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What to Wear to a Destination Wedding


So you’ve been asked to a wedding far away! More than celebrating love, that could only also mean more fun and excitement, what with all the travel and instant vacation with family or friends. 

But as with any travel, choosing what to pack and wear can be a little challenging. And you certainly don’t want to appear under or overdressed for a ceremony. Then what beach wedding attire can you actually wear to a destination wedding? 

Let’s dive in and discover how dressing for a beach wedding can be a fun and exciting experience. 

What is a Destination Wedding?

A destination wedding is a wedding that takes place in a location that is not the couple’s hometown or where the majority of the guests live. Typically, these are held on beaches or in tropical and exotic locations such as Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Europe.

Destination weddings often require wedding guests to travel and stay in the location for several days, making them a mini-vacation for everyone involved.

Wedding Dress Codes to Know About

If you’ve been invited to a wedding, chances are you’ll see some variation of a dress code on the invitation. The dress code is an important clue as to what type of wedding attire is appropriate for the event, and it’s essential to follow it. Here are a few dress codes you may encounter:

Formal: A formal dress code means you should wear your best attire. For men, this means a suit or tuxedo, and for women, long gowns or dressy cocktail dresses.

Black-tie: A black-tie dress code is a step up from formal attire. For men, this involves a black tuxedo with a black bow tie. For women, a long formal gown is the most appropriate attire.

Semi-formal: A semi-formal dress code is often used for evening weddings. A suit and tie are the fitting dress for men, and cocktail dresses or dressy separates for the ladies.

Casual: A casual dress code means you have some flexibility in what you wear. However, you should still aim to look put together and avoid overly casual items such as slippers or cutoff shorts.

What Do You Wear to a Beach Wedding as a Guest?

Beach weddings are known for their relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, making casual wedding attire a popular choice among guests. However, it’s essential to understand that attire for guests varies depending on the wedding’s formality and the couple’s preferences. So, it’s always a good idea to check the wedding website or ask the couple directly so you can pick the best beach wedding guest dresses for you.

But generally, you have a unique opportunity to dress comfortably yet stylishly as a wedding guest on a beach wedding.

Casual Beach Wedding

Destination Wedding

If you’re attending a casual beach wedding, opt for bright hues, floral prints, and light, breezy fabrics like cotton, linen, or chiffon as beach wedding attire. For women, a flowing maxi dress or a midi dress with a flattering halter neckline is a perfect choice. Dresses with a square neckline or plunging neckline add a touch of elegance to your beach wedding guest attire. You can also try tea-length dresses that make a statement. Pair your dress with sandals or flip-flops to keep your feet feeling cool on the beach.

For men, a cream-coloured linen suit or nice slacks with a white shirt is a great option. To keep it casual, you can skip the suit jacket and opt for a lightweight suit. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, like block heel shoes or dressy sandals.

Semi-Formal Beach Wedding

Destination Wedding

For a semi-formal beach wedding, beach cocktail attire is a perfect choice. Women have several options for semi-formal wedding attire, including a maxi dress, midi dresses, jumpsuits, or dressy separates. With a beach cocktail dress code, you can choose good quality wedding clothes for women with vibrant colours or eye-catching prints to showcase your style. Add dressy flats or low heels and accessorize with beach-inspired items like a scarf and handmade bags.

Men can forgo the tie and opt for a classic long-sleeve button-down and dressy pants, and add a colourful blazer or patterned sport coat for a touch of festivity. Nice loafers and boat shoes perfectly go with this look.

Formal Beach Wedding

Destination Wedding

If the beach wedding is a formal affair, the wedding guest dress code will likely be black tie. This means you should dress to impress with your best beach formal dresses or be more stylish and chic than a casual ceremonial dress. Women can choose a long dress or a tea-length or midi dress with a tie waist, sweetheart neckline, a flattering halter neckline, or a deep V neckline. 

Men can wear a suit or a formal beach wedding attire with a tie, a suit jacket, and dress shoes. They can play around with linen suits and button-downs. For footwear, block heels can be a great option depending on the venue and event style.

