A Guest's Guide to Beach Wedding Attire for Every Dress Code

Plus, shop editor-approved outfits on the spot.
emily rumsey the knot editor
by
Emily Rumsey
emily rumsey the knot editor
Emily Rumsey
Assistant Commerce Updates Editor
  • Emily helps maintain and update e-commerce content for The Knot
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily worked as a website editor and manager for The Paleo Diet®
  • Emily holds two bachelor's degrees in Journalism and International Affairs with a Chinese minor
Updated Jun 13, 2022
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So, you've been invited to a beach wedding—hello vacation, right?! Before you pack T-shirts and flip-flops, there are a few things you need to know about appropriate attire for a wedding on the beach. While beach wedding attire for guests varies depending on the venue and event style, it's often more casual than black tie, given the climate and terrain (aka lots of sun and sand). That said, guests' outfits should still reflect that it's a special occasion, which requires some level of formality. If you're not sure exactly what to wear to a beach wedding, we've got you covered. Below, we break down all the etiquette of beach wedding guest attire, including what to wear to respect different dress codes. And, to make your search for beach-appropriate clothing even easier, we've included a handful of shoppable outfit ideas for men and women.

In this article:

    What Is Appropriate Beach Wedding Guest Attire?

    So, what exactly should guests wear for a wedding at the beach? Wedding attire for a beach wedding is commonly assumed to be dressy casual—and while this might be true for many weddings, others may be more formal. In general, though, beach wedding attire for men and women includes bright colors and patterns (think florals), lightweight fabrics and fun accessories.

    If you'll be attending a beach wedding, there are a few easy ways to make sure you're dressed appropriately. First, check the wedding invitation or wedding website for the event's official dress code. Then, look at the ceremony and reception location. Are you going to be outside all day or spending some time indoors? That'll help you dress for comfort. Speaking of comfort, you should also research the destination's weather. Regardless of the time of year, there's a chance the climate will be hot—or, at the very least, warm—and humid. Because of this, fabric is a key element of your beach wedding attire. Breathable materials like linen and cotton are ideal for being outdoors. But don't forget about the possibility of a waterfront breeze—consider clothing that can withstand a little bit of wind.

    The most common beach wedding outfits for men include a button-down shirt, slacks or chinos and a suit jacket or blazer if it's a formal ceremony. Flowy maxi and midi dresses are common beach wedding outfits for women, but jumpsuits and dressy separates are also appropriate choices. When it comes to accessories, feel free to have some fun. A beach wedding is a great opportunity to wear a patterned tie or colorful statement earrings. It's also perfectly acceptable to pack nice sunglasses or a dressy hat for an outdoor ceremony or reception.

    What to Wear to a Beach Wedding by Dress Code

    With any wedding, it's always important to follow the celebration's dress code. If you need more help figuring out the level of formality, the time of day can be a good cue. An evening beach wedding tends to be more formal than a midday or morning event. The venue can also serve as a resource. A waterfront wedding at an upscale club or resort will likely require a more formal outfit than a gathering right on the sand. Whatever the case, remember that weddings are special occasions. When in doubt, err on the side of elevated. Everyday attire, like a laid-back sundress or shorts, is only ever appropriate if it's explicitly requested by the couple.

    Beach Formal Wedding Attire

    Even if you've been invited to a formal wedding on the beach, it's unlikely you'll be expected to wear a tuxedo or evening gown. For men's beach formal attire, a suit is usually your safest bet, but skip black and choose a color like blue or tan instead. Summer fabrics, like linen and seersucker, are appropriate for this dress code. Unless the invitation says otherwise, assume you'll need a tie or bow tie—feel free to choose a solid color or a modest pattern. Finally, don't forget a belt and complementary dress shoes. While an elevated maxi dress is an appropriate option for women, so are high-low and midi dresses or a classy jumpsuit or pantsuit. You can opt for bright colors, pastels or formal metallics, as well as simple patterns. As for accessories, look for block heels or a dressy wedge. Elegant jewelry is a great way to add an extra dose of formality.

