What to Wear to a Beach Wedding as a Guest, From Formal to Casual

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 Feb 29, 2024
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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 appropriate clothing even easier, we've included a handful of shoppable beach wedding attire 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 is only ever appropriate if it's explicitly requested by the couple, so you can probably leave your jean shorts at home.

    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.

    Bonobos Jetsetter Italian Cotton Suit

    Khaki suit jacket and pants beach wedding attire
    Photo: Bonobos

    Just because it's beach formal doesn't mean you should leave your suit in the closet. Instead, choose something in a lighter colorway like this sandy-hued ensemble. It's made from soft, breathable cotton and you can choose from a tailored, slim or athletic fit to suit your preferred style. Elevate your outfit with a tie for a formal occasion, or go without the accessory for a cocktail party.

    Oak Hill Linen-Blend Suit Jacket and Pants

    Light blue linen blend men's big and tall beach wedding attire
    Photo: DXL Big + Tall

    When you picture men's beach wedding attire, you might immediately think of a linen suit—and for good reason! Linen is a lightweight and breathable fabric that's great for warm-weather occasions. This suit jacket and straight-leg dress pant are cut from a linen blend which feels lighter and looks more laid-back than traditional wool. When it comes to beach-ready formalwear, a smart button-down is always a safe play. For cocktail celebrations, choose a shirt with a fun print or pop of color.

    Tommy Bahama Bahama Coast The Marlin Life IslandZone Short-Sleeve Shirt

    Model wearing Tommy Bahama motif mostera print shirt
    Photo: Tommy Bahama

    Don't be afraid to experiment with prints at a casual beach wedding. Add some fun to your outfit with this navy short-sleeve shirt patterned with a tropical floral motif. The button-down style, available in sizes XS to 4XLT, is perfectly festive. Pair it with slacks or chinos, slip on a blazer and you're good to go. Guys, consider the question of what to wear to a beach wedding answered.

    Indochino Stapleford Seersucker Soft Pink Blazer

    Soft pink suit jacket and pants
    Photo: Indochino

    Men's beach wedding guest attire can be as playful or understated as you please (with consideration for the dress code, of course). This soft pink suit somehow does both, combining a unique color with a streamlined cut. It's made from a lightweight seersucker fabric that won't leave you sweating on the sand (or the dance floor).

    UNTUCKit Wrinkle-Resistant Linen Vin Santo Shirt in Solid Blue

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

    If you've never tried an UNTUCKit shirt, a casual beach wedding is a great 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.

    Bonobos Original Stretch Washed Chino in Khaki

    Model wearing khaki chinos with button-down shirt
    Photo: Bonobos

    The perfect companion to that linen shirt? 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. Altogether, it'll make for a classic outfit.

    Suitsupply Light Grey Havana Blazer and Light Grey Fellini Shorts

    Collage of two images side by side, light gray blazer and light gray shorts
    Photos: Suitsupply

    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 light gray set is made from a lightweight, breathable linen and cotton blend. The slim-fit jacket comes in short, regular and long sizes and pairs well with the tailored shorts.

    The Black Tux Tan Suit

    Rentable tan suit beach wedding outfit for men
    Photo: The Black Tux

    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.

    Kenneth Cole Reaction Men's Slim-Fit Stretch Linen Solid Suit

    Light blue linen suit on model with white shirt and brown shoes
    Photo: Macy's

    A light blue suit isn't just right on the money when it comes to beach formal attire for men, it's a versatile option for special occasions all spring and summer long. Make a statement with a colorful tie or pocket square, or keep it simple with classic accessories. Loafers will give you a pared-down aesthetic, while dress shoes do the opposite. Psst, did we mention it's made from comfy and flattering stretch linen?

    Egara Skinny Fit Suit Jacket and Pants

    Sage green suit jacket and pants on model with matching tie
    Photo: Men's Wearhouse

    Beach weddings are the ideal time for colorful suits. This skinny-fit blazer and pants set in trendy sage green will look the part from the ceremony to the after-party. Pair the suit with a basic white t-shirt and a pair of woven loafers for a sleek summer look.

    Perry Ellis Slim Fit Taupe Solid Knit Suit

    Taupe suit jacket and pants on model with white T shirt and brown shoes
    Photo: Perry Ellis

    There really are so many options for beach wedding guest attire for men once you know what to look for. Any suit from the beige family of colors will look the part, like this classic taupe suit from Perry Ellis. A modern slim fit and a textured finish elevate this understated style.

    OppoSuits Mint Pastel Trim Fit Suit & Tie

    Mint green trim fit suit and tie on model
    Photo: Nordstrom

    Feeling bold? Show up to a cocktail beach wedding in style wearing this mint green suit. It has a contemporary slim fit, so size up if you prefer a little extra breathing room. The best part? It comes with a matching tie. That's half your accessory shopping done for you! Now, onto finding the right wedding guest shoes

    Beach Wedding Attire for Women

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

    Lulus Beautiful Soul Teal Green Floral Print Twist-Front Maxi

    Teal floral maxi dress with side slit beach wedding guest attire
    Photo: Lulus

    This beautiful beach wedding guest dress comes in an eye-catching shade of teal to match the ocean. It's made from lightweight polyester fabric with a high slit so the skirt flows (and cools) majestically with the wind. Shopping for a formal beach wedding? Dress it up with block or wedge heels that won't sink in the sand and some simple earrings.

