What to Wear to A Tropical Beach Wedding

July 19, 2018 , In: Style , With: 7 Comments

You’ve been invited to a tropical beach wedding, and one of the first questions that usually pop into your mind is – what do I wear? If you aren’t a bridesmaid or part of the wedding party, figuring out what to wear can be a daunting task. It’s hard to know what’s appropriate and what’s not. A dress code is usually included on official wedding invitations – if it is, it may consist of two or three words like, cocktail attire. Not very helpful, right?

Naturally, you think of light colors and flowing pieces when it comes to a tropical beach wedding, but you must be careful because you can’t wear white. You’ll also have to find an alternative to heels because sand and heels do not go well together. Not to mention, you’ll want to choose a dress that breathes so you don’t sweat during the entire event.

Many things come into play when selecting the perfect tropical beach wedding attire. Since it’s likely a more casual environment than your typical traditional wedding, the rules are a bit different and can vary, based on time of day and other factors. Read on to find out what you should wear to a tropical beach wedding.

Casual Beach Wedding Guest Dresses

Lighter colors and fabrics are your goal for a tropical beach wedding. Choose something comfortable that can breathe, but nothing too short because of summer breezes. Go for midi to long when deciding on the length of your skirt or dress. Consider a dressed up maxi dress – always perfect for tropical beach weddings. Explore fun patterns and colors and let your personality show. Florals, lace and nudes are also encouraged.

Formal Beach Wedding Attire

If your invitation states formal beach attire, a long elegant gown is most appropriate. To avoid sweat marks or creasing, stick to linen, chiffon, lace, cotton blends and organza. Mimic tropical tones like turquoise, sand, aquamarine blue, fuses, terra cotta, tangerine and sunflower, if you’re up for a pop of color. A breezy maxi will work but dress it up with strappy sandals and elevated accessories. Try colorful statement earrings or a bold necklace.

Semi-Formal Beach Wedding Attire

For semi-formal, opt for tea-length or shorter dresses. Again, make sure your dress isn’t too loose, especially if you’re attending an evening wedding. If you choose something tighter around the legs or a dress made of a heavier fabric, length won’t matter when there’s a gust of wind.  Bring along a shawl in case it gets chilly on the beach in the evening. You’ll be glad you did.

Wear Sandals, Not Heels

Ditch closed-toe shoes and take advantage of a cute flat summer sandal that’s easy to walk in, since you’ll likely have to walk in sand. You can also pair cute wedges with your outfit if you feel comfortable walking in them, just stay away from heels – and don’t even think about flip-flops, even if you are on a beach.

Experiment with Beach Jewelry

You’re going to a tropical beach wedding, so have some fun with the elements, like sea shells. Add some trendy shell earrings or a shell pendant to complete your beach look. Turquoise is a great stone to incorporate or mother of pearl. You may even want to consider going gold if you typically choose silver, since gold brings out certain hues that mesh well with tropical colors.

Bring Out the Hats

While hats aren’t acceptable at indoor weddings, they are more than appropriate at a beach wedding if you don’t obstruct someone’s view of the ceremony. A wide-brimmed sun hat can also better protect your face and chest from the sun. Have some fun incorporating a trendy hat into your tropical beach wedding look.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

Unless you’re in a covered tent on the beach at night, make sure you wear sunscreen. A tropical beach wedding during the day can expose your skin to harmful sun rays for long lengths of time, which can cause damage to your skin. Protect yourself, especially if you have exposed skin. You can even choose a dress that has sheer sleeves to help protect your skin.


Dressing for a tropical beach wedding doesn’t have to be stressful, especially if you understand what’s acceptable, and for which dress code – something you need to pay close attention to, if the information is available. If there’s no dress code, play it safe and wear something more formal than not because it’s always better to be a bit overdressed than under-dressed.

The rules of a beach wedding are a little different, so remember to get creative and have fun with bright colors and fun beach-themed accessories. And whatever you do – don’t forget your sunscreen and comfortable footwear so you can dance the night away.


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    • Morgan
    • June 21, 2020

    I never know what to wear when going to weddings in general. I am going to have to remember this post if any of my friends decide to have a beach wedding.

    • Emily
    • June 22, 2020

    thanks for the info!!

    • Dera
    • June 23, 2020

    Thanks for these tips! Definitely gonna keep them in mind xx

    • Ben
    • June 30, 2020

    Great article and advice! Beach weddings don’t come around often, especially for those farther inland, so looking your best for when the time does come around is essential.

    • Bryn
    • July 2, 2020

    major wedding fever reading this article – I want to attend a beach wedding ASAP! awesome article, thanks for the tips & tricks : )

      • kacey
      • July 8, 2020

      Aww I am so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for giving it a read! 🙂 Hope you get to attend one in the near future!


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Kacey Bradley

Lifestyle - Wedding - Travel

Welcome to The Drifter Collective - a lifestyle blog sharing my love for travel, style, wedding inspiration, homemaking and so much more! Some people call me a traveler, while others refer to me as 'the well cultured friend" who drifts into everything. Pun intended. :)

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