Can you feel it? Romance, rose petals, dancing, and the promise of eternal love fills the air as the wedding season surfaces. Perhaps your gentle reminder came with the endless stream of save the dates in your mailbox.
With more couples taking their vows abroad, it’s likely you’re planning to attend a destination wedding this season. While ceremonies at vineyards or atop a mountain have started to infiltrate the destination wedding scene, the majority of nuptial getaways center on tropical beaches.
A normally challenging question, addressing what to wear comes with a unique twist when you factor in walking through the sand, the beach atmosphere, and warmer climates.
Determining Beach Wedding Dress Codes
Wedding attire varies as much per couple as per venue. Before packing your bags, determine the couple’s requested attire. Most likely the formal invitation will outline the desired dress code. If missing, take advantage of the growing trend of wedding websites to discern any missing attire information or answer lingering questions. For a resort wedding, a popular choice for destination beach weddings, familiarize yourself with the resort dress codes as well.
Covering the Basics
Balance looking elegant with preparing for potential heat. Tropical destinations create more leeway than traditional wedding attire. General beach etiquette encourages lightweight attire, brighter colors and a more casual and festive feel than their traditional counterparts.
For gentlemen, consider white or tan linen suits or pants with a nice button up to still look formal while avoiding a possible heatstroke. Women can embrace the island or Caribbean spirit with vibrant dresses or playful floral patterns. One caution, ensure a light ocean breeze doesn’t turn your designer dress into the faux pas talk of the reception.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the sunscreen!
When a formal wedding goes tropical, you have wiggle room from the traditional full tuxedo or dressy suit. Beachside weddings skip the formal black tie route for a more fun, yet elegant, affair. Since attire descriptions have taken on a life of their own, with some brides and grooms even creating their own, consider a more formal attire requests to include “beach formal,” "semi-formal,” “island cocktail,” or “tropical elegant.”
Embrace the tropical color palette and bring out the colors! Think corals, island greens, honeysuckles and other vibrant arrays. For ceremonies embracing the beach formal, choose an elegant gown. With a seaside venue, sleeveless or short sleeves will be commonplace. Semi-formal or beach elegant lean more toward a chic cocktail dress or tea length dresses.
Keep things light with a summer linen suit, khakis, and a button up shirt. To fully take advantage of the beach ambiance, pair a bright colored jacket with beige or ivory pants. Island cocktail gives gentlemen the permission to ditch jackets and ties, but keep the shirt a button up.
Smaller and often more intimate weddings abroad often adopt a more casual approach. This includes your “beach chic” or just plain “casual.” While enjoying a more relaxed approach than formal, refrain from going too casual.
To balance chic and casual, consider a maxi dress, skirt and blouse or even a playful sundress. Your seaside setting encourages floral patterns, vibrant solids or just a little more fun in your attire choices.
Skip the jacket or tie in favor of a short sleeve button up or spiffy polo shirt. When it comes to bottoms, prominent fashion etiquettes encounter a rift. Some stylists will go so far as to encourage shorts, while others stand firm that shorts are a major wedding gaffe. When in doubt, choose the more formal option.
As mentioned, luxury resorts enforce their own dress codes. Before completely foregoing the jacket or tie and adding in shorts, ensure you’re in the clear for the reception.
For ceremonies on the sand, be prepared to remove your shoes. Not a given for every service, many services on the beach encourage guests to embrace the feel of sand between their toes. For both him and her, select a pair of elegant looking sandals.
Enjoy Your Time
While the festivities will center on the newly married couple, one of the perks of traveling for a wedding means a short vacation for you and the family. Don’t forget to account for your “off time” when preparing for the upcoming nuptials.
At Ploumanac’h, we craft stylish clothing solutions for men and women wanting to blend comfort and style in their upcoming tropical vacation. Explore our vibrant polo shirt options for men andcasual polo shirts for women to spice up your wardrobe for your upcoming adventure.
About the Author
Alexandra Black-Paulick is a talented writer and travel enthusiast, her well-worn passport has traversed multiple continents on the hunt for social enterprises or tourism companies championing responsible tourism.
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