What to Wear to a Beach Wedding: Beach Wedding Attire

Lost at sea on what to wear to a beach wedding? Skip the life jacket and say “I do” to these fun-in-the-sun beach wedding attire picks.
by Carrie Anton
  1. Women in beach wedding attire

    With bright blue skies and sun-warmed temperatures, summer is the perfect backdrop for weddings, so it’s likely you’ll receive an invite for a beach wedding at some point. There’s something so romantic yet stunningly simple about exchanging vows on a sandy beach next to crashing ocean waves or alongside a peaceful rippling lake—it’s a no-brainer really—until it comes to beach wedding attire, that is.

    If you’ve been to past nuptials, you may have already taken tips from The Knot on what to wear to a wedding. But what to wear to a beach wedding, which tends to be more casual than one hosted at a church or indoor venue, for example, can leave you stumped. Tailored suits and pretty gowns might look a tad overdone and may be uncomfortable in the summer heat. While your typical shore style might be shorts, tank tops, and swimsuits, beach wedding attire is a whole different look—you’ll need to take into account how formal the wedding will be, and you’ll need to mind the elements: sun, sand, water and wind. Lighter colors and fabrics are advisable, and it’s even okay to go sockless or wear sandals, but unless otherwise indicated by the bride and groom, your best bet is to skip the t-shirts and flip-flops and be sure you’re tastefully dressed for the occasion.

    Completely lost at sea on what to wear to a beach wedding? Let us toss you a life preserver. From casual to formal, we’ll help you figure out what to wear to a beach wedding with our round up of the best beach wedding attire for your seaside soirees this summer.

    Beach Wedding Attire in this Article:

    Beach Wedding Guest Dresses

    A day of fun in the sun is ahead, and in order to look your best you need to feel your best. That means choosing beach wedding guest dresses that are not only cool but also comfortable, and pair well with a pashmina or cardigan for those ocean breezes. Summer breezes can also kick up short, flirty skirts, so consider midi and maxi lengths instead of minis. Since you’ll likely be walking in sand (no easy feat in high heels!), pair dressy wedges or flat sandals with beach wedding guest dresses. Just steer clear of rubber flip-flops unless handed out by the bride and groom. Tip: Remember to keep your skin protected, since the sun may be glaring down with little to no shade. In addition to wearing sunscreen—a must!—you may want to bring along a parasol (just be sure not to block other guests’ views of the vows) or choose a beach wedding guest dress with sheer, lightweight sleeves to prevent skin from getting scorched.

    Keep in mind that even formal beach wedding attire is a bit more casual than what you might wear to a chic city wedding venue or country club affair. When thinking about what to wear to a beach wedding, know that will be less dressy; a sundress you might wear to a nice restaurant or on a first date in the summertime is a great choice, and you’ll want to look for lightweight, non-clingy fabrics to stay cool and unwrinkled. Need some options? Say “I do” to any of these beach wedding guest dresses for the shore celebration.

    Casual Beach Wedding Attire

    You’ve got a wide variety of choices when it comes to deciding what to wear to a casual beach wedding. We’ve rounded up a selection of simple yet tasteful dresses that will make you feel right at home on the beach.

  2. Colorful maxi beach wedding guest dress

    1. Catch sea breezes in the twirl-worthy folds of this vibrantly patterned, statement-making maxi dress that feels reminiscent of colorful sails and eye-catching hot-air balloons. Pair it with strappy sandals and loose, wavy hair for modern beach wedding attire.

    Anthropologie Abstraction maxi dress, $228, anthropologie.com

  3. Lulus pink maxi casualbeach wedding attire

    2. A tropical treat awaits in this sand-skimming, airy maxi dress blooming with a beautiful exotic island flower. Beaded leather thong sandals and bold sunnies complete the casual beachside look.

    Lulus boho blush floral print maxi dress, $96, lulus.com

  4. Pink color block beach wedding guest dress

    3. Give the little black dress a seaside makeover in this chic sheath in a soft summer palette. Slip on nude, clean-lined dressy sandals and gold statement jewelry to make this silk-fabric number just right for a cocktail reception or rehearsal dinner.

