What to wear to a beach wedding

bride and grrom

Look cool and stylish on the sticky sand
Image source: Shutterstock

An invitation to a beach wedding is an invitation to show off your summer dress sense to the max. But looking your immaculate best in this setting requires care when selecting your wardrobe. Get it wrong and you run the risk of looking like a beach bum, or worse, like a businessman marooned on a desert island after a plane crash. Here’s how to get it right…

Rules still apply

dress code

Check the wedding invitation carefully for a dress code
Image source: Shutterstock

Always check the dress code before you make your sartorial decisions. You’d be surprised how many people are caught out by not reading the wedding invitation properly. If the event is to be a dressed-down casual affair or an extravaganza of colourful Hawaiian shirts, your hosts will mention it on the invitation.

If there’s no formal notice of what to wear, the rule is simple: your go-to look is smart, but with a casual twist that’ll make sure you’re comfortably dressed for the weather.

Suits for beach weddings

Summer suits from Samuel Windsor

Look smart and cool in a lightweight cotton suit, jazzed up with a pocket square
Image source: Summer suits from Samuel Windsor

The ideal suit for a beach wedding is linen, especially if the venue is tropical. The wide weave of linen fibres allows the air to circulate, keeping you cool and dry. As the The GQ team say: “The last thing you want to be doing is sweating your ass off in a wool suit. Consider an ultra-breathable khaki linen suit.

If you’re not into khaki or cream, blue is a failsafe option. Cooler tones add a fresh and casual touch, without being too informal.

Some might be discouraged from wearing linen suits because of their tendency to wrinkle. This is perfectly fine – it’s part of the fabric’s appeal – but if you’re worried, go for a cotton-linen mix, which adds a little stiffness to the material without losing the cooling, moisture-wicking, properties that make it so comfortable to wear. Alternatively, a lightweight cotton suit will also keep you cool, but without the creases.

Beach wedding separates

Samuel Windsor's Linen Blazers are ideal for a beach wedding

Pastel colours work beautifully in a seaside setting
Image source: Samuel Windsor’s Linen Blazers

In hot climes, a summer blazer with contrasting chino trousers always looks effortlessly stylish. Tailored separates are a well established smart-casual look that’s an excellent match for a beach wedding.

The trick to separates is not to go too garish. As Michael 84 says: “you can create a much more summery vibe with your outfit using different colours, as long as you stick to a colour palette which is not too bold.”

Will everyone be wearing linen? If you want to cut a different dash, we recommend you consider a seersucker jacket. It’s a cotton fabric, but the weave is slightly bunched to give it a crepe-like look. It’s an American classic, and because the slightly rough texture keeps the fabric from sticking to the skin, you’ll be super cool in more ways than one.

One word of caution – unless you buy a suit, a linen jacket won’t look good with contrasting linen trousers. Go for a pair of smart cotton chinos, and an open-neck cotton shirt.

Shoes for beach weddings

Deck shoes from Samuel Windsor

Deck shoes are a great smart casual option
Image source: Deck shoes from Samuel Windsor

For most men, shoes are the trickiest part of a beach wedding ensemble. You want to be comfortable, but you don’t want shoes filled with sand or the ignominy of facing your better shod peers in nothing but a pair of flip-flops.

The answer is a smart pair of deck shoes. There’s not a lot we can do about the sand, but at least you’ll look sharp. A cream, brown or tan pair will see you blend in, but a pop of colour can also be a good choice. If you’re wearing a pale suit, keep the shade neutral, but otherwise, check out the range of blues and greens.

Or, for very informal beach weddings, you could opt for a pair of closed toe sandals. That way, you’ll still look swish, but your toes will be aerated and the sand won’t stick around either.

Accessories for beach weddings

Panama hat from Samuel Windsor for beach weddings

Ditch the tie and add a summery jacket and smart hat
Image source: Samuel Windsor

A cool beach look is a classic, minimalist look, and for that reason we recommend that you leave your tie at home and limit your accessories to a smart wrist watch, pocket square and hat. As Dapper Chapper says: “There’s a fine line between killing it and overkill, so I’d advise a maximum of two accessories.

We couldn’t agree more – it’s a beach wedding, not Brideshead Revisited. You can’t go wrong with a good old Panama hat. Not only will it keep the sun off your face, neck and ears, but you’ll exude classic charm.

And as for pocket squares, the only option for a summer wedding is silk. Go for an elegant touch of class to make the rest of the rest of your outfit sing.

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Posted in What to wear guides.