Everything to Know About Beach Wedding Attire for Men and Women

Plus, shop editor-approved outfits on the spot.
Grooms at beach wedding ceremony
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Feb 10, 2020
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Attending a beach wedding can feel like taking a miniature vacation. But if you get an invite to a tropical ceremony, you might be unsure of what to wear. Beach wedding attire for guests varies depending on the venue and wedding style. While your first instinct might be to grab a sundress or shorts, it's a good rule of thumb to know beach wedding attire has a sense of formality. While you likely won't need to wear a full suit or evening gown, your outfit should still be appropriate for a wedding. Regardless of how casual the beach wedding may be, it's still best to skip the T-shirts and flip-flops to be sure you're tastefully dressed for the occasion.

If you're wondering what to wear to a beach wedding, your search ends here. To help you plan an appropriate outfit, we break down everything to know about beach wedding attire for guests. We'll share how to determine the formality of the event, as well as beach wedding attire ideas for men and women. And, to make your shopping experience as simple as possible, we've rounded up the best beach wedding outfits for guests that you can buy on the spot.

In this article:

What is Beach Wedding Attire?

Beach wedding attire is commonly assumed to be dressy casual—and while this may be true for some weddings, others may be an upscale affair. In general, though, beach wedding attire for men and women includes bright colors, lightweight fabrics, and semi formal accessories. The most common beach wedding outfits for men include slacks or chinos, a button down shirt, and a suit jacket or blazer for a formal ceremony. Midi and mini dresses, as well as jumpsuits or formal rompers, are appropriate choices for women.

If you'll be attending a beach wedding, research the weather for your destination. Regardless of the time of year, there's a chance the climate will be tropical—or, at the very least, somewhat warm. Fabric is a key element of your beach wedding attire. Breathable materials like linen and cotton are ideal for being outdoors. Even a wool suit jacket can work, especially if it's unlined or blended with lighter fabrics.

When it comes to accessories, brighter is better. A beach wedding is a great opportunity to wear a patterned tie or colorful statement earrings. It's also perfectly acceptable to wear dressy sandals or loafers sans socks.

What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

When putting together your outfit, consider a semi-formal dress code. While beach wedding attire for guests likely doesn't include full suits and floor-length gowns, it's better to go with an outfit that's slightly more elevated as opposed to a laid-back sundress or shorts (unless that's explicitly requested on the invitation). If you're unsure of the formality of the wedding, use the couple's invitation and wedding website for guidance. The time of day can sometimes help guide your outfit choices, as evening weddings tend to be more formal. The venue can also serve as a resource. A beach wedding at an upscale resort will likely require a more formal outfit than an intimate gathering right at the water. For even more help, use the couple's wedding website for guidance. This is where the to-be-weds will expand on specific attire requests, so it can help you decide on an appropriate outfit.

Beach Wedding Attire for Men

Still not sure what to wear to a beach wedding? Don't sweat. We've done the thinking (and shopping) for you by rounding up the best beach wedding attire for guests. Here, browse our favorite beach wedding attire picks for men. You'll find a variety of options, from simple shirt-and-slacks combos to formal beach wedding suits. If you find an outfit you love, you can buy it right on the spot.

Blue and white window pane check plus size suit

You can experiment with prints if you're looking for casual beach wedding attire. This thin windowpane check pattern is appropriate for a variety of dress codes—elevate it with a tie and cufflinks for a formal affair, or go without accessories for a relaxed gathering. If you want, swap out the pants with a solid pair for a subtle look.

ASOS DESIGN Plus wedding super skinny suit in Light Blue Windowpane Check, $95 for the jacket and $48 for the pants, ASOS.com

Red and pink floral print blazer
Black skinny chino pants

Style gurus, this outfit is for you. Beach wedding attire for men doesn't have to be boring, and this combo is proof. Embrace the tropical setting with a bright floral blazer like this. Because this pattern is so bold, we recommend pairing it with a white shirt underneath and solid black chinos.

ASOS DESIGN super skinny blazer in Pink Jersey Print, $79, ASOS.com; Pull&Bear Join Life smart skinny chino in Black, $44, ASOS.com

Stone suit jacket
Stone suit trousers

Light beige or stone-colored suits are appropriate for casual beach weddings. If you're attending a ceremony and you're torn between outfit options, a light suit is generally appropriate for a beach wedding. Plus, with a lightweight fabric, you'll be comfortable in your outfit all day.

Topman Dax slim fit suit jacket in Stone, $195, Nordstrom.com; Topman Dax slim fit flat front ankle trousers in Stone, $85, Nordstrom.com

Plus size white button down shirt
Skinny cropped plus size black pants

You can't go wrong with a classic white-and-black wedding outfit. For a formal beach wedding, accessorize with a tie, cufflinks and a blazer or suit jacket. If the event will be casual, you can keep the outfit as is—but consider elevating your look with colorful shoes or a patterned tie. And, as an added bonus, these pants are made with recycled materials (meaning you can feel good about your outfit purchase).

Polo Ralph Lauren Big & Tall player logo poplin shirt custom regular fit in White, $99, ASOS.com; ASOS DESIGN Plus super skinny cropped smart pants in Black, $32, ASOS.com

Tan suit and pants set

Perhaps you're interested in a tan suit but you don't want to purchase one. Instead, rent the look you want from a site like The Black Tux. This rental includes the jacket and pants, so you'll just need a classic white button-down shirt, shoes and a tie to complete your formal beach wedding outfit.