    Reformation Kourtney Dress

    White and blue floral print slip dress on plus-size model
    Photo: Reformation

    Snag this floral summer dress for your next beach wedding for a trendy fit that complements the coastal venue. It has a fitted silhouette that falls just above the ankle. Spaghetti straps and a sweetheart neckline provide the opportunity to show off some bling. Choose a minimalistic pendant or chain for beach formal dress codes, or go all out with costume jewelry for a cocktail-ready look.

    Free People Emory Embroidered Midi

    Yellow linen and cotton blend maxi dress for beach wedding with floral embroidery
    Photo: Free People

    Talk about a sunny disposition! This yellow midi with sweet sunflower embroidery and statement sleeves is a vibrant option for a casual beach wedding this summer. The best part? It features a flowy silhouette made from a breathable cotton-linen fabric.

    ASTR The Label Maeve Floral Midi Sundress

    Abstract floral blue pleated midi dress for beach wedding guest
    Photo: Nordstrom

    A formal dress code doesn't have to equate to a full-length gown, especially when the wedding is at a beach. This abstract floral midi is an elegant choice as a formal beach wedding outfit. It has a flirty pleated skirt, fitted ruched bodice and handy adjustable straps.

    Petal and Pup Yelena Dress in Red

    Red floral beach wedding guest midi dress for women
    Photo: Petal & Pup

    Shopping for a cocktail beach wedding? You can't go wrong with a floral midi dress. This cute option in bold orange boasts whimsical red flowers fitting for a beach wedding. It has a flirty open-back for an on-trend style. Pair it with gold jewelry and nude heels to complete the look.

    ELOQUII Kimono Sleeve Maxi

    Bright pink satin maxi dress for beach wedding guest
    Photo: ELOQUII

    Float across the beach in this breezy pink maxi dress. The kimono sleeves, plunging neckline and A-line silhouette are ultra-flattering and sure to make a statement this summer. Plus, it's budget-friendly and available in sizes 14 through 28.

    Lulus Lost in the Moment Slate Blue Maxi

    Chiffon slate blue maxi dress with flutter sleeves on plus-size model
    Photo: Lulus

    Something with a full-length silhouette will easily meet the brief for beach formal wedding attire. You also can't go wrong with blue, no matter the shade. Anything that reflects the sea or sky (night or day) looks right at home on the shore. This beautiful slate blue pick features a flowy, lightweight chiffon skirt that's ideal to wear to a destination wedding under the warm sun.

    LoveShackFancy Lamia Tailored Suit Jacket and Pants in Meadow Flower

    Side-by-side collage of bright pink blazer and matching pink pants
    Photos: LoveShackFancy

    We're still not over the Barbie movie, and neither is the fashion world. It's official: Pink is here to stay. If you're hoping to avoid battling with a skirt on a breezy beach, we've got you. A nice pantsuit is an acceptable beach wedding outfit for women. Opt for this matching set in a popping pink hue. Cute bow details on the jacket and a stylish wide leg with slits on the pants make this a seriously showstopping 'fit.

    Selkie The Elfin Dress

    Ruffled tiered floral maxi dress for beach wedding
    Photo: Nuuly

    If bright colors aren't your style, no worries! There are plenty of appropriate beach wedding clothes for guests that are more muted. This tiered maxi with whimsical ruffles is a gorgeous option for a boho bash by the sea. It comes in standard and extended sizes from XXS to 5X. Save your budget for an awesome wedding gift by renting your attire from Nuuly instead of buying it.

    Reformation Frankie Silk Dress

    Silk maxi dress with tie dye print beach wedding attire for women
    Photo: Reformation

    Looking for a beach wedding guest look that leans into the laid-back vibe? Say hello to this stunner with a unique tie-dye print on luxurious flowy silk. The elegant full-length slip silhouette keeps it from feeling too casual. Depending on how you accessorize, it's ideal for a cocktail or casual beach wedding.

    Showpo Dixie Linen Look One Shoulder Ruffle Midi in Orange

    Orange one-shoulder ruffle sleeve midi dress for beach wedding guest
    Photo: Showpo

    To find beach-chic wedding attire, take inspiration from these three things: sun, sand and sea. This bright orange beauty reflects the warm, sunny rays beaming down from above. But that's not all it does. The one-shoulder style is equal parts fashionable and functional, it'll help you keep your cool while also making a statement. Add elegant block heels to make it a formal beach wedding guest outfit.

    Unique Vintage Emerald Floral Fringe Flutter Sleeve Caftan

    Emerald green floral fringe sleeve caftan
    Photo: Dia & Co.

    This glorious caftan was practically made to wear by the beach. A few standout features include its dramatic fringe detailing, embossed floral print and bold emerald hue. The loose silhouette lets you twirl up a storm on the dance floor.

    Sarah Hanlon contributed to the reporting of this article.

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