Tuxedos & Formal Wear

How To Dress For A Beach Wedding

When you settle on a beach wedding, you and your fiancé might think you’re off the hook when it comes to dressing up. After all, you’re going to be on the beach, so you can just wear beach stuff, right? She’ll be in a white bikini, you’ll be in midnight blue Speedo. Done.

While it is true you won’t need to be fretting about tuxedos and top hats, sometimes figuring out an “in-between” dress code can be even more difficult. For a start, the beach doesn’t automatically translate to warm weather. What is “smart surf style” supposed to mean anyway?  Should you be ready to run off into the waves after you’ve said your vows? Does everyone really look hotter in sunglasses? And what about man sandals?

Balance Your Fun

On the other hand, one of the great things about a beach wedding is it gives you a lot more room to be playful with your attire. That doesn’t mean you should show up to ceremony looking like you got lost on your way to the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Cruise. The trick is to balance the fun elements with the more traditional ones. Your groomsmen want to wear sunglasses? Fine: they also have to wear a collared shirt. Do you want to wear a t-shirt with a linen suit? Ok, but make sure the fit is modern–you don’t want to go full Crockett and Tubbs.

Tone Down Your Shirts

Unless you are actually getting married in Hawaii (and have an adorable dog to dress up a la Jordan Peele) or having a down-to-the-last-cocktail 1960s tiki style wedding, you probably want to skip the Hawaiian shirts. That doesn’t mean you can’t go for other casual shirting options.  A short sleeved collared shirt in Irish linen mixes the structure of a collared shirt with a softer fabric. Roll up the sleeves on a Gingham or calico oxford to look more low-key than you would in a stiff white dress shirt.  If you don’t want a blazer, maybe plan to layer on an old style fisherman’s sweater in case it gets chilly after the sun sets.

Tone Up Your Shorts

A beach wedding is probably one of the few places that you might opt for off formal shorts or cropped pants. If you choose to go full J. Crew model and wear a shorts suit just make sure it fits and keep it simple. The same goes for cropped pants. If the fit isn’t just right you will end up looking like you grew five inches since your last fitting.

Best Feet Forward

The above styles are going to bring focus to your footwear too.  While you might be comfortable going barefoot with slacks or cropped pants, with shorts your probably still want to wear a shoe. Keep it simple.

And what about those dreaded man sandals? You might balk at the idea of people looking at your toes, but it’s no fun standing around with sand in your shoes. Truthfully, everyone will probably be spending more time looking at the smile on your face than at your gnarly hobbit feet, but go get a pedicure just in case. Pool slides or flip flops are fine, but make sure they are leather. No plastic Adidas soccer sandals: this is a wedding, not your first freshman kegger.


Bottom Line

A beach wedding requires its own type of fashion prep: not as formal as a black tie affair, of course, but not as relaxed as a weekend at the shore either.

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