    Cynthia Rowley color block twist sheath, $65, renttherunway.com

  5. Floral maxi beach wedding guest dress

    4. This easy, breezy sundress in a striking floral print is as pretty to look at as it is easy to wear. The halter neckline lends a sporty silhouette while the long, ruffled maxi keeps it flirty and fun. Add a chunky turquoise-beaded bracelet and leg-wrapping espadrilles for casual beach wedding attire that shines from sun up to sundown.

    Spenser Jeremy women’s printed maxi tank dress, $40, target.com

  6. Island floral maxi casual beach wedding attire

    5. The plunging neckline and back cutout add an edgy touch to this sweet maxi sundress, making it just right for a beach wedding that lasts well into the night. The short sleeves keep shoulders protected from the sun, and the island floral print pops against dark, crinkled woven fabric to keep you cool. Add a layer of necklaces in different lengths to play up the deep V and hold your must-haves in a handheld black clutch.

    Nightwalker floral maxi dress, $68, forever21.com

  7. Off shoulder pink floral beach wedding guest dress

    7. Plunge into this off-the-shoulder tea-length dress in a smooth scuba fabric that’s sure not to wrinkle or show signs of summer perspiration. The floral print and split hem lend feminine detailing to this flattering bodycon dress that’s exactly what to wear to a beach wedding.

    MISSGUIDED Bardot Off the Shoulder Midi Dress, $62, nordstrom.com

  8. Silk green maxi beach wedding guest dress

    7. The subtle pastel print evokes island greenery swaying in summer seaside breezes. In a lightweight silk fabric, this maxi dress is sunshine-ready even if Mother Nature decides to crank up the mercury. Play up the perfect simplicity of this dress with minimalist accessories.

    Anthropologie Vera silk maxi dress, $198, anthropologie.com

  9. Blue and white embroidered casual beach wedding attire

    8. Sweet as can be, this babydoll dress is fun to wear with a swingy silhouette, scalloped hem, and long, lightweight sleeves for sun coverage without sacrificing fashion. Ocean blue embroidery adds a touch of whimsy to bell sleeves, while the shorter shape keeps you cool and comfy. Leather sandals and a fold-over clutch make this cute look classy for any daytime wedding or waterside brunch bridal shower.

    Lulus with a whisper blue and ivory embroidered dress, $59, lulus.com

  10. Light pink shift beach wedding guest dress

    9. A simple dress with a soft, feminine feel couldn’t be a better match for beach wedding attire. The flattering silhouette works well with a variety of body shapes and as an added bonus, the cropped sleeves will protect your arms from the sun.  

    Cece Tie Sleeve Shift Dress, $129, nordstrom.com

  11. Two piece breach wedding guest dress

    10. Wearing a bikini as beach wedding attire is a fashion faux pas, but this bold, abstract print dress lends a two-piece look in an outfit more appropriate for a couple’s special day. Try nude dressy sandals to let this chic sheath stand on its own, and add a touch of modern bling with silver drop earrings.

    Karen Zambos printed rhys dress, $35, renttherunway.com

    Formal Beach Wedding Attire

    Even if the beach wedding you’ll be attending is a more formal affair, you can beat the heat while still looking totally glam by upgrading your fabric choices. Incorporate gold metallics, satin and lace into your beach wedding attire to lend a more formal vibe to your look.

  12. Aqua pephem midi guest wedding dress

    1. Look like a beauty straight out of the ocean in this mermaid-inspired gown with a shorter and easier-to-wear beach wedding attire look. The strapless simplicity feels flirty with the ruffled pephem edging, while the classic silhouette and lace overlay make it just right for beach formal wedding attire.

    ASOS lace bandeau pephem midi dress, $68, asos.com

  13. Pink and gold beach formal wedding attire

    2. Gold-tone metallic embroidery shimmers against the bright pink hue of this flirty frock, mimicking the artful beauty of a setting sun over the beach. When eyes aren’t on the bride, you’ll be the belle of the beach ball in this semi-formal gown featuring front and back plunging necklines, a full skirt, and hidden pockets just right for tucking away seashells.

