It’s always exciting to get invited to a beach wedding (or host one yourself), whether you’re jetting off to a destination wedding in an exotic locale or celebrating the happy couple’s “I do’s” at a beach nearby.
But the question is—as a man—what, exactly, should you wear to a beach wedding?
Let’s take a look at beach wedding attire for men—what to wear, what not to wear, and how to put together the perfect outfit for a beach wedding celebration.
When it comes to men’s beach wedding attire (or really, beach wedding attire at all), it helps to start at the bottom—with your shoes.
Beaches can be tricky places to navigate. Not only is the sand unstable (which means that your feet are likely to sink into the ground as you walk), but sand has a tendency to find its way into socks and closed-toe shoes, which means that, if you wear the wrong pair of shoes, you could find yourself lugging around a pound of sand in each shoe for the entirety of the wedding ceremony and reception.
If you’re going to a casual beach wedding, the best shoes that you can wear are sandals. There’s a reason why people wear sandals when they hit the beach for fun, as they’re easy to slip on and off when you have to walk across the beach, sand doesn’t get stuck inside (like it can with a closed-toe shoe), and many are water-resistant—so if the ocean splashes against your shoes, there’s nothing to worry about. So, when choosing shoes for a waterfront wedding, look for a pair of comfortable (but polished-looking) sandals or flip-flops, which are the perfect blend of style, comfort, and beach-specific functionality.
(Not a fan of sandals? No worries. If you prefer to wear a closed-toe shoe, opt for something easy to slip off if sand sneaks into your shoe, such as a loafer or slip-on sneaker.)
Once you’ve locked in your shoes, it’s time to choose the rest of your beach wedding attire—and that means picking the right articles of clothing.
The “right” articles of clothing are going to depend on the wedding; a more formal beach wedding is going to call for a different outfit than a more casual affair.
If you’re going to a more laid-back, casual beach wedding, you can keep things pretty casual with your attire. A pair of khaki dress pants and a button-down shirt (short or long-sleeved) would be appropriate. Depending on the location and overall theme of the wedding, a print shirt can be a fun way to inject some personality into your beach wedding attire (for example, if you’re attending a casual oceanfront ceremony in Hawaii, you might wear a printed, short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt).
If you’re going to a more formal wedding, you’ll want to take your clothing up a notch. A dress shirt tucked into dress pants or a lightweight suit (for example, linen or cotton) would be more appropriate.
It’s also important to consider the weather and temperature—and factor both in when choosing your clothing. For example, if you’re going to a beach wedding ceremony at 1 p.m. and the temperature is poised to hit 90 degrees, you’re going to want to wear clothing that keeps you cool (such as a light-colored, short-sleeved shirt in a breathable fabric, such as linen). If the wedding is at sunset—and you plan to party at the reception until the wee hours of the morning—you should bring a jacket in case the temperature cools once the sun goes down.
You’ve got your shoes. You’ve got your clothing. But what about accessories? What accessories should you plan to rock at a beach wedding?
If you’re going to a beach wedding (or any outdoor wedding, really) during the day, it doesn’t matter if the event is casual, formal, or something in between—one accessory that you’re 100 percent going to want to have with you is sunglasses.
If you end up seated facing the sun during the ceremony—or have to mingle in peak sun during cocktail hour or the reception—a good pair of sunglasses will block out the sunlight and keep you from having to squint for hours at a time. (It can also help keep headaches at bay.)
In terms of additional men’s beach wedding attire accessories, it’s really up to you. If you’re going to a casual beach wedding, you can keep accessories to a minimum, such as a watch—or you can choose not to rock any accessories at all. If you’re attending an event requiring formal attire, you can accessorize with a belt, tie, and pocket square (if you’re wearing a suit jacket).
These tips are a great jumping-off point to help you choose the perfect outfit for your next beach wedding. But remember, when it comes to choosing the right men’s attire for a beach wedding, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You should follow any dress code that the bride and groom set forth for their wedding day. But ultimately, you need to wear clothing, shoes, and accessories that make sense for the event that you’re attending, the weather, the location, and, most importantly, for you.