It doesn’t get much better than watching your favorite people exchange vows against a gorgeous ocean backdrop—wedding cake and celebratory dancing aren’t so bad, either. If you’ve been invited to witness a couple of lovebirds say “I do” on the sand this summer, you might be wondering what to wear to a beach wedding.
As a wedding guest, you know you’re expected to spruce up for the big event. Yet while most weddings call for fancy attire, pulling it off isn’t as straightforward for oceanside nuptials. Even wedding dresses are slightly different for beach weddings. Formal gowns and tuxedos might not be the best choice, but you also don’t want to look overly casual. On top of that, you have to keep the sun, sand, and saltwater in mind for your footwear, which means finding beach sandals that are appropriate for the occasion.
If you need a bit of inspiration, keep reading for flattering, and comfortable beach wedding outfit ideas.
Beach Wedding Outfit Ideas
You probably have a decent idea of what to wear to a traditional indoor or black tie wedding, but what are the rules for wedding attire on the sand? Should you lean toward casual, cocktail, or formal attire? Whether you’re a guest or in the wedding party, these beachy wedding ensembles will help you rise to the occasion.
Cocktail Dress and Flat-Soled Sandals
Although we don’t recommend wearing a formal gown (unless the dress code calls for it), you can still look glammed-up in a cocktail dress. Your best bet is a short or mid-length dress, both of which will stay well out of the sand. Plus, if the sun is blazing during the ceremony, you won’t overheat like you would in a long, stiff gown. On that note, we suggest wearing a halter top dress, one with an open back, or another style that’ll keep you cool during the heat of the day.
For beach weddings, we love lightweight fabrics, such as lace, crepe, and chiffon, in medium and light neutral colors. Blush pink, lilac, mauve, and gray are all excellent picks in solid hues or subtle prints. For your shoes, we recommend flat-soled beach wedding sandals (or wedge if you want some height) in a color that matches your dress. To create the appearance of longer legs in a short or midi cocktail dress, opt for nude shoes.
Jumpsuit and Wedges
Aside from dresses, jumpsuits are excellent cocktail attire. They’re perfectly versatile and sophisticated, which makes this outfit work whether it’s a casual wedding or a more fancy event. Not only that but similar to a dress, a jumpsuit is a one-and-done ensemble you can throw on to immediately look chic and put-together.
Having said that, there are a bunch of different cuts and materials to choose from. Are you going for a boho, breezy, polished, or flirty vibe? You can find a jumpsuit style to nail the look. We love jumpsuits in solid shades, such as navy, lavender, yellow, and pink, but prints are also a fantastic choice.
For footwear, we suggest wedge heels or platform sandals in a complementing hue. Check out the selection from Vionic for elevated shoes you can comfortably wear all day and night.
Maxi Dress and Strappy Sandals
When it comes to beach wedding guest dresses, a maxi dress is always an excellent option. This dress style is not only the perfect beachy balance of laid-back and fancy, but it’s also universally flattering. Maxi dresses come in endless styles and colors. For beach weddings, we suggest a strapless or cami-strap maxi—or another open-shoulder style you’ll be comfortable wearing in the sun. Mainly, you want to avoid styles and fabrics that are too tight or restricting. With a jersey-knit maxi, you can also tie the skirt portion to keep it out of the sand and water.
At Vionic, we adore the look of lilac, blush pink, navy, gray, tan, and olive green maxi dresses for beach weddings. Floral, stripes and geometric patterns are also great picks, as long as they aren’t too distracting. Leather strappy sandals will complete the look and are a stylish pair of shoes to wear on the beach. Go for a supportive pair in a neutral color, such as brown, camel, gray, or nude.
Sundress and Dressy Flip Flops
Sundresses are typically made of cotton or other lightweight materials, and they’re not usually form-fitting. Also, they’re inherently summery, which makes them ideal for warm-weather weddings. Most sundresses are sleeveless and fall above the knees, so you don’t have to worry about being too hot on the sand. Just keep in mind that a sundress is considered to be slightly less fancy than a cocktail dress. That being said, if you’re wondering what to wear to a casual beach wedding, this is an excellent choice.