    Beach Cocktail Wedding Attire

    Beach cocktail attire is semi-formal beach wedding attire. Typically, men's ties are optional, but still welcome. If you're shopping for menswear, start with a classic long-sleeve button-down and dressy pants; then, add a colorful blazer or patterned sport coat for festivity. Appropriate footwear includes nice loafers and on-theme boat shoes. Women can wear a semi-formal dress, like a maxi or midi, as well as a jumpsuit or dressy separates. A beach cocktail dress code gives you the flexibility to choose a vibrant color or bold print. Finish your outfit with a low heel, wedge or dressy flats. Beachy accessories, like a raffia clutch, are also acceptable.

    Beach Casual Wedding Attire

    Casual attire for a beach wedding is kind of like what you'd wear to a nice dinner on vacation. Usually, flip-flops and denim aren't appropriate, but this attire is more relaxed than other wedding attire. Men can wear khaki or chino pants, and sometimes even shorts (if you're not sure about shorts, play it safe and skip them). On top, men can wear a button-down shirt (short sleeves are acceptable) or a solid-color polo. Women can wear sundresses or dressy separates, like a nice top and skirt. Instead of heels, try a pair of strappy or platform sandals.

    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 guest attire for men. You'll find a variety of buy-now options, from simple shirts and slacks to formal beach wedding suits.

    Topman Pindot Super-Skinny Jacket and Pant in Navy

    Navy blue suit jacket and slacks beach wedding attire for men

    Match the shining sea and sky at your next beach wedding with a sophisticated navy blue suit. This one has a flattering skinny fit and is made from a lightweight plain-woven fabric. Elevate your outfit with a tie for a formal wedding, or go without the accessory for a cocktail party.

    Cubavera Delave Linen Sport Coat and Flat-Front Pant in Natural Linen

    Natural linen jacket and slacks with white button-down men's beach wedding outfit

    When you picture men's beach wedding attire, you might immediately think of a natural linen suit—and for good reason! Linen is a lightweight and breathable fabric with a color that complements a sandy venue. This sport jacket and straight-leg dress pant are cut from high-quality Delave linen which has a heathered look and unique texture. Pair the suit with one of Cubavera's distinctive linen button-downs with triple tuck embroidery.

    Johnny Bigg Pineapple Print Shirt in Navy

    Short-sleeve button-down with pineapple print men's casual beach wedding attire

    Don't be afraid to experiment with prints at a beach wedding. Add a pop of fun to your outfit with this navy short-sleeve shirt patterned with pineapples. The button-down style, available in sizes L to 7XL, is perfectly festive.

    Lauren Ralph Lauren Men's UltraFlex Classic-Fit Linen Sport Coat and Pants in Red

    Salmon linen suit men's formal beach wedding guest attire

    The men on The Bachelorette are known for rocking salmon suits and now, so can you. Not only is this suit fun and colorful (check out the jacket's gold paisley interior), but it's also made from breathable linen perfect for tropical weather. Plus, it features Lauren Ralph Lauren's signature UltraFlex stretch fabric for comfortable movement. Not feeling the matching set? Swap the red linen pants for tan.

    Tommy Bahama Bali Border Silk Camp Shirt in Tropical Turquoise and Mahalo Bay IslandZone Flat-Front Pants in Stone Khaki

    Turquoise Hawaiian shirt and khakis casual beach wedding attire for men

    If you've been invited to a casual beach wedding, don't be afraid to flaunt a floral shirt. This silk camp shirt in bright turquoise is subtly stitched with hibiscus flowers and palm leaves for a tropical top. Pair it with linen-blend khaki dress pants that have body-cooling technology for a comfortable and classy beach outfit.

    UNTUCKit Wrinkle-Resistant Linen Vin Santo Shirt in Solid Blue

    Long-sleeve blue linen button-down beach wedding attire for men

    If you've never tried an UNTUCKit shirt, a casual beach wedding is the perfect opportunity to wear one. As the brand name suggests, these shirts were designed to be left untucked for a relaxed yet sophisticated look. This long-sleeve shirt is made from wrinkle-resistant linen to keep you looking sharp throughout the event. The blue button-down looks great with navy or stone-colored chinos, which you might already own. Multiple size options, including slim and tall, will help you find the right fit.

