Summer is wedding season, and if you’re lucky, you’ll receive an invitation to a beach wedding. The dress code may say “beach wedding attire,” but does this mean shorts and sandals or something more formal? Can you wear a suit to a beach wedding?
You can wear a suit to a beach wedding, especially if the event has a formal or semi-formal dress code. The venue will be hot and sandy, so choose a pale, lightweight fabric (linen or seersucker). Style your suit with a cotton shirt, brown shoes and belt, and a colorful tie and pocket square.
Although a beach wedding means a less formal atmosphere, you can’t go wrong wearing a suit to a wedding ceremony. Choose a suit to match the venue, weather, and season so that you’ll be relaxed and comfortable, and accessorize accordingly.
Can You Wear A Suit To A Beach Wedding?
Traditional dress codes for a wedding are usually formal, semi-formal, or cocktail. The dress code “beach wedding attire” may be a bit confusing at first, suggesting super casual beachwear suitable for a family vacation.
However, a beach wedding is still a wedding, and you need to dress for the occasion. Although most men will opt for chinos and a blazer, a suit is always appropriate for a wedding, whatever the dress code.
To avoid looking overdressed or as if you’ve just stepped out of a meeting at the office, ditch the tuxedo or office suit and choose a suit that will leave you fresh, comfortable, and elegant, as befits a beach resort.
Follow these handy guidelines when choosing a suit for a beach wedding.
Which Suits Are Appropriate For A Beach Wedding?
Finding the ideal suit for a beach wedding depends partly on the venue, weather, and season. However, most beach weddings take place during summer, at beach resorts – which tells you it will be sunny, sandy, and somewhat sweaty.
Choosing a suit for these conditions means thinking about light fabrics, a summery color palette, and playful accessories.
Which Suit Style Is Best For A Beach Wedding?
If you want to invest in a summer suit, you’ll have a choice of a range of lightweight, breathable fabrics, from preppy seersucker to hardy khaki cotton and casual linen blends. Bamboo, silk, and open-weave wool blends are also cool and comfortable.
To avoid looking rumpled or like a caricature of an Englishman on holiday, go for a well-tailored suit with casual elements like soft shoulders, patch pockets, and notch lapels.
Most summer suits are not three-piece, but you can wear the vest and trousers without the jacket if it’s a casual wedding.
Which Suit Colors Are Best For A Beach Wedding?
The joy of summer suits is that your palette expands from the workday black, navy, charcoal, and brown. Summer suits often lean towards pale colors, like tan, taupe, stone, pale grey, or pastel blues – avoid pure white at a wedding.
Opt for solid colors rather than pinstripes, unless you particularly want the white and navy nautical look.
Pale colors will match the beach vibe and reflect sunlight, keeping you cool and fresh.
If you’re uber-stylish, you might carry off a print blazer, avoiding anything too loud and tropical. Pair your blazer with a pair of colorful trousers in lilac or yellow.
How To Style Your Suit For A Beach Wedding
Once you’ve chosen the perfect suit, you also need to style it with the appropriate accessories for a beach wedding.
As it’s a beach wedding, you might want to add some playful elements to your accessories with an island-style touch.
What Shirts To Wear To A Beach Wedding
Light, summery suits go well with crisp linen or cotton shirts that are light and breathable. Choose a button-down shirt with a simple barrel cuff, rather than a heavy French cuff which will be too heavy – you may want to roll up your sleeves later.
A white, blue, or pink shirt makes for a sophisticated and summery combination. And always tuck in your shirt. Untucked shirts and flapping shirttails aren’t appropriate with a suit.
What Footwear To Wear To A Beach Wedding
Choose a pair of dress shoes or closed shoes that complement your suit. Perforated leather shoes can keep you cool in the heat, but slip-ons or penny loafers with a tassel are also suitable.
Brown or tan shoes tend to match the lighter colors of a summer suit, and you can also wear them with chinos, jeans, and other casual Friday outfits. Avoid heavy black shoes or boots.
Although it’s fashionable to go for the bare ankle, make sure you’re wearing secret socks to avoid sweaty feet. You can always wear calf-length socks in a pale color – but not white ankle socks.
It is appropriate to remove your shoes and socks at a beach wedding if the wedding party chooses. Roll up your suit trousers for a casual touch.
What Belt To Wear To A Beach Wedding
Style rules dictate that you should always wear a belt that matches your shoes. Choose a belt in tan or brown leather, perhaps with a casual element like braiding, canvas, or rope as a nod to the beach venue.
What Tie To Wear To A Beach Wedding
Although some style guides may suggest wearing a bow tie, rather go for a more traditional neckpiece.
You could choose an elegant knit silk or a shantung tie and matching pocket square with an interesting texture or rich color to add some luxury to your outfit.
A beach wedding is one occasion where you can go without a tie, leaving the top two buttons of your shirt undone. If you drop the tie, wear a pocket square, as it elevates your style from casual to classic – think George Clooney in Venice.
What Hat To Wear To A Beach Wedding
Panama or straw hats are appropriate for a beach wedding and with a summer suit, but take care to remove your hat during the procession to avoid blocking other guests’ views.
Some religious ceremonies require men to remove their hats, so make sure you know what’s expected.
What To Avoid Wearing To A Beach Wedding
If you wear a summer suit and smart shoes to a beach wedding, you can’t go wrong. But you may wonder how flexible beach wedding attire is. Here are some items to avoid.
DON’T wear beachwear
Even though the wedding may be taking place on the beach, this is not a reason to wear beachwear or ultra-casual clothing. Avoid wearing a swimsuit or boardshorts, T-shirts (unless a polo shirt if casual is stipulated), or denim.
DON’T Wear Sandals With A Suit
You may find it hot to wear closed shoes, but sandals never go with a suit. Instead, take off your shoes and socks altogether.
DON’T Wear Shorts
Don’t wear shorts to a beach wedding unless the invitation has requested it.
Unless you are actually in Bermuda, wearing shorts with a suit jacket or blazer is also inappropriate, where you’ll probably pair the outfit with long socks.
DON’T Wear A Short-Sleeved Shirt
Short-sleeved shirts and suits don’t go together. If the wedding is casual, match your suit with a polo shirt, or roll up the sleeves of your shirt.
Avoid paisley, Hawaiian, or tropical print shirts unless this is part of the theme.
Wearing a summer suit to a beach wedding is a tasteful choice, especially if you choose a light-colored summer fabric and pair it with a cool cotton shirt and brown loafers. You’ll never look overdressed and will remain stylish and comfortable through the ceremony and beyond.