    Marchesa Notte pink metallic floral dress, $90, renttherunway.com

  14. Blue lace maxi beach wedding guest dress

    3. A midi and maxi marry to create this romantic look topped in satin-lined lace. The shorter skirt silhouette combined with the long, accordion-pleated overlay adds dimension for a contemporary feel to a more traditional profile. Add silver jewelry and strappy sandals to keep the look beachy.

    H&M maxi dress with lace bodice, $80, hm.com

  15. Pink geometric beach wedding guest dress

    4. Mesh cutouts add a peek-a-boo quality to a fresh and fun tribal print. The halter shape is easy to wear while the flattering floor-length fit is perfect for a more formal affair. Keep accessories simple to let the unique boho pattern attract the attention this formal beach wedding attire deserves.

    BCBG Max Azria Felicia geometric burnout print gown, $448, bcbg.com

  16. Purple strappy maxi beach formal wedding attire

    5. Lightweight and strappy, this dressed-up maxi dress is party perfect as your go-to formal beach wedding attire. The front keyhole cutout adds sensual style while the ruffled overlay keeps the look from upstaging the real star of the wedding (hint: the bride). Take the formal side over the top with shimmering chandelier earrings and metallic strappy sandals and matching bag.

    Lulus on my own dusty purple maxi dress, $94, lulus.com

  17. Coral and white ombre beach wedding guest dress

    6. The setting sun’s got nothing on this gorgeous ombré gown in transitioning shades of deep coral to bright white. The side and back cut-outs lend a two-piece swimwear feel, while the voluminous skirt and ball gown silhouette are classic for formal beach wedding attire.

    Decode 1.8 ombré cutout gown, $249, bloomingdales.com

  18. Lace halter beach wedding guest dress

    7. For an upscale cocktail-style reception that’s seaside, look to this leafy lace mini with midi lace overlay. The caged ladder trim adds visual interest to the halter bodice, while the sheer illusion hem makes it less bachelorette party and more formal friendly. Nude heels and a gold clutch complete this beach chic wedding attire look with ease.

    Bardot ‘Gemma’ halter lace sheath dress, $119, nordstrom.com

  19. Sequin and lace beach wedding guest dress

    8. When a formal beach affair requires you to pull out all the stops, look to this amazing sequin- and-lace sheath that shimmers like water bouncing off a smooth glass lake. The abstract coral lace embellishments are reminiscent of the flora and fauna of the sea. Add a matching pale coral pashmina when air-conditioned beachside venues create a chill.

    Dress the Population Angela sequin and lace dress, $254, bloomingdales.com

  20. Geometric maxi beach wedding guest dress

    9. Silk scarves in bold prints were a must for style icon Jackie O. While she may have worn them over her hair with a pair of thick-framed sunnies, you can set your own iconic style with this scarf-print maxi dress that feels like a modern and sophisticated take on a go-to beachy silhouette. Wear your hair up high to show off the trailing scarf tie that’s like a beachy nod to the bride’s veil.

    Eliza J scarf print crêpe de chine fit and flare maxi dress, $158, nordstrom.com

  21. Aqua tribal beach formal wedding attire

    10. The mesh burnout pattern overlay turns a short and sweet cocktail dress into a show-stopping stunner. This gown is perfectly dressed up for formal beach guest attire, but isn’t so stuffy that it doesn’t pair well with the shore setting. Step up this turquoise tribal gown with sandal stilettos and gold-tone arm bands.

    BCBG Max Azria aqua chakra gown, $80, renttherunway.com

    Plus Size Beach Wedding Attire

    Looking for a plus-size dress that’s just right for a beach wedding? Feel comfortable while looking gorgeous in a flowy maxi dress or a flattering jumpsuit—both are great options if you’re wondering what to wear to a beach wedding.

  22. Multicolor empire waist plus size beach wedding guest dress

    1. Get the comfort of your favorite t-shirt in a curve-flattering dress just right for what to wear to a beach wedding. Pair it with wedge espadrilles and a bold bracelet or statement necklace.

