What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

December 28, 2018 8 min read

What to Wear to a Beach Wedding

If you've been invited to a beach wedding, consider yourself a lucky dude — it's basically a built-in honeymoon to a tropical paradise.

While you're probably looking forward to the sunshine, palm trees and margaritas, there's one aspect you're likely dreading — packing your suitcase. After all, picking out beach wedding attire for men can be tricky. While showing up in a swimsuit may be comfortable, it's obviously inappropriate. And although a tuxedo or business suit would look nice, it may cause you to overheat.

In short, beach wedding attire requires you to find a balance between looking good and feeling good. In this article, we offer tips on how to achieve this balance.

Narrow Down Your Options

All beach weddings are different, and being well-informed about the one you're attending will help you determine what to wear. Consider these following three factors to help eliminate some of your options.

1. The Instructions on the Invitation

The best way to start is by looking for clues on the invitation. If a dress code is listed, you must follow it. Although it's becoming more common for the bride and groom not to dictate a dress code, in most cases, they will still at least mention whether the event will be casual, semi-formal or formal.

2. The Formality of the Event

While most beach weddings are relaxed, they are sometimes semi-formal or formal occasions. If it's not written on the invitation, contact the bride and groom or ask other guests. You don't want to end up being the only one in a casual outfit at a formal wedding.

The guide below will give you an idea of what you might want to wear depending on the formality of the event:

  • Casual: Casual ceremonies are by far the most common type of beach weddings. At these events, men can wear long pants and a button-down shirt in a light color. The shirt should have short or three-quarter length sleeves. This type of beach wedding typically happens during the day, so going barefoot is also an option.
  • Semi-Formal: Semi-formal beach weddings tend to have ceremonies in the evening, followed by a reception. Semi-formal clothing should still be light, but the pants you choose should be made of khaki, linen or seersucker. You should also wear a button-down shirt and a sports coat. A suit jacket or vest is another option. You can go without a tie to avoid feeling uncomfortable and restricted in hot weather.
  • Formal: Formal beach weddings are rare, but do exist, especially at fancy venues like the Hamptons or southern France. Almost all formal beach weddings take place in the evening and have a reception afterward. A cocktail hour, dinner and dancing are also common activities. Men are expected to wear traditional suits and ties, especially if the reception is at a restaurant near the beach or on a yacht.

3. The Weather

Research the Weather

Although you may assume beach weddings only happen during the warmest months of the year, many choose to have them during the fall, winter or spring months. Make sure to research the location of the beach wedding and its climate during that time of year.

You should also check the weather forecast several days before the event to make sure there are no weather-related surprises. If there's a chance of any cold weather, you can bring along your suit jacket to help yourself stay warm.

If the weather is going to be hot, dress in fabrics that can breathe. If you're planning to wear a tie and the area is particular windy — which is common for beaches — then make sure to bring along a tie clip, as well.

Steadfast Beach Wedding Rules to Follow

Now, it's time to go over seven fixed rules related to beach wedding attire.

1. Don't Mix Suits and Sandals

This is a definite no-no, as these two items just weren't meant to go together. If you do decide to wear long pants, take off your shoes and socks and roll the hems up, which is very appropriate for a beach wedding. If it's going to be warmer outside, which is usually the case, you may want to forgo the jacket and instead find a vest with matching pants.

2. Avoid Blazers or Suit Jackets With Shorts

This may be a look in Bermuda, but it's just awkward at a beach wedding and will just make you stand out — and you don't want to overshadow the groom.

3. Focus on Fit

Make Sure Outdoor Wedding Attire Fits

Perhaps the single best way to ensure you look good is to have a perfectly tailored suit. This is especially important with summer fabrics. When having your suit tailored, the leg should be tapered, and the hem should not have more than half a break. Furthermore, the sleeves of the suit should extend until the bend of your wrist, and you should only be able to see about a quarter inch of the shirt.

Even if you're not wearing a suit, a good fit is still important. In fact, according to celebrity fashion designer Ilaria Urbinati, "you can pull off anything if it's well-tailored." When shopping, make sure every item you purchase perfectly fits you before leaving the store. At Penner's, we offer this service for free.

4. Consider Short vs. Long-Sleeved Shirts

A short-sleeved shirt can work, as long as it's a more formal shirt, such as a polo. However, they should be limited to casual beach weddings. Avoid wearing a short-sleeved shirt with a jacket or sports coat, as this will look particularly bad.

Generally speaking, it is safer to go with a long-sleeved shirt. Not only do long sleeves always look better, but if you start to feel hot, you can always roll up the sleeves.

5. Use Color

If your outfit is monochromatic — meaning your pants, shirt and tie are all the same color — you may want to vary your hues. Monochromatic outfits are unflattering, and beach weddings are generally known for colorful attire, anyway. Some people choose to come in suspenders, which is fine, but if you do so, wear a vest or jacket, too. Wearing suspenders over nothing but a shirt looks a bit odd.

While it's good to aim for more color at beach weddings, you should avoid Paisleys or Hawaiian shirt-style patterns, which are not appropriate.

Lastly, try to avoid dark colors. Not only are they less beachy, but they also absorb sunlight and will make you unnecessarily uncomfortable.

