Decoding The Dress Code For Summer Beach Weddings

It's fun to get a wedding invitation, but likely your happiness for the couple is quickly followed by the question, "what do I wear?" especially if it's a beach wedding. Dressing for beach weddings means obeying the dress code on the invitation, and modern wedding couples do increasingly add that bit of info. If you have a beach wedding to attend this summer, read on for tips on choosing that perfect ensemble.

  1. If the invitation says beach casual you are safe with pretty summer sundresses and flat sandals. Don't misinterpret this and wear cut-offs and a tank top. Casual in this case means a cute sundress to show off sun-kissed shoulders (faux tanned of course) in a soft sun-washed color to reflect the surroundings. Try something in sand, sky blue and sea-foam green shades and you'll be color coordinated to the environment.
  2. If the invitation indicates beach formal your dress needs to be more elegant with a dressier, but still flat, sandal. This could be the time to bring out a longer sundress, either maxi or tea length (mid calf). The fabrics here should be dressier, think silk rather than linen. Flat sandals have evolved from strictly casual wear and can be found with beading, stone-work and sequins. Look for sandals that are more bare for a dressier look.
  3. If the invitation does not indicate the dress code, the couple likely just wants you to be comfortable, meaning beach casual. If in doubt, contact a member of the bridal party (not the bride) to get some clarification.
  4. Don't fight the elements. Beaches are sandy, hot and windy places, so dress accordingly.
  • Black can be chic and is no longer verboten at weddings, but you will likely roast in a black dress if the wedding is in the daytime.
  • Beach weddings are sometimes held at night and it could be unexpectedly cool, even in the middle of summer, so a pretty wrap or little cardigan will help keep you comfortable.
  • Cool, breathable natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk and chiffon are perfect to help you keep your cool.
  • You want the fabric to resist clinging. A lining of a cool fabric could help keep the dress from sticking to your skin. The slight extra layer will pay off by giving you a cool, calm and collected look.
  • Most beaches are going to be windy day or night, so bear in mind that a short, flippy dress is going to annoy you for the duration of the event if you have to hold it down. Stick to a straighter and no-higher-than-knee length sundress.

These tips should get you started on your search for that perfect little sundress for that summer beach wedding. Planning ahead and being appropriately attired will allow you to relax and enjoy the special occasion.