If you have been invited to a wedding on the beach but you have never attended one before, you may be unclear about how to choose appropriate beach wedding clothes. Most weddings are formal, and if not, they are at least dressy. But this one will be on the beach!
Guys, should you wear a designer silk suit or tropical-print beach shorts? Do you comb your hair neatly or leave it wild and tangled in true surfer fashion? Ladies, should you wear those expensive Prada pumps you save for special occasions - or would a pair of flip-flops do just as well? Normally, a beach ceremony is a more casual affair than a traditional church wedding. Beach attire for a seaside wedding is typically less formal as well.
Some wedding guests are fortunate and receive invitations with hints about what they should wear. If your invitation didn't give you a clue, send the bride and groom a quick email asking for their suggestions before you start planning your beach wedding clothes. They will probably suggest some type of upscale beach attire, but no matter what they recommend, they will appreciate your concern and the indication that you are planning to attend.
If after asking you are still bewildered, here are some guidelines to help:
Men's Wedding Beach Clothing: Forget about wearing black beach wedding clothes. Black is usually reserved for the groom (although this rule isn't quite as strictly followed as the rule that says white is reserved for brides). A white cotton shirt with a button-down collar is usually safe for a less formal ceremony when it is paired with dress slacks.
If wearing a suit would make you more comfortable, light-colored linen slacks with a matching jacket and a casual, striped shirt will provide some laid-back formality and can be the perfect blend of casual and dressy. If your tastes run to the adventuresome or "beachy," select a pair of well-tailored linen, cotton or silk-blend shorts or pants with draw-strings, and pair them with a silk shirt in a tropical print.
Leather sandals are a good choice as footwear for the wedding, although you want to make sure they are open enough to let sand get out. You won't have that problem with leather flip-flops, so they make a nice alternative. You can even go barefoot, depending on the formality of the ceremony and your other clothing. But be careful not to go overboard. You wouldn't want to be barefoot while you are wearing a posh linen suit.
Women's Beach Wedding Attire: You don't want to upstage the bride with your beach wedding clothes, so whatever you decide to wear, don't out-dress her. Formal weddings give you more freedom to wear dressy clothes, but if the ceremony is casual, your best choice is the type of beach attire you might wear to a fancy resort. Cotton or rayon lightweight skirts are perfect if the wedding beach is in the tropics. You will achieve a flawless look if you pair one of these skirts with a cotton or rayon island-style top in bright, primary colors. A well-tailored jersey dress is another ideal option.
As for length, a shorter dress or skirt will be best on the wedding beach. Try to avoid wearing a long dress and high heels, because these can make walking through deep sand almost impossible. Add some chic, subdued "bling" like a bracelet, necklace and earrings with an island or beach theme and you're almost there.
To complete the look, wear sandals or dressy flip-flops with pretty painted toe-nails. If you would rather go barefoot, wear a toe ring, ankle bracelet or barefoot sandals. Foot jewelry works particularly well if it is crafted from coral, shells or other items that show off your beach wedding clothes.