Dress Your Beach Best: A guide to looking great and staying comfortable at a beachside wedding

Dress Your Beach Best: A guide to looking great and staying comfortable at a beachside wedding

Ok, you’ve been invited to a destination wedding at the beach… Hooray! Kind’ve our specialty, right? Umm, right?? While sunshine and sandy toes are definitely our style, we are so used to keeping it cool and casual at the beach. What on earth do you wear to a beach WEDDING?
Beach Wedding in West Indies
When one of our island girls recently wrote to me asking for styling help for an upcoming destination wedding (and long weekend in paradise), I must admit I was a little stumped, myself! Not only because it’s been a minute since I’ve attended ANY wedding, let alone one in Hawaii 😍.
So, I did some digging for her and decided to share everything that I found right here for all of our island family to enjoy.
Packing the right attire for any event is essential, and even though beach weddings tend to be more casual than a black tie affair, we still want to adhere to a certain level of formality… To put it simply, beach wedding attire is similar to any other wedding where you dress according to the formality specified by the bride and groom, but you can make some small changes that will make you much more comfortable.
Palm Tree Sequin Top
When it comes to what to wear to a wedding on the beach, it does seem like the most commonly accepted idea is dressy casual, however, some may be more formal. So, I decided to break this blog down into dress codes and what outfits may work for us island girls depending on the style of the event. With some more general tips at the end. Let’s dive in! 🌊
Turks and Caicos Beach Wedding

Beach Formal

A full-length dress, or blouse and pant combo both work for island girls to wear to a beach formal wedding. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton or linen, or add a touch of lace for a more luxurious look. While satin is a gorgeous formal fabric most times it is made of polyester and does not breathe…. It will be like wearing a plastic bag, and you don’t want to end up in a sweaty mess before the reception even starts! Silk Satin is a natural fabric, however, it is a lot more expensive and can still be hot to wear. Steer clear of those fabrics, island girl!! Aaaand since stilettos and beach sand do not mix, I highly recommend sticking to fancy sandals or wedges. If the wedding itself is a formal event and it’s in an island destination, the chances are that you will have a couple of other formal or semi-formal cocktail outings to attend during the few days that you are there. If this is the case, I would recommend packing another formal outfit while you’re at it. That way you can have your dress for the main event and a pretty blouse and pant combo for the rehearsal dinner. Once you have these formal outfits packed, you can organize all the other casual tunics, sarongs and cotton goodies that you will need to enjoy your trip in chic comfort!
Outfit idea: Pair my white Palm Tree Sequin Top with a pair of wide-leg high-waisted cotton (or cotton/linen blend) paints for a super chic look. Opt for a sea blue or tropical green color to match the scenery, or make it pop with some bright pink. Then throw on a pair of sparkly sandals and a white Palm Tree kimono over your shoulders to complete the look, as well as protect your shoulders from the sun or the breeze after dark. These linen/cotton blend pants are highcut to hold everything in a wide comfortable leg and pleat front, which looks so sleek and sophisticated. I think this wedding outfit would be a perfect option for any island girl who prefers to wear pants rather than dresses, or as a formal rehearsal dinner look.
Palm Tree Sequined Top
Linen Cotton Pants

Beach Cocktail

A playful dress, jumpsuit, or blouse and pant combo would all look great for a semi-formal or cocktail wedding. Absolutely opt for vibrant prints and color schemes but do your research on the venue decor first, so you don’t completely clash.
Outfit idea: My pure cotton Anguilla Top in aqua would look absolutely stunning with a pair of full-length white linen pants. The top has a beautifully flattering length, so keep it untucked. Pop on some fancy silver sandals, your best silver jewelry, and a sparkly silver clutch to complete your beach cocktail wedding look. Be sure to iron your outfit or give it a quick steam before the event, as well as clean all your silver accessories so you look ultra-chic and sophisticated.
Anguilla Top Aqua
White Linen Pants

Beach Casual

Ahhhh this is our style! Grab your favourite sundress, breezy maxi dress or linen blouse/pant combo and you are set! Paired with some fun, island-style jewelry and dressy sandals, this is definitely our happy (style) place!
Outfit idea: The Linen “Amy” dress is ideal for a casual beach wedding! Once you have done your research on the location, you will have a better idea of whether to choose a more understated look with the Navy color or make it POP with bright pink. Either way, this linen dress will keep you cool and comfortable as you enjoy all the beachside festivities! The shape of this dress is a loose tank top style, with a wide generous hem frill. Such a flattering dress for all body types. And, the fabric doesn't cling to your bumps even in the tropical heat.  If you are braver than me, you could wear a cute pair of fancy wedges and match the style with your handbag or clutch. Throw on a stylish beach hat and voila!
Amy Linen Dress
Sun Hat  Wedges

General Beach Wedding Attire Tips

Research the climate of the destination: Is it hot and humid? Come prepared with your breathable fabrics. Does it storm in the afternoons? Pack a poncho or a small umbrella. Are there a tonne of mosquitos at sunset? Opt for long pants and keep a cardi handy so you can cover up. Does the ocean breeze get quite strong? Leave the sunhat at home and layer on plenty of sunscreen… Sunscreens don’t have to leave you all greasy, go with a foundation that has SPF in it and be sure to re-apply.
An important rule to remember is that this isn’t our regular island girl outing at the beach—it’s a wedding. Leave the bathing suits and swim shorts at home, and if opting for sandals, make sure they’re dressier than your normal beachy flip flops.
Beach Wedding Outfit Sandals
Sun hats are a great idea (unless its super windy), but remember to remove them during the ceremony so as to not block the view of other guests.
Beach Wedding Hat
Don’t forget that you are likely to be outside in the heat and even though it’s a fancy event, your skin still needs to be protected from the sun! Find a sunscreen that is fragrance-free (so it doesn’t mask your favorite perfume) and lather it on before the ceremony. Better yet! Pack a little travel size sunscreen, so you can reapply if you feel yourself getting fried.
Depending on the weather, consider bringing a starfish burnout cardi with you for when the sun ducks below the horizon and the mosquitos come out.
Starfish Burnout Cardi
Comfort should always be taken into consideration when planning your outfits. You can’t truly enjoy all the special moments if you are worried about sweat marks on your satin dress or how badly your feet hurt in those uncomfortable heels. Dress your best but keep it comfy, island girls!
I hope this guide was helpful to you! If you’re still feeling a little unsure about how to dress for an upcoming beach wedding (or any other fun event you are planning for), feel free to email me or CLICK HERE to post in Our Island Family and see what advice your island girl friends from around the globe have for you!
One love,
Kim Van Loo
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