More Tips on What to Wear to a Destination Wedding

  • Wear comfortable footwear. You’ll be walking on sand, grass, and other uneven surfaces, so make sure your shoes are comfortable and easy to walk in.
  • Don’t forget to accessorise. Accessories can add a pop of colour and personality to your outfit. You can put on a statement necklace, earrings, or bracelet.
  • Don’t forget about the wind as beach ceremonies can be quite windy. Keep this in mind when choosing your wedding guest dresses and accessories. 
  • You can also opt for a hairstyle that’s easy to manage in the wind, like a loose updo or a braided style.
  • Choose lightweight fabrics such as cotton, linen, and silk that will keep you feeling cool and comfortable in the heat. A dress with lace details, embroidery, or beading can add some interest and dimension to your look.
  • Men can opt for a suit or a nice button-down shirt with slacks. Women can wear a mini dress with a deep V or square neckline for a more formal look.
  • Polka dots are always a fun and playful print to go with a beach wedding.
  • Embrace the beachy theme. Consider adding beachy elements into your bright wedding guest dresses, like seashells or starfish accents.
  • Consider a convertible dress such as a detachable skirt that can be removed to create a shorter dress for dancing or have straps that can be tied in different ways to create different necklines. This can be a great option for beach wedding attire where you might want to change up your look during the event.
  • If you’re unsure of what to wear, ask other wedding guests what they’re planning on wearing. It can give you an idea of what’s appropriate.

What Should I Wear to a Destination Wedding?

First things first, you need to check the dress code for the event. It is the best guest’s guide in choosing the appropriate beach wedding attire. If it is a formal affair, then you should wear formal attire. On the other hand, if it’s a casual beach wedding, then you can opt for more relaxed beach wedding outfits.

It’s also essential to consider the venue and event style. For an oceanside ceremony, you can wear nice dresses that flow with the breeze, and for a dance floor, choose the best dresses that move with you. A formal beach wedding may call for more structured clothing, while a casual wedding allows for a more relaxed vibe.

Remember, your beach wedding guest attire should be appropriate and respectful of the occasion. Always check the wedding website or ask the couple if you’re unsure of what to wear. The suitable attire for beach weddings can vary depending on the location and time of day.

What Do You Wear to a Destination Wedding Welcome Dinner?

A destination wedding welcome dinner is typically held the night before the wedding and is a casual event. Depending on the location of the wedding, the attire may vary, but generally, resort wear is appropriate. Men can slip on nice slacks with a button-down shirt, while women can opt for a sundress or dressy casual outfit. It’s best to avoid anything too formal, such as a suit or long gown.

What Do You Wear for a Tropical Destination Wedding?

Tropical destination weddings often call for dressy casual attire. This means you can dress up a bit more than you would for a casual beach ceremony but not as much as you would for a beach formal affair. Women can style up a midi dress with a bold print or a dressy jumpsuit with a flattering neckline. Men can wear a suit with a tropical flair such as a floral print tie or dress slacks with a button-down shirt. The destination wedding attire for tropical weddings is one of the most fun and creative to mix and match.

What is Resort Attire for a Destination Wedding?

Resort attire is a dress code that is commonly seen at destination weddings. The destination wedding attire is meant to be comfortable and relaxed, while still looking put together. For men, this could mean wearing a lightweight cream-coloured linen suit with a white shirt.

Women’s guests wear a midi or maxi dress in bright colours or prints, with sandals or block heels. It’s important to remember that resort attire is not the same as beach attire. While beach attire is often more casual and may include flip-flops and shorts, resort attire is more polished and sophisticated.

Final Note

Destination weddings are a great opportunity to explore new locations and celebrate with loved ones. It’s important to pay attention to the dress code on the invitation and choose an appropriate beach wedding guest dress that is comfortable and stylish. Whether you’re attending a casual, semi-formal, or formal black-tie wedding, there are plenty of options for both men and women to look their best. With the right outfit and a great attitude, you’re sure to have a fantastic time at the oceanside wedding ceremony!

No matter the dress code, it’s essential to wear appropriate destination wedding attire. Avoid wearing anything too revealing or too casual that may offend the couple or other beach wedding guests. And always remember to have fun, dance the night away, and celebrate the happy couple!

Anna Kim

Anna Kim was born and raised in Korea before moving to London at age ten. Surrounding herself with other fashion-lovers and having constantly experimented with her style since childhood, Anna isn’t afraid to stand out in what she’s wearing. Her lifelong adoration for all things fashion and her strong roots where she grew up have allowed her to write and share about anything and everything that’s currently trending in Asia and the rest of the world.

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