Beach Wedding Dresses

Crystal Schwanke
Contributor: Audrey M. Jones
Beach bride

If you're considering a wedding with an ocean view, you'll likely have to think about buying a wedding dress suitable to wear on a beach. The variety of dresses offered means that you won't have a hard time finding the perfect dress to wear on your wedding day.

Dress Styles for Beach Weddings

Beach weddings are considered more informal than their church counterparts. Full formal skirts and large headpieces aren't required at a beach wedding and, in fact, might become a hindrance - long dresses and veils can catch sand and move around in the wind, making it difficult for a bride to move or to take photos. Usually, to avoid these problems, a bride marrying on a beach is better suited with a sleek, casual wedding gown.

Many styles combine several details in one dress, like spaghetti straps on a flowing gown. Options for beach wedding dresses include:

One Shoulder

You can look like a goddess in a long chiffon dress with a sheath or A-line skirt and one shoulder strap.

  • The Scalloped One-Shoulder Glitter Lace Sheath Gown from David's Bridal (about $200) has beautiful glitter and lace detail and no train, making it easy to walk on the sandy beaches. The size range is 0 to 14.
  • The Elegant A-Line One-Shoulder Beach Lace-up Chapel Train Pleats Wedding Dress from Eric Dress (around $100) combines chiffon, a sweetheart neckline, and beading for a sophisticated, sexy style. It comes in sizes 2 through 26W and five color choices.

Cocktail Length

A knee-length white cocktail dress can take you from your wedding ceremony to a local bar for drinks afterward.

Short Trains

You don't need to forgo having a train on your dress just because you're marrying on the beach. However, having a shorter train means that there's less for you to have to look after in terms of your dress coming in contact with wet sand and waves.

  • The lace Mermaid V-Neck 15007 dress from JJ's House features a short train that'll fulfill your desire for a train without forcing you to have to deal with a cumbersome load of extra fabric. This dress's simple yet elegant flowery lace and sash also make it suitable for a beach ceremony. Expect to pay less than $200. Buy it in sizes 2 through 26W and in four color options.
  • Model CWZT15004 from Coco Melody (just over $200) comes in sizes 0 to 28. This sleeveless V-neck sheath style is made from beautiful chiffon. Gorgeous pleating and rhinestone detail at the waist make this a stunning option, and the train is short enough to be manageable in a beach setting. The only color option is ivory.

Casual Styles

This type of dress reflects a bride's relaxed mood and the calm atmosphere of the beach.

  • The strapless chiffon bridal gown from InWeddingDress.com contains no embellishments except the ruffles on the skirt. The 0 to 26W sized dress is light, breezy, and relaxed, making it the perfect casual beach wedding gown. This one will only set you back around $300 in ivory, white, or light ivory.
  • The Adrianna Papell Embellished Floral Applique Illusion Gown is just under $300 at Macy's. It's a V-neck with sheer material covering the bodice. Petal appliques add visual interest to the long skirt and there's rhinestone embellishment at the waist. Find the white gown it in sizes 2 through 16.

Tea-Length

Tea-length gowns are a great option for brides who don't want their hemlines in the sand but aren't comfortable with choosing a short skirt.

  • For a little more formality, consider the CWXI13001 from Coco Melody. This gown's shorter length means that brides will have less trouble walking on unsteady sand, but its organza fabric combined with applique detailing at the bodice and hem indicate that it is designed for a wedding. Expect to pay less than $150 for sizes 0 to 16, with additional charges applying towards sizes up to 28. It comes in ivory but you can select a custom color for an additional charge.
  • The Voodoo Vixen 1950s White Pearl Beaded Cap Sleeve Betsy Dress from Unique Vintage has all the grace of classic 1950s Hollywood, plus tulle, pearls, a structured bodice, and voluminous skirt. It's just over $200 in sizes small through 2X.

Flowing Dresses

A flowing dress is suitable for a beach wedding because it will billow slightly in beach breezes. Additionally, the dress's easy appearance reflects the calming and natural movement of waves.

  • The A-Line/Princess V-Neck Court Train Chiffon Dress with Beading Sequins from JJ's House (under $200) has a flowing style with a short train that's perfect for beach settings. A deep V-neck and intricate detail along the bodice balance the smooth, floating chiffon of the skirt. Find it in sizes 2 through 26W and four colors.
  • The flowing chiffon dress offered by InWeddingDress.com for around $200 is made of a lightweight fabric that will move with ocean breezes. Additionally, its loose shape and extra fabric draped over the bride's back will flow as the bride or wind moves. It comes in sizes 0 to 26W and ivory, light ivory, and white.
  • The Lovelybride elegant chiffon gown is an affordable option from Amazon, at just $90. It comes in sizes 2 through 26Plus. The off-shoulder styling gives it a casual look perfect for a simple wedding by the sea.

Hawaiian Gowns

Traditionally, Hawaiian brides wore loose, straight dresses to their weddings. Jade Fashion offers this shape of wedding gown for brides who want to include this Hawaiian tradition into their nuptials.

