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Beach Wedding Types and the Wedding Dresses that Match Them

Bride and groom kissing at the beach

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Beach weddings hold an undeniable appeal for bohemian and conventional brides alike. Whether you are drawn to the grandeur of a glistening seascape or the ease of a casual coastal vibe, you’ll need a wedding dress to suit your beach wedding style.

Read on to discover all you need to know about choosing the best beach wedding dress for you.

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Wedding Dress Styles to Suit Your Beach Wedding Theme

Beach weddings can easily be pigeon-holed into barefoot bohemian affairs. But weddings by the ocean take on a surprising amount of variety and more and more creative couples are putting their own thematic spins on the classic seaside wedding.

The theme of your beach wedding will dictate the overall look of the celebration, and since you and your groom will be the centerpiece, you’ll want your gown to fit the theme too.

Wedding Dresses for Bohemian Beach Weddings

off shoulder wedding dress

Off-the-shoulder boho wedding dress by Amy New Bridal. See it here.

A bohemian theme has long been synonymous with beach weddings. Make the most of an airy beachside bash by finding a dress that exudes carefree coastal vibes. Think light fabric that can float on the sea breeze and a hint of skin to catch that golden hour light.

Off-the-shoulder or two-piece wedding gowns are a classic choice for bohemian brides. Just be sure to keep the fit around the hips relaxed to keep the look from feeling too rigid.

2- Wedding Dresses for Elegant Beach Weddings

Lace Wedding Dress Modest Wedding Dress Simple Wedding Gown image 1

Elegant beach wedding dress by Be Twins. See it here.

Classical wedding styles are also well-suited to beach weddings. Chic decor and dress details contrast with a striking sparkling sea to make for an elegant affair.

Choose fitted silhouettes such as mermaid, trumpet and A-line. These are classic but pared back enough for a beach wedding. Stay away from over-the-top heavy trains or large ball gowns as these can look out of place at a beach wedding. Instead, add opulence with bold jewellery and accessories.

3- Wedding Dresses for Minimalist Beach Weddings

Bride wearing minimalist beach wedding dress

Minimalist beach wedding dress by Gown and Altar. See it here.

Minimalist beach weddings take a step back in terms of styling and decor to allow picturesque natural surrounds to do the talking. Minimalist brides tend to look their best in sheath, column or trumpet silhouettes with few embellishments.

The key to keeping it chic in a simple gown is a perfect fit. A simple belt, brilliant bouquet or short train can add just enough detail to take your look from boring to beautiful.

4- Destination Beach Wedding Dresses

Bride wearing white and blue wedding dress

Blue wedding dress by Wedding Dress Fantasy. See it here.

If your beach wedding is taking you abroad, take a cue from your destination to add a dash of exotic flair to your gown. Add a touch of something blue in Santorini, some colorful embroidery for a Mexican fiesta or let your lace take its shape like coral from the coast.

Best Fabrics for Beach Wedding Dresses

Once you have an idea of the style of your beach wedding dress, you’ll need to think about the feel, and the main driving factors of feel is fit and fabric.

Unless your beach wedding is taking place in the cooler months, you’ll definitely want to take warm weather into account. The last thing you want is to be sweating under layers of heavy fabric. Moving around on sand is also a little more difficult, so lighter fabrics should be favored.

Perfect your beach wedding look by finding the best fabric to suit the style and fit you are looking for.

1- Best Fabric For Bohemian Styles

Bride wearing lace wedding dress

Lace wedding dress by Suzanna M Designs. See it here.

Bohemian beach wedding dresses are all about mixing flow with detailed design elements. Get the best of both worlds by looking for bold lace patterns or crochet. Guipure lace is a type of bobbin lace that is connected with motifs rather than mesh. Guipure lace often takes on curving organic shapes which gives the patterns an unrefined feel.

Chantilly lace works well for adding detail to simple off-the-shoulder gowns. Bohemian brides that want to cover up can opt for floaty long-sleeved designs made of classic crochet or make a bold statement with festival fringe detailing. Whether it’s vintage, Chantilly, Guipure or crochet – try to keep it naturally based like cotton to keep it breathable – ideal on a warm sunny beach day.

2- Best Fabric for a Fitted Bodice

A fitted trumpet or mermaid silhouette often calls for a bodice shaped by boning. However, the rigidity of gowns fitted with boning can be uncomfortable in warm beach weather.

An excellent option is illusion netting which is a very fine form of tulle and a more flexible fabric option that offers the same fitted look. Illusion netting paired with sections of lace or delicate beading will add demure detailing to a figure-hugging bodice that allows your skin (and you) to breathe.

3- Best Fabrics for a Full Skirt

Bride in white dress at beach wedding

Full skirt wedding gown by Vanilla WFG. See it here.

If your dream is to feel like a princess on your wedding day, natural beach surrounds shouldn’t count that out. Instead of a rigid crinoline ball gown, choose soft layered tulle or organza that flows. This will allow you to achieve a fuller A-Line silhouette without the stiffness of a ball gown. The lightness of tulle and organza will also flow flawlessly in the wind.

4- Best Fabric for Long Sleeves

Long-sleeved wedding gowns are a look. They exude elegance and style, but in the wrong fabric, are not conducive to a beach wedding. Stay comfortable, easy and breezy by choosing a long-sleeved gown made of breathable fabrics such as lace, crepe or chiffon.

5- Best Fabric for Minimalist Gowns

Bride wearing crepe minimalist gown at beach wedding

Crepe modern wedding gown by Vanilla WFG. See it here.

Minimal gowns are all about the perfect figure-hugging fit or striking architecturally inspired cuts. In order to achieve a sleek look, choose crepe satin or organza for a lightweight feel with a subtle chic sheen.

Some Tips Before You Buy Your Beach Wedding Dress

And finally, some important points to remember as you go shopping for your beach wedding dress:

The perfect looking gown is all about the perfect fit – and this includes length. Give some thought to what footwear you plan on wearing on your wedding day before your final fitting. Don’t forget to think about where you’ll be walking. Stiletto heels will not work well on the beach. If you want to wear something that will add height, try a wedge heel. There are also plenty of stunning sandal and barefoot jewel options for brides that want to mix a little bling in with their carefree footwear.

Just be sure that your dressmaker knows how your footwear will alter your height so that they can adjust the hem of your gown accordingly.

Every bride will learn about the myriad shades of white as soon as they start their search for their dress. It’s important to note the shade of white that you choose, particularly if your groom is planning to wear a white suit – a great look for beach weddings – or a white shirt and choose matching tonal whites. If you’re white dress has a warm tone while his white suit has a cool tone, the whites will contrast and clash.

It may seem like a small detail, but mismatched shades of white will really stand out when you and your groom stand together, so you will want to match your shades or keep them in the same family (warm or cool). If you and your groom want to keep your looks a strict secret from each other, recruit your maid of honor and best man to help keep your whites harmonious.