Beach Formal

What Do I Wear to a Destination Wedding?

Frequent interaction with guests of destination weddings has made the question “What should I wear on the big day?” a familiar one.  It’s a great question.  Not everyone has been involved in a destination wedding event before, and it’s hard to know what rules apply.  The answer can vary, so we’ve broken down some of our tips for looking flawless while still staying cool.  Feel free to use our very own impeccably dressed wedding guests as examples!

Beach Formal

Chris W Photography

LET’S BEGIN WITH THE BASICS

Let’s point out the obvious – the heat is a big factor in a destination wedding couple choosing “Beach Formal” as opposed to the traditional “Formal” or “White Tie.”  After all, no one wants to be in a three-piece suit in 80° degree weather.  So keep this in mind when choosing your outfits.  The wedding couple certainly wants you to feel stunning, but also comfortable!  So here are the basic guidelines for what is appropriate for formal beach wear:

Women: formal sundress, midi-dress, maxi, two-piece dress, formal jumpsuit, heels, pumps, wedges, elegant sandals

Men: Formal khakis or linen pants or shorts, linen shirts (short-sleeves or long), summer suits (though jacket is not normally required), formal sandals or loafers

Beach Formal

Seasons Photo Studio

THE DON’TS

While destination weddings have a slightly more relaxed expectation for your attire, there are some things you should avoid, such as:

Flip flops – feel free to bring a pair for the reception, but keep them tucked away in your purse during the ceremony

Very short dresses – it may be hot out, but still remember to dress for a wedding and not the club

Swim wear – this includes cover-ups

Tennis shoes – upgrade to nice sandals or loafers instead

Going shirtless – this goes for the reception as well as the ceremony, boys!

CONSIDER WHO YOU ARE TO THE WEDDING COUPLE

Parents, siblings, grandparents, and basically anyone who will be needed for photographs but are not in the wedding party should dress to impress.  Still consider the heat and how comfortable you will be, but also don’t be afraid to step it up a notch so you stand out from the other guests.

Beach Formal

Impact Images

DEPENDS ON WHERE THE CEREMONY & RECEPTION ARE

Not all destination weddings and vow renewals take place on the beach.  Some are on rooftops, in ballrooms, in gardens or even in restaurants.  In air-conditioned ballrooms or restaurants, you might be a bit cold in shorts or a small sundress, and your wedding couple might be looking for more elegant wear.  On a rooftop, it might be a little too windy for anything shorter than knee length without worrying about it all night.  On the beach you can go barefoot later, but in a garden you might want to bring along flip-flops for the grass.  Think about the location of ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception and consider how well your attire blends with the environments.

Beach Formal

Seasons Photo Studio

LAST BUT NOT LEAST…    

It is never a bad idea to ask the bride or groom what they want!  They’re a busy pair the months before the wedding, but don’t feel bad asking them for clarification on the dress code or where their ceremony and reception will take place.  You have to pack your outfits ahead of time and you have limited space in your luggage, so it is good to be prepared and know your attire is in line with the couples’ vision for their big day.

Beach Formal

Seasons Photo Studio

Beach Formal

Chris W Photography

Beach Formal

DeGroot Film Co.

Beach Formal

Impact Images

Beach Formal

Chris W Photography

Megan

Operations and Content Specialist

Megan was recently married to the man of her dreams! Her insight into what it feels like to be a blushing bride paired with her experience in the travel industry gives couples and their guests a personalized experience from start to finish. Megan contributes her best tips, inspiration and first-hand experiences on the blog!

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