  • The Aloha Cotton dress is a loose, straight dress with spaghetti straps. Its white embroidery is of Hawaiian flowers and its cotton fabric will keep you cool under the hot Hawaiian sun. The best part? It's not much over $100 in sizes small to 4XL.
  • The Hanalei dress is a halter style that pulls over your head and ties at the nape of the neck and only costs around $150. The print is reminiscent of Hawaiian florals. It's sized from XS to 3XL.

Summer Beach Styles

A summer beach dress is usually lighter and more flowy than one worn during other times of the year. This is to accommodate the heat normally found on beaches during the summer time months.

  • Even though the A-Line/Princess Scoop Floor Length Chiffon Wedding Dress with Beading Sequins has similar features to those found on more formal styles, it has a bohemian feel that makes it perfect for the beach in the summer. It's a two-piece set with a lace top, cap sleeves, and a long chiffon skirt. Expect to pay around $150 for sizes 2 through 26W and four color options.
  • The chiffon fabric of the one shoulder floral applique from David's Bridal and Amazon will blow in beach breezes, thereby keeping you cool, while the dress's shape and style make it clear that you're the bride. Expect to pay around $500 for sizes 2 through 16 in soft white and white.

Spaghetti Strap Options

A classic sundress with spaghetti straps and lace accents works well on the beach and allows you to show off your great tan in wedding photos.

  • Pick up the sheath spaghetti strap dress from David's Bridal if you want a dress that will turn heads. It features a lace covered bodice that extends to the top of the thighs and a sheer lace skirt. Expect to pay just under $300 for a small in ivory.
  • The Adrianna Papell Beaded Tulle A-Line Gown from Macy's will only cost you about $400. It features beading along the bodice that extends down onto the skirt. The skirt is a floor-length mermaid style. It's white and sizes run from 10 to 16.

Finding the Perfect Dress for Your Beach Nuptials

While you can find informal wedding gowns suitable for a beach wedding in traditional wedding dress shops, you can also look for your gown in other stores. In spring or summer, you can probably find an array of appropriate dresses in clothing boutiques and department stores. However, if you are shopping for a beach dress during cooler weather, you may have better luck online. Try these sources for your beach wedding gown:

  • Hawaiian Wedding Shop offers several Hawaiian-themed wedding gowns. Dresses are usually flowing and made of light fabrics. For example, the Princess Kamamalu dress contains a short hemline, spaghetti straps, and coconut buttons, all of which evoke images of the Hawaiian islands. Items are all made in Hawaii, meaning you'll get a true representation of the islands.
  • Wedding Tropics offers long and a short wedding dress that can be customized in any color of your choice. Gowns are simple and several, such as the Angela, are made from flowing fabrics that'll swing in beach breezes. Shipping is a low flat rate and most dresses are ready in three to four weeks.
  • Impression Bridal's Destiny collection has a wide variety of dresses suitable for a wedding on the beach. From simple and strapless to short and sassy and long and flowing, the options offered allow brides to choose one that fits their style and body type. Style 11811 has a lovely lace overlay and very short train for an elegant wedding. Use their store locator to find gowns in your area.

Bridal Wear and Beach Weather Tips

Wind, weather conditions, sweat, and sticking sand don't typically come to a bride's mind when envisioning her fairytale beach or destination wedding. However, it's important to consider how Mother Nature may act on the day of your nuptials. Planning what to wear to a beach wedding requires consideration of the time of year:

Spring or Summer

Sun and humidity can cause you to overheat during a mid-summer afternoon wedding. To avoid this, consider a dress with light, flowy fabric. This will allow the beach's natural breezes to cool you. Fabrics you may want to consider for a spring or summertime beach ceremony include:

  • Duchess satin, which is lighter than traditional satin
  • Charmeuse, a soft, lightweight satin created from silk or rayon
  • Chiffon, a sheer, billowy fabric
  • Georgette, a crepe-like fabric whose flowy design won't be bothered by the wind
  • Organza, a transparent fabric that can be used as an overskirt
  • Dotted Swiss, a lightweight fabric with dotted designs perfect for a casual but feminine look
  • Tulle, which is light but can be layered for a full skirt

Fall or Winter

Lighter fabrics are still suitable for a beach wedding occurring during cooler months, but those fabrics don't necessarily need to be as light as those you would wear in the summer. In the fall or winter, cottons or lightweight satins will protect you from cooler breezes but still fit in well with your surroundings. Additionally, you can always use a wrap or bolero jacket over your shoulders when the weather turns cooler.

Ordering and Costs

Beach wedding dresses don't normally take as long as a more formal gown to create. Therefore, they usually take less time to come into a store after ordering. In many cases, these dresses can be purchased off the rack. Additionally, alterations to most beach wedding dresses are usually minimal or not even required.

Due to their simpler style and lighter fabrics, beach wedding dresses are also typically less expensive than a traditional wedding gown. Sometimes, a casual beach wedding dress can cost hundreds of dollars less than a more elaborate gown.

Choosing Your Beach Wedding Gown

All brides look lovely in their wedding dress, but beach brides look especially stunning when they keep their location in mind when choosing their gown. The many options available mean that you are sure to find the most flattering fit for your nuptials in the sand.

Beach Wedding Dresses