    Banana Republic Pelle Suit Jacket and Short in Yellow

    Yellow men's shorts beach wedding outfit with suit jacket

    Men's beach wedding outfits, especially during the summer, tend to lean a little more casual. A matching suit jacket and shorts is an appropriate way to beat the heat if it's a day wedding or a casual dress code. This sunny tailored set is crafted from a luxurious cotton-linen fabric that's specially woven with shades of beige and ivory for a unique color. The slim-fit jacket comes in short, regular and long sizes and pairs perfectly with the pleated shorts.

    Bonobos Original Stretch Washed Chino in Khaki

    Blue button-down and chinos beach wedding menswear

    Swap dress pants with chinos for a beach wedding outfit you'll wear time and time again. These Bonobos pants have built-in stretch for a comfortable fit and come in extended sizing. You can't go wrong with khaki, but they come in a range of other colors too. Pair the pants with your favorite blue button-down for a classic outfit.

    Oak Hill Flamingo Print Chambray Sport Coat in Blue and Straight-Fit 5-Pocket Pants in White

    Blue plus-size suit jacket with embroidered flamingos beach wedding attire for men

    Beach weddings are fun, so don't take your outfit too seriously. While a colorful Hawaiian shirt is appropriate for a casual dress code, if you're going to a semi-formal beach wedding, find a fun sport coat instead. This lightweight cotton jacket, available in sizes 2XL to 5XL, has an allover flamingo print for an on-theme beach wedding outfit. Pair it with Oak Hill's straight-fit dress pants, which are made from a breathable and moisture-wicking cotton blend.

    The Black Tux Tan Suit

    Rentable tan suit beach wedding outfit for men

    Invited to a formal beach wedding, but not ready to invest in a new suit? Rent the look you want from The Black Tux. This particular rental includes a tan jacket and matching pants, so you'll just need a classic white button-down shirt, a tie, a belt and shoes to complete your warm-weather wedding outfit.

    Bonobos Italian Stretch Seersucker Suit Jacket and Suit Pant in Blue Seersucker

    Blue seersucker suit beach wedding attire for men

    For a quintessentially preppy beach wedding outfit, go for a seersucker suit. The thin white and blue stripes are classically coastal and the textured cotton fabric will keep you cool. We love it paired with a contrasting navy—or even pink—shirt underneath. You can also find it in khaki seersucker.

    Express Extra-Slim White Striped Linen-Blend Suit Jacket and Tailored Shorts in White Print

    Natural linen short suit men's wedding guest beach attire

    Beach weddings are the ideal time for short suits. This extra-slim blazer and short (or matching pants) set with subtle neutral stripes is an essential tropical look. Pair the summer suit with a white top for a sleek monochromatic outfit or contrast with a dark pattern.

    Beach Wedding Attire for Women

    Whether you'll be watching the vows outdoors on the coast or inside a tropical resort, beach wedding attire for women should be colorful and breezy. Here, we've rounded up the best beach wedding outfits for women. You'll find flowy dresses, trendy separates and a super-stylish jumpsuit you can certainly wear again. Browse our editor-approved picks below.

    Lulus Still the One Floral Print Satin Maxi Dress in Red Floral Print

    Formal beach wedding attire for women red floral maxi dress

    Shopping for a formal beach wedding? This vibrant red floral dress is made from lightweight polyester fabric with a high slit so the skirt flows (and cools) majestically with the wind. It also has an open back with criss-cross spaghetti straps for even more comfort in the heat. It's so fun on its own, we recommend pairing it with simple accessories.

    Abercrombie & Fitch Smocked Puff-Sleeve Midi Dress in Light Blue Floral

    Blue floral smocked cocktail dress beach wedding attire for women

    Puff sleeves and smocked silhouettes are all the rage. Snag this light blue summer dress for your next beach wedding for a trendy fit that complements the coastal venue. We love the square neckline and ruffled accents. Plus, it comes in petite and tall sizes. This dress can be casual or semi-formal—dress it up with thick-heeled sandals and silver jewelry for a cocktail-ready look.

    Torrid Smocked Tiered Midi Dress in Poplin Leopard Yellow

    Plus-size yellow midi dress beach wedding outfit for women

    Talk about a sunny disposition! This yellow and white printed midi dress with a square neckline and tiered skirt is a vibrant beach wedding outfit for women. The smocked bodice and ruffled straps add fun texture.

