When Life’s a Beach, Dress for It

Beach weddings are hugely popular. There’s a good reason for this. What could be more festive than sun, sand, blue water, and a big party?

But if a beach wedding is popular, it’s also a bit tricky when it comes to clothes. After all, traditional wedding clothes are all about pomp and circumstance, while beaches are all about relaxing. Yes, you could get married in swimwear. There’s no law against it. You could get married in a strapless, satin, beaded gown with a cathedral train and a big hoop.

There is, however, a path down the middle that makes for a pretty, dignified, fun, festive day and an album full of fabulous pictures. Here are a few tips on choosing just the right look for your big day on the beach.

1: Keep it light. Heavy satin and beaded lace may be gorgeous in a church or elegant ballroom, but they look and feel out of place at the beach. Instead, look for lighter fabrics like chiffon, eyelet lace, crisp cottons and linens. Speaking of light, the beach is no place for a long train. Trust me, it will just wind up full of sand and salt and it will weigh you down. If you must have a train on the beach, keep it to a sweep length. And then be prepared for the fact that it will be full of sand at the end of the day.

My advice about length? Keep it no longer than brushing the tops of your feet.

2: Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your look with lots of elaborate jewelry, extreme make up, a stiff updo, or a huge multi-layer veil. Stick with something like a flower in your hair and a lei or a fabulous sun hat. You’ll be more comfortable, and look more in keeping with your site.

3: Barefoot on the Beach is Beautiful. Don’t attempt to wear high heels on the beach. That’s a sprained ankle waiting to happen. Either stick with flats, choose some pretty sandals, or – for a bold and appropriate look – just ditch the shoes altogether. Get yourself and your bridesmaids a fabulous pedicure a day or two before the wedding and show off those pretty nails.

4: Keep it Bright. The beach is not the place for black or dull colors. Go bright. this is the place for hot pink, sunshine yellow, sky blue, grass green, cherry red…or pure white. Bright colors are best in an out of door venue. Don’t be afraid of them.

5: Don’t Make the Guys Sweat It. Just as a heavy satin gown with a ten-foot train looks and feels out of place, men’s full black (let alone white!) tie formal wear tends to look stiff and uncomfortable on the beach. Give the guys a break and let them wear linen suits, white shirts and khaki pants, or navy blazers with white trousers. If you’re having a destination wedding, consider choosing a shirt in the style of the place you’re visiting. Let them go barefoot, too. After all, it’s about having a relaxed celebration.

6: Keep it Dignified. Choose clothes that still say ‘wedding’ and do your best to take it seriously (though not overly so). Relaxed is great. But if you want people to talk about your wedding as a wonderful event where everyone – including grandma – had a terrific time, try not to make it quite this relaxed:

2 Responses to “When Life’s a Beach, Dress for It”

  1. La BellaDonna May 20, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    I would like to respectfully suggest that the Beach Bride, her Beach Bridesmaids, and her female guests, at least, strongly considerd the addition of parasols to their festive raiment. There is, in fact, no reason why the Beach Groom, his Beach Groomsmen, and the male guests cannot also have parasols accompanying their festive raiment; in fact, I would recommend it. There’s a powerful amount of sun beating down and reflecting back as the guests sit/stand during the ceremony and picture-taking and whatnot. I know I’d burst into flame without a parasol, under those conditions. And that’s in addition to wearing a hat. And possibly a festive linen burqa. I’m thinking spray-on sunblock as bridal favors!

  2. Sunny June 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    My Husband and I got married on the beach in the Florida Keys. It drove me nuts looking for the right dress and shirt and pants for him. Talk about ‘Bridezilla’. But then I came across a small resort wear boutique in Islamorada, FL and there was everything we needed. The name was PJ Max, LTD. My dress was a light weight Crikled cotton design and he wore a tropical design shirt with tan linen pants. The staff was fantastic but now I’ve heard that the actual store has closed and they are strickly an online store now. I found them online at http://www.pjmaxltd.com

    If you’re truly tired of looking and looking for something light, breezy, and casual for the beach, give them a try. They have what we’ve all pictured but couldn’t find anywhere else.