More often than not, a destination wedding means you’ll be headed to the beach. There’s arguably no place more romantic to declare eternal love than in a locale like Tulum or St. Tropez. As a guest, you'll want to be comfortable and relaxed, yet supremely put together all at once. When searching for what to wear for a beach wedding, think of lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen, and loose-fitting outfits that can take you from the sands of Bali to sipping on handcrafted cocktails to dropping it like it’s hot on the dance floor.
Decoding the dress code
Not all beach weddings are about a boho, barefoot hippie vibe. Some are decidedly more formal than others and some are more casual. The dress code on the invitation is a good place to start when planning your ensemble.
For a semi-formal ceremony being held on a yacht or at a resort near the beach, Roland Mouret's Monamy off-the-shoulder dress from the Spring '17 collection is both polished and perfect for showing off that golden glow. Men can look dapper in a Brunello Cucinelli linen two-piece suit from the Spring '17 runway in a timeless color like navy, beige or stone. Top off the look with a crisp shirt, solid tie and printed pocket square.
If you’re headed to Tulum for a "beach formal" ceremony, remember that when choosing dresses to wear to a beach wedding, the key is a cross between appropriate and comfortable. Consider a light, breezy maxi dress or printed caftan in vibrant tropical colors. Keep the length on the longer side, as just a small gust of ocean wind can lead to a sandy wardrobe malfunction. Look for romantic, bohemian silhouettes — like a floor-grazing, earth-toned Missoni crochet maxi dress — that can take you from the shore to the reception. Men can pack a seersucker or Tattersall print shirt and a pair of ankle length Dolce and Gabbana tailored pants, jacket optional.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding what to wear to a beach wedding is the fabric of your outfit. Select dresses and separates in breathable fabrics like linen, chiffon, cotton blends or lace to keep you cool and dry in balmy climates.
When exploring dresses to wear to a beach wedding, experiment with texture and pattern. To channel the romance of the Italian seashores, try a striped, navy-on-white cotton blend dress from Alice + Olivia's Spring '17 collection. Pair the dress with a matching striped turban from the same runway presentation, oversized sunglasses and neutral sandals if you're willing to err on the side of outré experimentation.
For men, a humid climate calls for a shirt made in lightweight material, like linen. Choose a classic white Etro button down, as it pairs with just about everything. If the dress code calls for it, layer the shirt underneath a cream linen blazer. Mint green or powder blue chinos provide a pop of color.
Golden wrists, sandy toes
Once the dresses and suits are packed, it's time to choose accessories and shoes. For a beach casual daytime wedding, look for modern yet minimal options like handcrafted gold hoop earrings by Melissa Joy Manning and a gold enamel bangle — or even several layered bangles — on your wrist. Tote your lipstick and other essentials in mini wristlet bag for easy carrying, and don’t forget to pack a pair of classic unisex aviators; you’ll need them to hide the inevitable open bar hangover you’ll have come breakfast the next morning.
No matter how casual the affair, your go-to beachside flip-flops are a no-go. Avoid suede, satin and other hard-to-clean materials and opt for flat, strappy leather sandals and playful block heels or wedges. Embellished flat raffia sandals from Dolce & Gabbana's Spring/Summer '17 Tropico Italiano collection are functional yet fashionable, and will allow for hours of dancing to old school '90s hits.
Leather boat shoes and luxe espadrilles are musts when it comes to beach wedding attire for men. Consider a classic pair of blue boat shoes from Tod’s, or black leather espadrilles from Saint Laurent for a cultured, cosmopolitan look.
Once you have your destination wedding attire figured out, you can relax and enjoy your deserved vacation. After all, it's brides and grooms that have the biggest fashion task at hand.