    TART Chloe empire waist maxi dress, $184, nordstrom.com

  23. Gardenia plus size beach wedding guest dress

    2. Flirty and fabulous, this pleated floral gown set against a bright orange background is pretty and party perfect for an upscale bridal shower or chic beachside wedding. Keep the focus on this flattering dress with nude strappy heels and add a thin belt for more midline definition if needed.

    Adrianna Papell gardenia dress, $50, renttherunway.com

  24. Black and white jumpsuit plus size beach wedding attire

    3. Not down with dresses? An open-shouldered jumpsuit in an airy fabric is just right for casual beach wedding attire or for a waterfront rehearsal dinner. Add a pop of color to this black-and-white look with a statement necklace that pairs nicely with the open neckline. Dress it up with stiletto sandals or keep it laid back with leather thong flats.

    Notations cold-shoulder jumpsuit, $40, target.com

  25. Blush wrap plus size beach wedding guest dress

    4. This wrap-style dress features short flounce sleeves and a tulip hem that will flutter with the ocean breezes. The beautiful blush tone can be dressed up or down with all kinds of accessories, making this dress a go-to look when either casual or formal beach wedding attire is needed.

    Forever 21 surplice maxi dress, $28, forever21.com

  26. Pink chiffon sheath plus size beach wedding guest dress

    5. Airy chiffon in an asymmetrical flowy drape keeps you covered from the sun’s rays while softening the look of this sculpted shutter-pleat sheath dress. While the look is perfect all on its own, it also provides a beautiful foundation if you want to add some bling to take this dressy look full-blown formal.

    Adrianna Papell chiffon overlay shutter pleat sheath dress, $180, nordstrom.com

  27. Color block maxi plus size beach wedding guest dress

    6. Who needs dainty florals when bold color-blocking stripes can turn a maxi dress into a beach wedding attire statement look? Take advantage of the plunging neckline to draw attention to a chunky necklace, or keep it effortless with wedge sandals and chic handbag in a bold, complementing print.

    ASOS Curve pleated plunge color block maxi dress, $88, asos.com

  28. Black shift plus size beach wedding guest dress

    7. Who doesn’t love a look that’s simple and still sexy? This double-layer shift dress offers flirty swing in black or raspberry. Have fun with your look with creative accessories that play up one or more pops of color.

    Rachel Roy double layer dress, $169, additionelle.com

  29. Beaded plus size beach wedding guest dress

    8. For upscale, formal beach wedding attire, this scalloped pattern gown in silvery sequins is sure to shine under the summer sun. Very little is needed to make this sophisticated stunner any better than it already is. Pair it with silver strappy stilettos and a silver clutch and you’re ready to go.

    Adrianna Papell beaded blouson gown, $280, nordstrom.com

  30. Striped plus size beach wedding guest dress

    9. With an haute nod to all things nautical, this sweetly striped dress is ready to set sail. The fit-and-flare styling is curve flattering, and the simple spaghetti straps and on-seam pockets offer easy wearability. For an edgier look, add black calf-wrapping strappy sandals, or say “ahoy matey” in red espadrilles and gold-tone accent accessories.

    City Chic striped fit and flare dress, $99, macys.com

  31. Pink python print maxi plus size beach wedding guest dress

    10. A city-chic snakeskin print gets a beachy make-under with this bold, electric pink jersey dress that is both eye-catching and comfortable. Border stripes add visual interest while a side slit makes it easy to dance the night away.

    Michael Michael Kors mamba a-line maxi dress, $150, nordstrom.com

    Beach Wedding Attire for Men

    When it comes to wedding guest attire, the guys usually have it pretty easy. A suit or some variation of it—a shirt and tie or a shirt, tie and vest—are typical choices. To change up the look, swap the tie and pocket square and you’re on your way. But when it comes to men’s beach wedding attire, it gets a little more complicated. First, a suit can be unbearable on the beach for a variety of reasons. Second, if it’s a casual wedding, a suit isn’t required—you’ll need to opt for beach wedding attire for men that feels more like business casual without being boring. Below are options for both casual and formal beach weddings that will take the guesswork out of beach wedding attire for male guests.