The Black Tux suit in Tan, $110 to rent, TheBlackTux.com

White and blue seersucker suit

For a quintessential preppy beach wedding outfit, go for a seersucker suit. Thin white and navy stripes are a coastal style classic, and your outfit will be perfectly fit for the tropical setting. Pair it with a light pink shirt as pictured for an extra-preppy look, or go with a basic crisp white shirt.

Banana Republic slim seersucker suit jacket in White & Navy Stripe, $398, BananaRepublic.com; Banana Republic slim seersucker pant in White & Navy Stripe, $169, BananaRepublic.com

Classic blue cotton-blend suit

You can't go wrong with a classic blue hue for your beach wedding suit. Keep it simple with a plain white shirt underneath, or have fun with your style and wear a printed shirt that includes the same shade of blue for a fun twist.

Express extra-slim blue cotton-blend stretch suit, $228 for the jacket and $98 for the pants, Express.com

Classic white button-down shirt
Light tan chino pants

With a variety of color options for the shirt and pants, you can create a casual beach wedding outfit in a palette you love. While you can keep it classic with a white shirt and khaki bottoms, consider expressing your creativity with an unexpected color combo, like white and light slate.

J. Crew Ludlow premium slim-fit fine cotton dress shirt, $98, JCrew.com; J. Crew 250 skinny fit pant in stretch chino, $80, JCrew.com

Beach Wedding Attire for Women

Beach wedding guest dresses and jumpsuits should be colorful and breezy, whether you'll be watching the vows outdoors on the coast or inside a resort. Here, we've rounded up the best beach wedding attire for women. You'll find bright mini dresses, loose midis and trendy rompers you can certainly wear again. Browse our editor-approved picks below.

Blue floral ruffle midi dress

This figure-flattering midi dress is ideal for the beach. With a large floral pattern and a ruffle neckline, you'll be comfortable and fashion-forward.

Show Me Your Mumu Jess ruffle midi dress in Mint to Be Floral, $198, ShowMeYourMumu.com

Coral midi dress with scallop neckline and front buttons

Scallops are a staple of beach style. In a bright coral shade, your look will embody summer. Plus, the large buttons down the front of the dress are an of-the-moment trend.

City Chic scallop button dress in Coral, $109, CoEdition.com

PInk maxi dress with tiered skirt

Lilly Pulitzer is synonymous with colorful, resort-ready styles. Go for a bright pink maxi dress to embrace a tropical wedding venue. Pair it with gold jewelry to make this dress work for a formal party.

Lilly Pulitzer Aida ruffle maxi dress in Love Potion Pink, $258, LillyPulitzer.com

Yellow off-the-shoulder mini dress with tiered ruffles

This bright mini dress is great for a formal beach wedding. Ruffles and a scallop trim are tropical details that help make the look formal and fun. Pair it with woven sandals or a bright clutch to accessorize.

Mestiza New York off-the-shoulder tiered ruffle mini dress in Yellow, $524, NeimanMarcus.com

Midi navy dress with eyelet pattern

This breezy A-line dress is ideal for the beach. With eyelet trim and sleeve ruffles, the look is fresh and fun. It's also made of a cooling cotton texture, which is ideal for a wedding on a hot day. But, since it has a longer skirt, this dress can be easily transitioned for cooler months too, meaning you can also break it out for a fall wedding.

Draper James sleeveless midi love circle dress in Nassau Navy, $150, DraperJames.com

Red and pink pleaded colorblock midi dress with high neckline

Beach wedding guest dresses can certainly include bright hues. And, for fashion-conscious guests, colorblock patterns are having a moment. If you want to embrace the trend without buying an entire outfit, rent a dress instead. Together, these bright colors are great for an oceanside ceremony.

Aidan AIDAN MADDOX pleated colorblock midi dress in Red and Pink, from $30 for a 4-day rental, RenttheRunway.com

Green and blue floral romper with overskirt

A romper is a great choice for guests who don't want to wear a dress to a casual beach wedding. This design has an overskirt, which helps formalize the look. Elevate it even more with sparkling jewelry or a structured purse. Since the look is easily dressed up or down, you can pack it for your next tropical vacation too.

Torrid crinkled gauze walkthrough romper in Florals-Mint, $90, Torrid.com

Jewel green cotton wrap dress

For a laid-back celebration, go for a casual beach wedding dress like this. The simple cotton style is just formal enough for a relaxed gathering.

ELOQUII maxi wrap dress in Jewel, $100, ELOQUII.com

Light blue maxi dress with ruffle sleeves and plunging neckline

This chic blue maxi dress is a must for fashion-forward wedding guests. With a high slit and plunging neckline, you'll be comfortable in this outfit without sacrificing style.

Lulus I'm All Yours ruffled maxi dress in Slate Blue, $72, Lulus.com

Floral maxi dress with halter necline

A halter neckline encapsulates beach style, and this dress comes with a floral pattern and flowy maxi skirt for a plus-size design sure to result in one of the best beach wedding guest dresses.

Loveappella floral halter maxi dress in Navy/Red, $79, Nordstrom.com

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