Beach weddings are considered more informal than their church counterparts. Full formal skirts and large headpieces aren”t required. Instead, a sleek, casual style is called for in bridal attire. That isn”t to say your day will be any less special or glamorous than that of a church wedding – it only means you”ll want to go with a different type of dress or gown.
Due to the nature of a beach wedding, brides who originally envisioned a princess ball gown may need to re-think their beach bridal style. However, there are plenty of beautiful beach dresses, with features like:
Flowy dresses are perfect for the beach.
- One shoulder: Look like a goddess in a long chiffon dress with a straight skirt and one shoulder strap like the one found at
- Short and strapless, cocktail style: Do you want to feel the sun on your shoulders as you say your vows in an informal setting? A knee-length white cocktail dress in a strapless style could take you from your ceremony to a local bar for drinks afterward. The Short Strapless Chiffon Bridal Gown and Short Sweetheart Chiffon Bridal Gown from
- V-neck with a train: Who says you can”t have a train on your dress if you get married on the beach? While you won”t want it dragging through the wet sand, if you”re careful you can manage the dress of your dreams by the ocean. Dessy”s Destination Bridal Style 1018 is a perfect example, and the low neckline in front balances the extra fabric in back.
- Spaghetti straps and lace: Choose a classic sundress style with spaghetti straps and lace accents for a no-fuss wedding dress that will work well on the beach and show off a great tan in your wedding photos. Check out David”s Bridal Beaded Lace Spaghetti Strap Gown for an option that is elegant enough for a formal evening beach wedding.
Choose any neckline and silhouette that flatters your body. Look for a dress that will be comfortable in the heat and humidity while photographing well and playing up your assets. You don”t have to limit yourself to short dress styles just because you”re getting married by the ocean.
Finding the Perfect Dress for Your Beach Nuptials
While you will find some informal wedding gowns in traditional wedding dress specialty shops, you may do better to look for your gown in other places. If it is spring or summer you can probably find an array of appropriate dresses in clothing boutiques and department stores. However, if you are shopping for a beach dress during cooler weather, you may have better luck online. Try these sources for your beach wedding gown:
- Hawaiian Wedding Shop has traditional and contemporary Hawaiian designs on its website.
- Wedding Tropics has a large selection of attire perfect for beach weddings.
- Tropical Tantrum has Hawaiian wear for your whole wedding party!
Bridal Wear and Beach Weather Tips
It might be a beautiful day, but it can be windy near the water. If you feel your dress or veil will blow around you”ll probably want to consider other options. A short dress is great, but if the material is too flowy and lightweight, you could end up exposing more than your legs. Make sure short skirts are just an inch or two above your knee to keep this disaster at bay.
Summer sun and humidity can cause you to overheat at an afternoon wedding mid-summer. In this instance, the dress should be flowy and the fabric light. Heavy skirts and tightly corseted bodices are poor choices for a hot summer wedding on the beach.
Appropriate Warm Weather Beach Fabrics
Wind, weather conditions, sweat, and sticking sand don”t typically come into a bride”s mind when envisioning her fairy tale beach or destination wedding, but it”s important to consider how Mother Nature may react the day of your nuptials. Lightweight fabrics are perfect for warmer weather, and you can always use a wrap or complementary covering over your shoulders when the weather turns cooler. A few fabrics you may want to consider for a beach ceremony are:
- Duchess satin, which is lighter than traditional satin
- Charmeuse, a soft, lightweight satin created from silk or rayon
- Chiffon, a sheer, billowy fabric
- Georgette, a crepe-like fabric whose flowy design won”t be bothered by the wind
- Organza, a transparent fabric that can be used as an overskirt
- Dottted swiss, a lightweight fabric with dotted designs perfect for a casual but feminine look
- Tulle, which is light but can be layered for a full skirt
Cooler Beach Weather Wear
Beaches can also be a little chilly depending on the time of day and the month of the year. A strapless number during sundown in late September may not ward off the chill. Consider having a bolero jacket or wrap available for evening weddings during fall or winter months, and skip the cocktail-length dress.
Affordable Dresses for Beach Weddings
One of the selling points of beach wedding dresses is that they don”t take as long as a more formal gown to order. In many cases, they can be purchased off the rack. Alterations are usually minimal and in most cases, not even required.
A casual beach wedding dress can save you hundreds over a more elaborate gown while still remaining stylish. Look for small details like colored accents, light materials, and fun floral embellishments to play up your beach bridal style.
Accessorizing Wedding Dresses for the Beach
Since beach wedding dresses are so casual, in most cases a wedding veil is not required. However a simple, informal veil is perfectly appropriate. You can also wear flowers, rhinestone studded barrettes, or a hair band. Your hair style need not be elaborate: wear it long and flowing or pulled back in a stylish ponytail encircled by pearls or flowers.
Of course, if you”re wearing a simple beach wedding dress, you”ll want simple footwear as well. Some beach brides go barefoot, while others don an elegant pair of bridal flip flops.
Beach Wedding Dress Idea Gallery
Get ideas and inspiration for the perfect beach gown with these slideshows and picture galleries!