What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

by Kathleen Loxton
Bride walking on sand- wedding dress

Sun, sea and sand sure do make a beautiful setting for a wedding, but this romantic backdrop requires slightly different attire in terms of wedding dress code. If you’re wondering what to wear to a wedding at the beach, you’re in luck; we’ve picked out a dreamy collection of the most perfect beach wedding outfits that’ll have everyone admiring your beach wedding attire – whether you’re a guest or the bride.

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What to Wear to a Casual Beach Wedding

Kate Middleton in white sundress on beachMiranda Kerr beach photoshoot in coral dress
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Taylor Swift in a white pink and blue sundress (street style)

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Sundresses are an ideal option when looking for what to wear to a casual beach wedding. A white sundress for beach wedding locations is appropriate, or vibrant hues like pinks or coral make a great impact. Think floaty fabrics, tropical prints, and effortlessly put together beachy style.

For inspiration, Ted Baker, Phase Eight and Oasis offer some great options. The key to looking as immaculate as Kate Middleton or as radiant as Miranda Kerr is remembering the world is your oyster when it comes to finding that outfit for a beach wedding.

Deciding what shoes to wear to at a beach wedding is a slightly trickier choice – your go-to staple of stilettos or heels don’t mix well with sand, but your footwear can’t be too casual for this special occasion. We recommend a pair of wedding beach sandals or a wedge (Dune have a great selection) which make it easier to conquer the seaside landscape but are still suitable for the occasion; just remember to use protective spray on shoe materials that need it (like suede).   

What to Wear to a Semi Formal Beach Wedding

Maxi Dresses

Jennifer Lopez maxi dress street styleSarah Jessica Parker coral maxi dress beach setting
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Rachel Mcadams blue maxi dress street style

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Maxi dresses for beach weddings exude relaxed glamour and are a fun choice if you’re unsure what to wear to a tropical wedding. Whether you opt for a solid colour like Sarah Jessica Parker or a bounty of prints, there’s a maxi style out there for you. If vibrant colours aren’t your style then neutrals or pastels are so flattering and exquisite against the setting’s sandy hues. There’s also no harm in branching out with your accessories; beach-inspired pieces like Oliver Bonas’s palm leaf bangle add a nice touch. Get your ideas flowing and you’re sure to look picture perfect!

Beachy Cocktail Dresses

miranda kerr backstage pink dresssienna miller wearing floral dress
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Amanda Seyfried and Emma Roberts beach photo shoot nude dresses

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Deciding what kind of dress to wear to a beach wedding can seem particularly tricky when the lines in the sand are blurred with regards dress code, but beachy cocktail dresses provide a huge array of fresh possibilities and are ideal to wear to a semi-formal beach wedding. If you like lurid colour go for a tropical print like Sienna Miller, or if not go for sandy neutrals similar to Miranda Kerr.

When pairing wedding beach shoes with these kinds of dresses, nude wedges go wonderfully with pastel frocks; or you can throw in a splash of colour with a bold hue. Just remember to keep the material and style sophisticated enough if it’s a wedge, and definitely no flip-flops.  

What to Wear to a Formal Beach Wedding

Vanessa Hudgens yellow dress movie premiereEmily Blunt blue long dress at event
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Lauren Conrad blue maxi dress with sleeves at a beach photoshoot

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When it comes to what to wear to a formal beach wedding, the ball game changes a little bit, and beach formal is now what you’ll be aiming for. What a great excuse to enjoy the process off dressing-up for the special day; after all, when else do you get to wear a gorgeous gown to the beach?

When looking for outfits to wear to a wedding that are both dress code and location appropriate, we can’t recommend a maxi dress more. Maxi dresses in smarter fabrics or more form fitting long dresses are both great options. Material and cut, along with accessories, are your treasure trove of tricks for making your ensemble beach wedding ready.

If your taste leans towards floaty dresses (and you want to avoid wearing something tighter than a Baywatch speedo), then dresses akin to Vanessa Hudgens and Lauren Conrad above are the perfect solution for what kind of dress to wear to a beach wedding. Alternatively, try on something mermaid-inspired should you hear the siren call; a turquoise dress for beach wedding occasions (similar to that seen above on Emily Blunt) will look flattering against all skin tones and beach settings.

Best Beach Wedding Dresses

Wedding dress house of fraser Phase Eight Chelsie Bridal Dress
House of Fraser £395
Satin Tie Shoulder Dress by TOPSHOP BRIDE
Topshop Bride £350
ASOS BRIDAL Embroidered Cami Mesh Maxi Dress
ASOS £150
House of Phase Eight Hallie Bridal Dress
House of Fraser £395
ASOS Chi Chi London Lace Midi Dress With Scallop V Back
ASOS £78
House of Fraser Phase Eight Oriana Embroidered Wedding Dress
House of Fraser £325

If you think it’s hard deciding what to wear for a beach wedding as a guest, how on earth do you decide what dress to wear to a beach wedding if you’re the bride? Beachy wedding dresses are exquisite but it can still be difficult to find the one, so the important thing to remember is that it’s your day and you should be wearing the dress of your dreams. The scene is perfect, the person you love is waiting for you at the end of the aisle, and the photos and memories will last forever. Wedding dresses for beach weddings don’t vary too much, but there are a few things to get right when choosing and saying yes to that dress.

Length is the first element you’ll want to decide on to help narrow your choice; whether that’s short, mid-length or long. All lengths can work for a beach wedding and you can break the rules if you love the beach location but not the style that goes along with it. House of Fraser and ASOS have a beautiful selection of casual beach wedding dresses fit for a bride, and Topshop’s bridal collection is jaw-droppingly lovely.

Fit is also incredibly important, and you’ll need to consider the venue layout should you choose to have a train (you don’t want the beach location getting the better of your dress). If there is room in the dress to do simple alternations, that’s even better; but any big changes to that all-important garment need to be done in plenty of time to avoid any panic as the date comes closer.

Shoes and other accessories are the final elements to think about when completing your bridal beach wedding look. When it comes to wedding shoes it’s best to make the choice after you know the length of the dress, and get the shoes protected with spray to keep them looking pristine. If you’re a traditional bride and would like to have something blue with you other than the sea, earrings, bracelet or hairpins with touches of blue on them is an easy way to provide that.

Beach Wedding Makeup


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Final Notes: What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

  • For a casual beach wedding, opt for either a light-coloured sundress for beach wedding guest or a maxi with a vibrant hue, and have fun with seaside inspired accessories. Think floaty fabrics and either natural tones or fun beachy/tropical prints for effortless glamour.
  • For a formal beach wedding, go wild with mermaid shapes or gorgeous flowing material. Oh-so glamorous.
  • For a semi-formal beach wedding, sandy neutrals or pops of colour are perfect. Dress-up your beachy cocktail dress with accessories for the ultimate outdoors wedding look.
  • Whether short or long, relaxed silhouettes and detail is key if you’re the bride.
  • Finish off your outfit with natural, long-lasting makeup with a golden glow.

Whether you’re a guest or the bride, you’re now ready to take the plunge and start preparing those beach wedding clothes.

Read more great articles on women’s fashion here at alexie.co.

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