If you were invited to a beach wedding this year, consider yourself lucky. There's something about the salty air and the crashing ocean waves that feels a little extra special. As a wedding guest, though, you might feel a bit lost on what to wear. Logistically, heels don't really work in the sand, and a sweeping formal gown might feel out of place. But at the same time, you don't want to lean too casual in a printed sundress.
The first step to figuring out what to wear as a guest is to understand the dress code. Beach weddings are typically casual, so in most cases, wearing a fun print, a bright color, and a shorter hemline will do. If the wedding is more formal, opt for a slightly longer dress or a jumpsuit and look for solid, lighter colors.
While black might be a dress color staple for most weddings, try to avoid it for seaside nuptials. Instead, go for vibrant colors like pink, coral, turquoise, or purple. In terms of fabric, look for pieces that are breathable and light, especially if it's a hot summer day. Linen and cotton are great options, but you'll want to avoid fabrics like satin and velvet, which will look and feel heavy.
To help you find the perfect outfit for your upcoming coastal event, we've researched and selected the best options with these features in mind. A few of our top picks include the Rococo Sands Emi Long Dress, the Lulus Thinking Out Loud Backless Jumpsuit, and the FARM Rio Sweet Forest Pink Maxi Dress.
Read on for the best beach wedding guest dresses.
Best Slip Dress
Reformation Marguerite Silk Dress
Size Range: 0-12 | Length: Tea-length | Material: Silk charmeuse
This silky slip dress comes in a range of solid colors, including a few floral prints. The spaghetti straps and the airy fabric make it the perfect piece for hot days outside.
Price at time of publish: $298
Lulus Thinking Out Loud Hunter Green Backless Jumpsuit
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
Mix comfort and style with a sleek jumpsuit in a deep green hue. A plunging neckline, a criss-cross back, and a streamlined fit provide a formal flair to this solid-colored jumpsuit.
Price at time of publish: $59
For a Casual Beach Wedding
Lulus Joyful Red Orange Multi Stripe Tie-Back Mini Dress
Size Range: XXS-XL | Length: Mini | Material: Polyester
The back of this dress is the real star of the show, and the multicolor straps give this look a nautical feel. We love this dress for a casual wedding, a rehearsal dinner, or any laid-back affair.
Price at time of publish: $55
Hemant and Nandita Rhea Side Cut Out Mini Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Mini | Material: Cotton, linen
This youthful dress comes in a unique lime green shade, embroidered with a pretty purple paisley print. The subtle cut-outs and scalloped hemline add a feminine touch. However, what we love most is the comfortable and versatile shape.
Price at time of publish: $399
For a Destination Wedding
FARM Rio Sweet Forest Pink Maxi Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Maxi | Material: Viscose
If you're headed to a destination wedding, this unique maxi is perfect. Vibrant colors, an interesting pattern, and a flowing skirt make this Farm Rio gown equal parts trendy and tropical.
Price at time of publish: $300
Dress the Population Martine Stretch Crepe One-Shoulder Dress
Size Range: XXS-XXL | Length: Knee-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
The electric rouge red color of this dress could not be more fitting for a spring or summer ceremony, especially when it's by the beach. We love the tight crepe fit, the flattering ruching in the front, and the subtle back slit for a bit of sexy flair.
Price at time of publish: $60
For a Formal Beach Wedding
Lulus Moments Of Bliss Forest Green Backless Mermaid Maxi Dress
Size Range: XXS-3X | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
Beach weddings tend to be more casual by nature, but that doesn't mean they can't be formal. For an event that calls for a more dressed-up look, opt for this maxi. The color is beautiful, the mermaid-style skirt is glamorous, and the open back is a nice touch.
Price at time of publish: $89
Birdy Grey Gene Dress Curve
Size Range: XS-3X | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
Simple and sophisticated, this maxi dress comes in a color appropriately called "sea glass." Between the criss-cross back, the halter neckline, and the slit, it would be a great choice for formal and semi-formal dress codes.
