright palette for his beach wedding attire can take a nautical theme to the next level. This cotton linen blend sportcoat from Vineyard Vines is lightweight and made for the summer sun. It contrasts beautifully with the coral pants and light green bowtie for a seaside look that enhances any color scheme.

    Suit by Vineyard Vines

    Looking for bridal fashion inspo? Find it here!

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