by Karen Frisch
Beach weddings are beautiful events, and as a guest, you want to find just the right dress for the occasion. The season the wedding is scheduled, the formality of the marriage ceremony, potential weather issues, bridal color schemes and accessories all figure into the choice of dresses. The following ideas will help you choose a dress for a beach wedding in which you'll feel both comfortable and elegant.
Style and formality: Most beach weddings are on the more casual side, where a sundress and sandals or a long maxi dress is appropriate. A formal wedding demands a different dress than a casual wedding, however. You might prefer a more elegant design or a longer style with sleeves for a formal wedding.
Season: The majority of beach weddings happen in the summer, and a sleeveless or strapless dress is both appropriate and comfortable. For summer evenings or weddings held during a cooler season, a wrap or long sleeves can protect against cool ocean breezes. Make sure you try on a shawl or wrap with your dress before the wedding to see how it looks.
Colors and theme: If you are part of the wedding party, you may want to find a dress in the wedding colors. Otherwise, consider colors that complement the wedding colors. For most beach weddings, pastels or bright, summery colors will fit right in. If the wedding you're attending has a theme, make sure you dress appropriately.
Weather: As with any outdoor event, you need a backup plan for the unexpected. Use sunscreen in sunshine, especially with sleeveless dresses or with loose cap sleeves that blow in the breeze. A longer dress with a double layer or fabric in a thicker material offers advantages in a driving rain or strong wind. If the day is damp, choose a dress that will look good under your raincoat or that will keep you warm and dry.
Accessories: You'll want to choose your accessories carefully for a beach wedding. Heels are hard to wear in sand, so flats or sandals are best. Jewelry dresses up your wedding day attire, but dangly earrings can be uncomfortable on a windy day. You may want to choose bracelets or necklaces as your statement piece and stick to simple earrings.