Price at time of publish: $99
Rococco Sands Emi Long Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Maxi | Material: 100% Polyester
Stylish and sophisticated, this ruffled dress features an effortless silhouette and a flirty peplum bodice. The shimmering jacquard fabric is beautiful, and the bohemian style works for everything from the beach to a backyard wedding.
Price at time of publish: $459 – $498
Tanya Taylor Polina Top and Hazelle Skirt
Size Range: XXS-XL | Length: Tea-length | Material: Cotton
A two-piece outfit can be a good option for daytime, casual affairs. Made of lightweight and breezy cotton, you won't regret wearing this Tanya Taylor look to a tropical destination wedding.
Price at time of publish: Top: $225, Skirt: $445
Foxy Favorite Hot Pink Sleeveless Bodycon Midi Dress Pink Sleeveless Bodycon Midi Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Mini | Material: Polyester, spandex
If you're looking to make a bold statement, opt for this daring mini dress from Lulus. The hot pink shade will definitely get you noticed. Plus, this vibrant pick will look great in photos against a sunset backdrop.
Price at time of publish: $45
Best Breezy Silhouette
Eloquii Eyelet Tie Front Full Skirted Maxi Dress
Size Range: 14-32 | Length: Maxi | Material: 100% Cotton
If you want to keep things simple and easy, opt for this maxi dress which is versatile and undeniably cute. The flowing and comfortable silhouette will also keep you perfectly breezy on a hot spring or summer day.
Price at time of publish: $150
Best Pleated Dress
ASOS DESIGN Button Up Pintuck Maxi Dress in Yellow Floral Print
Size Range: 0-14 | Length: Maxi | Material: 100% Polyester
This yellow floral maxi dress is both romantic and dreamy and would look great on and off the dance floor. Details like frill trim, an open back, and a pintuck bodice make your look undeniably fun and flirty.
Price at time of publish: $79
Best With Puff Sleeves
Collective The Label Curve Exclusive Wrap Midi Dress in 60s Floral Print
Size Range: 14-24| Length: Midi | Material: 100% Cotton
This wrap-style dress in a fun '60s-inspired print is perfect for those with a bold sense of style. Trendy puff sleeves and a tie-waist make this number equal parts stylish and flattering.
Price at time of publish: $113
Astr The Label Anaya Strapless Lace Midi Dress
Size Range: XS-XL | Length: Tea-length | Material: Polyester, rayon
Sweet and feminine, we absolutely love the pink orchid color and lace design on this midi dress from Astr The Label. The sexier details, like the strapless top and the sweetheart neckline, will also help you stand out in a sea of wedding guests.
Price at time of publish: $77
WAYF The Ines V-Neck Tulip Gown
Size Range: XXS-XXL | Length: Tea-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
The peachy color (called mulberry) makes this dress look like it was made for a summer night or day. The tulip skirt keeps the silhouette from being too simple, while the deep-V neckline and comfortable fit create an ultra-flattering finish.
Price at time of publish: $138
SAU LEE Selena Lace Dress
Size Range: 0-10 | Length: Tea-length | Material: Polyester, nylon, cotton
Bustier cups, delicate straps, and a gorgeous lace design make this dress ultra-feminine. We love the bright lilac shade that feels on point for spring or summer.
Price at time of publish: $334
V. Chapman Lily Dress
Size Range: 0-14 | Length: Tea-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
The unexpected fringe detailing on this V. Chapman dress is what makes it stand out. The soft ruching, tiered ruffles, and bow details also provide a romantic and chic vibe. Available in several vibrant colors, you'll be able to wear this again and again.
Price at time of publish: $365
Best Square Neck
Camila Coelho Angie Maxi Dress
Size Range: XXS-XL | Length: Maxi | Material: Polyester, spandex
Featuring a square neckline with intricate strappy detailing, this dress feels utterly modern yet romantic. The textured fabric makes it a little bold, while the gorgeous lilac shade makes it sweet.
Price at time of publish: $60
BCBG Maxazria Xenia Sleeveless Dress
Size Range: XXS-XL | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester, spandex
This flowing, lightweight maxi dress can be a summer choice thanks to its flattering halter neckline. Besides, the deep blue hue couldn't be more on-brand for seaside nuptials.