    L'Academie Racerback Tank Midi Dress in Navy

    Navy blue satin slip midi dress formal beach wedding guest attire for women

    A formal dress code doesn't have to equate to a full-length gown, especially when the wedding is at a beach. This navy blue satin slip midi dress is an elegant choice as a formal beach wedding outfit for women. It has a scoop neckline, racerback, asymmetrical waistline and high leg slit.

    Runaway Orchid Dress in Orange

    Orange floral cocktail dress semi-formal beach wedding attire for women

    Shopping for a cocktail beach wedding? You can't go wrong with a floral midi dress. This cute silk dress in bold orange boasts tropical pink flowers fitting for a beach wedding. It has flirty cutouts and a string halter top for an on-trend style. Pair it with gold jewelry and nude heels.

    ASOS DESIGN Curve Recycled Flutter-Sleeve Maxi Beach Dress in Khaki

    Green maxi plus-size beach wedding guest dress for women

    Float across the beach in this breezy green maxi dress. Its light viscose fabric is sustainably made from renewable sources—and production saves water and reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 50%. The V-neck is mirrored by the open back and the unlined skirt has a small slit for extra comfort. Plus, it's budget-friendly!

    ASTR The Label Covina Tropical Print One-Shoulder Crop Top and Mini Skirt in Tropical Papaya

    Colorful floral and papaya top and skirt beach wedding attire for women

    Don't feel limited to a one-piece fit. Matching sets are super trendy right now and this one is perfect for a casual beach wedding. The super colorful print mixes tropical flowers with papayas for an appropriately thematic destination wedding outfit.

    Lulus Ready to Impress Strapless Tie-Front Wide-Leg Jumpsuit in Hot Pink

    Hot pink strapless jumpsuit beach wedding guest attire for women

    You also shouldn't feel limited to a skirt. A nice jumpsuit is an acceptable beach wedding outfit for women. This hot pink strapless jumpsuit with a front knot detail and wide-pant legs is a fashion-forward option.

    Express Metallic Cowl Neck Tie-Waist Midi Dress in Silver Gray

    Silver metallic cowl neck midi beach formal wedding attire for women

    If bright colors aren't your style, no worries! There are plenty of appropriate beach wedding guest dresses that are more muted. This straight dress with a flattering tie waist and cowl neck is made from luxurious silver metallic stretch fabric that'll sparkle when it hits the sunlight. It also comes in a gorgeous copper tone if that's more your style. (Psst, it comes in petite sizing too.)

    Boden Thea Tailored Linen Blazer and Pants in Black Sun Geo

    Women's blazer and suit matching set beach wedding outfit

    While black isn't a common beach wedding color, this matching set is covered in white sun motifs that are really festive and fun. The linen blazer features a single-button closure and deep V-neckline, while the linen pants have a mid-rise waistband and slim, ankle-skimming legs. We love this suit paired with colorful heels or sandals.

    Banana Republic Stampa Mini Dress in Voltage Blue

    Royal blue mini wedding guest dress cocktail beach attire for women

    How about a royal blue dress to match the ocean? This one even has fine shirring and a tiered skirt for a wavy look. It's made from breathable cotton for a comfortable semi-formal beach wedding outfit, and it comes in tall, regular and petite sizes.

    Lane Bryant Cross-Front Halter Maxi Dress With Tiered Skirt in Palm Print

    Plus-size colorful printed maxi dress beach wedding attire for women

    Hello halter top! This fit-and-flare ankle-length dress has a unique crossed halter neckline, belted waist and tiered skirt. The standout detail though: the artsy blue, red and cream print. This colorful dress will take you right from summer wedding season into fall.

    Aidan AIDAN MADDOX Pleated Colorblock Midi Dress in Red and Pink

    Red and pink pleaded colorblock midi dress with high neckline

    Not ready to make a purchase? Rent a dress instead. For fashion-conscious beach wedding guests, colorblock patterns are having a moment. This red and pink midi with a pleated skirt will be a delight on the dance floor. Plus, the bright hues are great for an oceanside ceremony.

    Sarah Hanlon contributed to the reporting of this article.

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