    Men’s Casual Beach Wedding Attire

    When the temperature rises, a suit is the last thing you want to wear. Lighten things up by opting for a breathable linen-blend blazer instead of a traditional suit jacket. For men’s casual beach wedding attire, skip the tie and instead wear a classic striped button-down shirt and a pair of white or colored jeans.

  32. Linen silk blazer beach wedding attire for men

    1. This handsome linen-blend blazer looks smoking hot even on a breezy beach day. If it gets too warm, set the blazer aside and roll up your sleeves for a boat-worthy look.

    J.Crew Ludlow blazer in Italian linen-silk, $298, jcrew.com

  33. Black suit joggers mens casual beach wedding attire

    2. Yes, joggers were once reserved for shooting hoops or chillaxin’ while watching the professionals run the court. But these athleisure pants have been upgraded, and when paired with the right pieces, they can be just right for beach wedding attire. Pair them with a crisp, untucked button-down shirt, blazer, and dressed-up sneaks, and you’ll be comfortable while also decked out to hit the dance floor in style.

    H&M suit joggers, $30, hm.com

  34. Aqua button down shirt beach wedding attire for men

    3. No tie is required when it comes to casual beach wedding attire for men. Keep your look classic by wearing a button-down shirt in a seaside color and match it up with either white pants or khakis. Take advantage of the beach life and skip the socks for boat shoes or a dressed-up sandal.

    Tasso Elba cotton regular-fit print shirt, $38, macys.com

  35. Chambray cotton blazer mens beach wedding attire

    4. Want to pull off a crisp, modern look for a wedding by the water? This chambray blazer has matching pants available for a summer suit that’ll get you through any warm-weather event. A playful patterned dress shirt and coordinating pocket square keeps it casual, while a crisp white shirt and tie buttons elevate this beach wedding attire for more formal events.

    Bonobos trim-fit chambray cotton blazer, $300, nordstrom.com

  36. Wool blazer beach wedding attire for men

    5. When a suit is a must but the beach venue makes the affair a bit laid-back, pick this modern suit in a cool, active cut. This fashion-forward blazer available with matching pants looks contemporary from the front, but it’s a party in the back with the sporty, futuristic feel with vented back structure for extreme breathability.

    EFM-Engineered for Motion passage regular-fit wool blazer, $755, saksfifthavenue.com

  37. Seersucker blazer mens beach wedding attire

    6. Shorts aren’t typically recommended for any wedding, even as casual beach wedding attire for men. However, when the shorts are part of a seersucker suit that screams “boat life,” they’re hard to pass up. It’s not an easy look for every guy to pull off, but if you’re willing to push the style boundaries, you just might be the coolest (literally) guy at the wedding.

    Singer + Sargent regular fit seersucker cotton blazer, $195, nordstrom.com

  38. Cotton linen blazer beach wedding attire for men

    7. When you ditch the stuffy suit, you introduce a bit of fun into your style. This unstructured cotton-linen blazer in gray is easy to pair with all kinds of casual looks, from khakis to colored denim. Wear a classic tee beneath and trade the socks for a pair of deck shoes instead for perfect casual beach wedding attire.

    J.Crew unstructured Ludlow blazer in cotton-linen, $168, jcrew.com

  39. Blue wool vest mens beach wedding attire

    8. When you want to look classically crisp but can’t imagine donning a jacket in the summer sun, a suit vest can help you achieve your style goals. Wear it with matching pants for a more tailored, dressed-up look, or try it over complementary pants to relax the style instead.

    Express blue wool twill suit vest, $98, express.com

  40. Red plaid sport coat beach wedding attire for men

    9. If color doesn’t scare you and you want to catch the eye of those not focused only on the bride, this is your blazer! Avoid going too bold by keeping the rest of your men’s beach wedding attire in neutral tones.

    JKT New York trim fit windowpane linen sport coat, $498, nordstrom.com

  41. Blue checked shirt mens beach wedding attire

    10. If you’re totally against wearing a suit but you’re still not sure what to wear to a beach wedding, consider this checkered oxford shirt. Perfect on its own, you can’t go wrong with this patterned shirt, whether you tuck it into khaki pants or wear it untucked with rolled sleeves over loose-fit linen pants.

