Tips from Allison Berlin on Beach Wedding Apparel

Allison Berlin, Style Expert

The attire plays a big part in every wedding, and with the increasing popularity of beach weddings, LoveToKnow sought out celebrity style expert Allison Berlin for advice and tips on finding the perfect beach wedding apparel.

About Allison Berlin

Allison Berlin, founder of Style Made Simple, has a diverse background in fashion and style. A former fashion director, Allison has worked with top celebrity personalities such as Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry, as well as international beauty companies Lancome, MAC Cosmetics, and others. She has worked as a style consultant for various segments of NBC today, including "Wedding Fashion Etiquette," as well as working as a stylist for "What Not To Wear" and numerous other venues. She founded Style Made Simple in 2004 to help individuals find that unique blend of personal style and fabulous fashion. Her philosophy is that styles should be customized for the individual, and encourages people to experiment with different looks.

LoveToKnow (LTK): Allison, what inspired you to get started in the fashion business and eventually become a style expert?

Allison Berlin (AB): I've loved fashion since I was a kid. I made my mom buy me the September issue of Vogue and could often be found sketching my favorite outfits. The industry seemed so glamorous and glossy that it was hard not to get addicted!

Choosing an Appropriate Beach Wedding Gown

Consider the Wedding Style

LTK: What advice would you give for finding a wedding gown to suit a women's personal look and style? Despite the acceptance of more nontraditional wedding dresses (colored dresses, informal dresses, shorter dress styles, etc.), is there anything that you would suggest is off limits in wedding gown fashion etiquette?

AB: Brides should keep in mind how formal or informal their event is and dress accordingly. If this is a black tie wedding, the dress should have presence or detailing, if it's an exotic location then choose something flowing and chiffon. Second time around brides should wear more of an evening gown style than princess style.

How Much Skin?

LTK: Many brides choose shorter dresses or go with strapless or sleeveless gowns for their beach nuptials. What advice would you give for helping a bride decide how much to bare -- how much skin is too much, even for a beach wedding? AB: I always advise brides not to show too much cleavage - keep it around an inch. A bare back, shoulder or upper chest is still elegant.

Beach Wedding Apparel: How Casual?

LTK: With the trend in informal weddings and more relaxed beach styles, many couples are donning beach wedding wear that is more casual than ever before. Is there a point when a bride or couple can be too casual for a beach wedding?

AB: I don't mind khaki trousers on the groom or ushers but it should be paired with a jacket of some sort. It's too casual for the groom to wear a linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I also think the bride should wear a long dress - even if it's lightweight fabric without any beading. A short dress feels too casual.

Incorporating Color in Beach Wedding Dress

LTK: Colors and patterns are typically more acceptable at a beach wedding than a traditional wedding. What is the best way to incorporate this contemporary approach into beach wedding attire without overdoing it?

AB: A bride may regret choosing a bright pink dress for her beach wedding but her bouquet and bridesmaids dresses should reflect those tropical colors. Kathin Argiro or Thread Design both have a lot of great color and style options.

Mother's Beach Dresses

LTK: Are there certain styles of dresses or other apparel that are more appropriate for the mothers of the bride and groom for a beach wedding ceremony?

AB: Again, this is a wedding, so the MOB or MOG should still dress up -- but this is a great place to experiment with brighter colors, and maybe a skirt/top combination.

Beach Wedding Attire for Guests

A couple might choose a more formal ceremony despite the beach atmosphere and wish their guests to dress accordingly - or alternately, be having an ultra-casual ceremony and would not want guests to be overdressed and feel out of place. With this in mind:

LTK: What is the best way a couple can cue their guests in on how to dress for their beach wedding?

AB: The couple should include any dress requirements on the invitation. This is often printed in the bottom right corner of the invitation.

Final Tip on Beach Wedding Wear

LTK: Do you have any additional tips on choosing beach wedding apparel for the bride, groom, or wedding party?

AB: Just keep in mind that this is still a wedding, and a serious event. If you want to really let loose, change into Hawaiian prints for the reception, but keep it elegant for the ceremony and pictures.

For More on Allison Berlin

For more on Allison Berlin, or to learn about the services available from Style Made Simple, visit the following:

Tips from Allison Berlin on Beach Wedding Apparel