Guide to the Perfect Beach Wedding - Dresses, Shoes & More


Ideas for a Beach Wedding: Dresses, Hair & More 

You dream of saying "I do" with the most magnificent backdrop imaginable: white sand, turquoise water, and lots of sunshine. A beach wedding can deliver the carefree vibes you desire, but there's far more to these nuptials than sand and sun alone.

As you plan your ceremony and reception, you'll need to think carefully about your wardrobe. Your dress should make you feel stunning, of course, but it also needs to keep you as comfortable as possible on your big day. The right hairdo and accessories can also contribute to the confidence and comfort that your dress promotes.

With so much to keep in mind, it's understandable if you feel a bit overwhelmed. No worries — we're here to help you choose a look that works wonders from both a fashion and function standpoint.

What Is Considered Beach Wedding Attire?

Think carefully about your most recent wedding experiences. Did you notice any patterns regarding bridal fashion?

While a few silhouettes may stand out, you've likely observed a surprising array of looks. Today's bride and bridesmaids enjoy greater freedom from the outdated expectations that once stifled their creativity and personal sense of style. This versatility is especially evident during beach weddings, where clothing can run the gamut from casual sundress to formal ball gown.

While a wide array of looks can be deemed appropriate for this type of outdoor event, simple elegance is typically the name of the game for both the wedding party and the guests. For many brides, the ultimate goal is mobility — with beach-based weddings, certain types of dresses are simply too hot or too difficult to maneuver. Still, creative solutions make it possible to wear a sophisticated bridal gown on your big day. 

Beach Wedding Dress Ideas

As we've already touched on, no one look is "right" for a beach wedding. While most brides tend to err on the side of casual when it comes to their look, there's absolutely nothing wrong with getting dolled up in a formal gown. This look defies expectations and stands out in beachy wedding photos. From a practicality perspective, however, it may be preferable in venues that overlook the ocean, rather than directly involving the sand and the surf.

As you select an approach that works best based on your preferences and venue, keep the following considerations in mind: 


Not sure where to start with wedding dress selection? Focus on fabric. This will determine whether your dress is comfortable — and whether it abides by your preferred aesthetic. Top fabrics for a beach wedding include:

  • Chiffon. Perfect for a whimsical event, chiffon is light and breathable — and therefore, excellent for a beach environment. A chiffon wedding dress can provide a more structured look than more casual dresses but without compromising your comfort.

  • Chiffon Beach Wedding Dress

  • Lightweight tulle. Another great option for creating an ethereal appearance, tulle is a great alternative to organza, which tends to be stiffer and heavier. Tulle is delicate, however, and will need extra care if you need to travel long distances to reach your destination wedding.

  • Tulle Beach Wedding Dress With Leg Slit

  • Crepe-back satin. Providing a luxurious, silky finish, crepe-back satin can make any bride feel confident. This fabric blends satin with a crepe backing to create a soft fabric that hugs the body. This popular material works well for the minimalist styles that many beach brides favor. 

  • Crepe Plunge Neckline Beach Wedding Dress


If you've always dreamed of walking down the aisle in an elegant gown with a larger-than-life train, you might want to rethink this aesthetic before you try on bridal dresses. The last thing you want as you're walking the aisle is sand dragging you and your gorgeous dress down.

Shorter is generally better for a beach wedding, although, as mentioned previously, a longer dress or train can work if you take your wedding out of the sand.

If you're committed to both your gown's train and the concept of nuptials right on the beach, don't worry: both can be pulled off if you select a streamlined, floor-length dress.

As you look for a lovely wedding dress train, keep the two main beach-friendly styles in mind: sweep versus court:

  • Court. This traditional train extends from the waist, granting it a more voluminous appearance. It's definitely the grander of the two options — perfect for making a statement. Unfortunately, the very elements that make this train so visually impressive may also make it a hassle when tying the knot on the sand. Still, a court train is a viable alternative to the chapel train, which is generally unrealistic for a beach setting.

  • Sweep. Falling from fairly low on the back — or even from the hem — the sweep train is preferred when you want to minimize volume and keep your dress from feeling too heavy. Yes, it's subtle, but that doesn't stop it from adding beauty to your dress.

Remember, you can always wear a different dress for the reception and the ceremony. Many brides prefer to say "I do" in a more extravagant ball gown before dancing the night away in tea-length dresses.

Silhouettes & Design Features

A variety of silhouettes can play into your vision for the perfect wedding dress. The fit of the gown is worth considering, as are practical considerations such as tailoring, sleeves, and embellishments. Keep these beloved options in mind:

  • A-line. The classic A-line wedding dress is a perennial favorite for good reason: it's universally flattering. It looks lovely with a beaded sweetheart neckline or, if you prefer, a v-neckline.

  • Cap Sleeve A-line Wedding Dress

  • Mermaid. A great option for the beach, a mermaid silhouette can be as sultry as you desire. It works wonders when paired with a plunging neckline or an open back.

  • Square Neck Mermaid Crepe Beach Wedding Dress

  • Flowy dress. When function is as important as style, it doesn't get better than a lightweight, flowy dress. This also works as a knee-length solution if you don't want a train.

  • Sleeveless or small straps. Full sleeves are gorgeous, but they can be hot in a beach environment. Strapless or skinny straps are often more comfortable in this setting. Cap sleeves also work well. 

  • Satin Spaghetti Strap Wedding Dress

  • Illusion features. An illusion inset is a popular feature for a beach wedding gown and is often found on a dress with a backless design.

Best Shoes for a Beach Wedding

Walking on a beach can be difficult in the best of circumstances, so it's important to choose shoes that limit the potential for tripping or falling. High heels are typically best avoided, but don't worry: it's still possible to remain dressy in a pair of sandals, wedges, or flats.

Look for footwear with intricate ornamentation. A little glitz is always a great addition to any party dress. A great pedicure can also work wonders if you opt for sandals or open-toed shoes. 

Many brides also choose to go barefoot or use foot jewelry when walking through the sand. This can both fit the style of the wedding, and take away the possibility of tripping in your shoes. 

Hairstyle Ideas 

Wedding hairdos are nearly as versatile as the dresses they complement. Brides may choose to wear their hair up or down, although, in a beach environment, many prefer the convenience of undo's.

Ideally, hairstyles will match the formality and intricacy of the wedding dress or accessories. For this reason, most brides choose their dresses first and later follow up with hairstyle plans. Common options include:

  • Braids

  • Messy buns

  • French twist

  • Ponytails 

Final Takeaways

Every bride can be beautiful in her own special way. Ultimately, the best dresses, hairstyles, and accessories reflect the unique qualities that each bride holds. These individual elements should work together to fulfill a cohesive vision of a beautiful beach bride.

No matter your personal preferences, you can count on Moonlight Bridal to provide a vast selection of options that will have you looking and feeling your best on your wedding day. Check out our selection of beach wedding dresses or contact us for more information.
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Bridal Crush
08/19/2021 23:0
such gorgeous dresses!

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