    Polo Ralph Lauren men’s checked oxford shirt, $90, macys.com

    Beach Formal Wedding Attire for Men

    When the occasion is formal, light-weight, breathable materials with more formal, traditional cuts are what to wear to a beach wedding. We’ve rounded up several options for men’s beach wedding attire where these features are key to fashion and comfort.

  42. Skiiny taupe mens beach wedding attire

    1. Look sophisticated minus the sweat in a three-piece lightweight woven fabric. In addition to being breathable, these layered pieces allow you to remove your jacket while still looking appropriate in beach formal wedding attire for men.

    ASOS WEDDING skinny suit in taupe twist micro texture, $202 (total for three-piece suit), asos.com 

  43. Linen blazer beach wedding attire for men

    2. This timeless two-button blazer in a breezy linen construction creates a dapper look that never goes out of summer style. Pair the apparel with neutral tones to give a more beachside vibe to your formal wedding guest look.

    Nordstrom men’s shop classic fit linen blazer, $299, nordstrom.com

  44. Light gray suit mens beach wedding attire

    3. While a tuxedo is rarely a must for beach wedding men’s attire, if the day does come, consider renting your look in a light gray instead of the more traditional black (unless the wedding couple specifies otherwise, of course). This look is crafted from super lightweight wool, so while you might be more bundled up than you prefer, the fabric will lend a hand in keeping you comfortable.

    Joseph Abboud light gray satin-edged notch lapel, $229 rental, menswearhouse.com

  45. Grey suit beach wedding attire for men

    4. Named after the days when men would don suits to summer ball games, this rentable look honors throwback style and tradition ideal for warm weather. Wear this five-piece beach wedding attire for men and you’re sure to knock it out of the park.

    The Black Tux the Wrigley outfit, $150 rental, theblacktux.com

  46. Navy suit jacket mens beach wedding attire

    5. If the beach wedding is an evening by the sea, go for a jacket or full suit in midnight blue to match the water. For a laid-back affair try the blazer with dark-wash jeans and a button-down patterned shirt.

    Express slim photography navy performance stretch wool blend suit jacket, $298, express.com

  47. Cotton khaki beach wedding attire for men

    6. Like camouflage for sand, blend right in with the beach setting in this slim cotton suit with added stretch to feel less stiff. This updated look on the classic two-button jacket is relaxed enough that you can go barefoot beneath a pair of oxford slip-ons.

    Selected Homme slim cotton stretch suit, $309 (total for two-piece suit), asos.com

  48. Blue cotton pants mens beach wedding attire

    7. Sail the ocean blue in a suit the color of the sea. Slightly shorter, tapered legs with cuffs means no socks are required when wearing this beach wedding attire for men. The matching blazer completes the look with a formal shirt and tie beneath, or select a patterned button down to make it less formal.

    H&M cotton suit pants slim fit, $60, hm.com

  49. Plaid wool sports coat beach wedding attire for men

    8. Look like you own a yacht of your own in this smart sport coat that pairs well with tailored suit pants or more casual khakis. With colors that feel seaworthy, you’ll be no dinghy for setting sail on this stylish route.

    Hart Schaffner Marx classic fit plaid wool sport coat, $595, nordstrom.com

  50. Khaki suit beach wedding mens attire

    9. You can’t go wrong with a classic khaki suit when you’re a regular summer wedding guest. However, if formal beach weddings are a rarity in your life, rent this five-piece look for a more economical option that won’t sit in your closet unused.

    The Black Tux the Redding outfit, $175 rental, theblacktux.com

  51. Blue suit beach wedding attire for men

    10. Look sharp in this deep ocean blue suit in a classic cut that never goes out of style. Wear it as a complete look with a blue shirt and blue patterned tie for a monochromatic look. Or break up the pieces to get more use at less formal weddings and events.

    Lauren Ralph Lauren men’s medium blue solid slim-fit suit separates, $600 (total for two-piece suit), macys.com

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, some of which may be sponsored by paying vendors.

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