Price at time of publish: $237
MILLY Zig Zag Stitch Dress
Size Range: XS-L | Length: Tea-length | Material: Polyester, viscose, nylon, metallic
Milly's bold striped knit dress is more versatile than it seems. With heels and the right piece of jewelry, this can be dressed up for a bold and eye-catching beach wedding ensemble.
Price at time of publish: $258
Best Floral Print
Lulus Still the One Floral Print Satin Maxi Dress
Size Range: XXS-XL | Length: Floor-length | Material: Polyester
This flowy maxi dress is versatile enough to be dressed up for a wedding, and the stunning emerald green hue is also perfect for most seaside "I dos." We especially love the wrapped bow detail and the cascading floral patterns.
Price at time of publish: $89
BHLDN Dylan Satin Charmeuse Dress
Size Range: 0-16 | Length: Tea-length | Material: Satin Charmeuse
The minimalist design of this one-shoulder dress makes it look sleek and streamlined. It comes in a wide variety of hues, so the options are limitless for a variety of formalities and venues.
Price at time of publish: $248
Saylor Faena Dress
Size Range: XS-L | Length: Tea-length | Material: Polyester, spandex, nylon
This is not your typical sequin dress. Light pastel colors and a botanical design keep it romantic rather than super metallic. Plus, the slip-dress style is flattering for everyone and fits the laid-back vibe of a beachside wedding.
Price at time of publish: $149
Callahan Mimi Jumpsuit
Size Range: XS-L | Length: Tea-length | Material: Cotton, elastane
The fiery red color and a subtle cutout just under the bust give this jumpsuit a little bit of sex appeal. We also love the flattering halter neckline and wide-leg shape that's both breathable and on-trend.
Price at time of publish: $92
What to Look for in a Beach Wedding Guest Dress
Fit and Comfort
When searching for the perfect dress to wear to a beach wedding, find a look that feels a bit more casual than what you might wear to a formal or semi-formal affair. If the wedding is taking place when during extra warm temperatures, opt for a dress that's light, airy, and comfortable, especially if the ceremony and/or reception are taking place outside. While you can definitely go for a more casual option, still keep the dress code in mind (if you're not sure, ask!).
Color and Print
For a more formal beach wedding, choose pieces in solid bright colors, and for something less formal, feel free to look for patterns or even a jumpsuit. Flowy maxi dresses, bright cocktail dresses, and even a fun mini dress can be great for beach nuptials. As for fabrics, avoid heavy materials like satin and velvet.
Which fabrics are best for a beach wedding?
Most beach weddings take place during the heat of the summer, so you should stick to lighter fabrics like linen and cotton. Avoid heavier options like cashmere, velvet, or satin, as you'll want something breathable and airy that won't make you feel overheated and uncomfortable.
What kinds of dresses should you wear to a beach wedding?
For a formal beach wedding, opt for long dresses in solid, bright hues. For semi-formal ceremonies, wear a cocktail dress that looks sleek without being too formal. Tea-length dresses are great for almost any dress code, especially if the event takes place in the sand—but feel free to sport a mini or a maxi dress as well. Lastly, jumpsuits are another great option, and for more informal nuptials, rompers work too.
What shoes should you wear to a beach wedding?
If the ceremony or reception takes place on an actual beach, with a lot of sand, you'll want to avoid stiletto heels which will be really hard to walk in. Instead, wear wedges or espadrilles. Sandals will always be your best option for beach weddings, whether they're heeled or flat
What should you not wear to a beach wedding?
While beach weddings are typically more casual in nature, it's best to avoid flip-flops, denim, and other beachwear pieces that are too casual. It's still a wedding, after all! But most importantly, avoid fabrics that could easily get destroyed in the sand, like suede or satin.
Why Trust Brides
Contributing writer Jessica Booth is a freelance writer and formerly served as an editor for seven years. Her work has been featured in Bustle, Insider, Redbook, and Refinery29.