6. Wear Cooler Materials

Linen and Cotton Are Best for Beach Weddings

The two best materials for weddings are linen and cotton. They're more comfortable to wear in hot weather than, say, wool, and will become gently wrinkled after a little bit of wear. This is a good thing, as a slightly wrinkled appearance is actually appropriate for a casual beach wedding.

While you may consider wearing silk because it's light and fancy-looking, this material is not recommended because of its insulating properties. French cuffs and cufflinks can also make you overheat easily. It's better to go with buttoned-barrel cuffs because they consist of just one fabric layer, so if you're feeling hot, you can just undo the button on your cuff.

The best colors for linen or cotton suits are light blue, light grey, white or khaki. If you are a groom who's considering wearing a white suit, talk with your fiancée first. You don't want her to be angry if you're wearing what has traditionally only been a color for brides.

7. Accessorize Carefully

Below is a list of recommended accessories and tips on how to use them. Generally speaking, the accessories you choose for a beach wedding should be bolder and lighter.

Neckwear

You don't have to have neckwear, as it may make you sweat profusely. However, if you would like to look your best, it's recommended that you put on either a bowtie because of its lightness, or a knit tie, because of its open weave. The colors can be bolder and summery, and the fabrics can be more casual, such as shantung silk.

Pocket Square

If you choose to go without neckwear, you may still want to consider a pocket square, as this is an easy way to enhance the look of your outfit when you don't wear a tie. Sometimes, in addition to the pocket square, a boutonniere in the buttonhole looks nice. However, since that accessory is sometimes only used for the wedding party, if you have any doubts, just go with the pocket square.

Socks

Over-the-calf socks are a good idea for most weddings. But if that's likely to make you sweat, it may better to go with a pair of no-show socks instead. With this type of socks, you still achieve the beachy look, but you won't get too hot or develop blisters in your toes.

Sunglasses

Aviators and Wayfarers are Great for Beach Weddings

Don't forget to pack a pair of shades. After all, if the wedding takes place during the middle of the day, you don't want to be squinting during the ceremony. Classic looks such as wayfarers or aviators are great options. You can choose from an overwhelming variety of sunglasses, though, so make sure you find a pair that brings out your best traits.

Belts

If you choose to wear a belt, make sure the color goes well with the rest of your outfit. Black belts, for instance, create too much contrast with your lighter pants and will look out of place.

Shoes

You have quite a few acceptable options for footwear, including:

  • Flip-Flops: No footwear is better for the beach than flip-flops. You can easily pull off these shoes if you're going in shorts or trousers with a linen shirt, but make sure they're not too casual. You don't want a pair that looks too athletic or bulky. Ideally, they should be slim, streamlined and have leather straps. Also, make sure to clip and clean your toenails and wash your feet well.
  • Slides: These shoes are similar to the flip-flop and — just like with flip-flops — you should look for a more formal version of the shoe and make sure your toes are presentable.
  • Loafers: If sandals just aren't your style, loafers are another option. They look good, and you can shake the sand out easily when the ceremony is over.
  • Boat Shoes: Even though the ceremony won't actually be on a boat, boat shoes are a comfortable option for hot weather. Also, their nautical heritage makes them especially appropriate for this oceanside event.
  • No Shoes: Going barefoot at beach weddings has actually become a trend, and for a good reason — it's really tough to walk through sand with your shoes on. If you do choose to go shoeless, make sure to bring along a blanket or towel, as well. If your ceremony takes place during the middle of the day, you won't want to have to stand barefoot in the excruciatingly hot sand.
  • Driving Shoes: Although they're made for driving, people rarely use these shoes just for that purpose. Driving shoes are comfortable to wear, casual and also attractive, making them an excellent choice for weddings on the beach.
  • Casual Closed-Toe Shoes: If you frequently travel to warmer climates, you may want to consider buying perforated leather shoes. Not only will they keep you cooler, but they're also more informal than regular leather shoes.
  • Spectator Shoes: If you a man who likes bolder accessories, you might be able to pull this off. Just remember that you don't want to take attention away from the bride and groom. It's their day to shine — not yours.

Find What You Need at Penner's

Find Everything You Need for a Beach Wedding at Penner's

If you don't happen to already have every garment for your beach wedding — which is understandable — come to Penner's and browse our extensive collection of men's clothing. You can visit us online or come in person to our store in downtown San Antonio, which boasts more than 8000 square feet of retail space.

Our family-owned business has been proudly serving the San Antonio area for over a century, and our employees are dedicated to making every customer look their best. Our professional staff will help you find the perfect outfit, and our seven full-time tailors — many of whom have over 25 years of experience — will make sure everything fits you perfectly. All alternations made at the time of purchase are free of charge.

We offer every garment you'll need for your beach wedding, including suits, sports coats, dress shirts, linen pants and a variety of accessories. If you have a long shopping list, then you're in luck — because we offer free USPS shipping on orders over $99.

One of our specialty items is our guayaberas, which are colorful, cotton shirts commonly worn for Mexican and Caribbean weddings. Our guayaberas are high-quality, authentic and made in Mexico, Panama and Colombia. They also common in a variety of colors and materials, including cotton, polyester, poly-cotton blend and Irish linen.

In addition to high-quality products, we also believe in high-quality customer service. We're happy to answer any questions you might have, and you can reach us directly at (210) 226-2487 or via our online form.


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