For laid-back outdoor weddings, intricate floral prints are stunning. We’re also partial to lace, striped, and solid sundresses. In terms of shoes, dressy flip-flops can be an appropriate option if the wedding will be held right on the sand. When in doubt, opt for a pair of flat-soled strappy leather sandals, espadrilles, wedges, or platform sandals.
Lightweight Pants and Slingback Shoes
Men aren’t the only ones who can wear pants to weddings, and your options go beyond jumpsuits. One of our favorite women’s wedding guest attire looks is lightweight pants. For an oceanside summer wedding, go with a pair of high-waisted linen or cotton pants with a lace or satin camisole top. A simple tank can also be tucked into the pants. For a day-to-night ensemble, consider a pants suit. You can go without the jacket during the ceremony and throw it on if you get chilly after sundown.
What type of comfortable shoes for women goes best with lightweight pants? For an indoor event, we’d usually recommend kitten heels or block-heeled shoes. However, for a beach wedding, sandals or wedges are the way to go. Closed-toe slingback or ankle-strap wedges are great picks for this beach outfit because they nod to the classy vibe of a pants suit, and yet they’re also suitable for the beach.
Men’s Beach Wedding Attire
For guys, wedding guest attire is typically pretty straightforward. A suit, tux, or dress pants and a dress shirt are usually appropriate, but the dress code for beach weddings isn’t so cut and dry. For one thing, a formal suit and tie might be unbearably hot, and it may also be slightly too
fancy, depending on the theme.
Are you looking for a fail-safe beach wedding outfit for men? We recommend wearing a lightweight linen suit with or without a tie. You can always take the suit jacket off if you get too hot. For a beachy touch, you might consider a tropical flower or a sprig of greenery instead of a traditional pocket square.
Also, dark-colored men’s suits tend to look more formal than lighter hues. We suggest wearing a tan, taupe, light brown, or light gray suit. That way, you’ll look dapper but not overdressed. If you’re going to a tropical wedding, you might be able to wear a Hawaiian shirt or shorts, but only if it’s specified on the invite or approved by the bride and groom. If you want to wear sandals, a pair of leather slides or men’s flip flops in a toe-post style can work for beach weddings. For a safer option, go for comfortable dress shoes or boat shoes. No matter which style you choose, Vionic offers stylish shoes for men to compliment any beach wedding outfit.
Beach Wedding Attire Tips
As a guest, there are a lot of directions you can go with your beach wedding attire. Generally speaking, you should aim to be comfortable and not too casual or overdressed. To help you pull off the perfect wedding guest outfit, we’ve compiled a few of our best tips.
When considering what to wear to a beach wedding:
- Check the wedding invitation for a dress code
- Opt for lightweight fabrics
- Veer from suits in dark colors unless it’s specified as part of the theme or dress code
- Avoid super-bright colors and distracting prints
- Prepare for the elements with sunscreen, a sun hat, and sunglasses
- Prioritize comfortable stylish shoes
Lastly, no matter how casual or fancy it is, it’s recommended that you avoid outshining the bride on her wedding day. This means white and off-white are off the table, regardless of her wedding dress color, unless noted otherwise on the invite.
Beach Wedding Shoes from Vionic
Whether you’re a bridesmaid, groomsman, or guest, Vionic has stylish, comfortable shoes that’ll align with any beach wedding dress code. This includes embellished flip-flops, strappy flat sandals, espadrilles, wedges, platform sandals, leather slides, boat shoes, and many styles of dress shoes. And if you’ve got a winter, spring, or fall wedding on the calendar, we have the perfect footwear for that, too.
Every pair of Vionic shoes has our exclusive Vio-Motion Support. This means that orthotic soles, arch support, deep heel seats, and comfy cushioning are all embedded into each fashionable design. Check out our collection of flattering styles to find a pair of shoes that provide endless support and comfort while you walk in the sand or dance the night away.