The sun. The sea. The sand.
Is it any wonder that about 350,000 couples choose a destination wedding every year? And how could you resist the charm of the beach, with its airy vibe and warmness easily complementing the lush feeling you enjoy whenever your bride-to-be cuddles up to you?
You may be one of the 350,000 couples who think the beach is the perfect place to get married. But now you have a problem – choosing the right suit for the occasion.
Beach wedding suits don’t quite match the formal tuxedos and heavy tweed suits that are in vogue right now. But with this guide, you’ll have everything you need to look good, feel comfortable, and reflect the atmosphere of your beach wedding.
“Whatever you do in life, it’s not legendary unless you’re doing it in a suit.”
We couldn’t agree more with “How I Met Your Mother’s” Barney Stinson here because a suit makes every occasion better. That’s as true of the beach (not a typical suit-wearing location) as it is any other venue you choose for your big day.
The difference between a beach wedding suit and a regular suit – you have to put more thought into the materials and style by considering these three factors.
Linen and cotton.
Choose a suit using either of these materials, and you get a breathable wedding suit that’s going to ensure you’re comfortable when the summer sun shines down.
Starting with linen, suits made of this breathable, lightweight material ensure comfort, especially if you opt for Italian linen. The weight factor is one that many grooms underestimate when choosing a beach wedding. When the sun’s bearing down and you’re trudging through the sand to get your all-important wedding snaps, you don’t want a suit that makes you feel like you’re carrying a backpack hanging off your shoulders.
As for cotton – seersucker is a good choice. With its puckered texture, achieved by a unique type of stitching, you get a suit that looks different while still offering the breathability needed for warm weather.
What colors come to mind when you think of the beach?
Yellow, blue, white. They’re all light and air colors, which is your hint that traditional black and similarly dark colors won’t fit the mood you’re trying to create.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rock up in a sheer white suit. But sky blue, teal blue, and even some shades of green and purple are usually better choices than the darker tones you’d see at an evening or winter wedding.
Getting married on the beach doesn’t mean you have to ditch formality entirely. You just have to take a different approach – starting with color. The black and white combo you get from a tux will obviously look out of place, but a traditional suit using summer fabrics and lighter tones can strike a balance between formality and tone.
Or, you could go the non-traditional route.
Flip flops, shorts, and a shirt with the top buttons undone aren’t uncommon at beach weddings. Just don’t go full casual by throwing t-shirts into the mix.
With the three factors you need to consider in mind, the following are a few of the more common options for beach wedding attire.
Linen is the perfect material for a beach wedding, as touched on earlier. It’s light, breezy, and breathable, meaning you won’t feel like your suit jacket’s causing you to sweat extensively as the afternoon draws on.
A linen blend can also work, though try to avoid suits that blend linen with manufactured materials, like nylon. They can add weight and may feel cheap, even against the beach setting.
Let’s get one thing straight – “tropical wedding suits” doesn’t mean turning up in a Hawaiian shirt. As much as we love those shirts, they’re not quite right for even a beach wedding.
But you can take some inspiration from there. Bold colors (blue is especially popular) with vibrant patterns can reflect the tropical setting without being garish. For instance, your shirt could have light floral or palm leaf patterns, reflecting the venue without being so over the top that it distracts from the rest of your suit. Alternatively, pastel yellows and purples work well, both for your suit and shirt.
Casual chic is about as far as you can dip into informal territory without simply turning up in standard beachwear. The idea here is to embrace the more casual vibe of the beach while still maintaining a touch of elegance.
Shorts can work for this look, though you’re aiming more for khaki colors rather than swimming shorts. You’ll usually ditch the traditional suit jacket, too, favoring a loose white shirt that you can make more elegant with beach-theme accessories, such as bracelets or necklaces.
Though colors have already been discussed in minor detail, let’s break them down a little more because the colors you choose influence the tone you set for your beach wedding.
Ironically, white and beige colors replace black as the “traditional” choice in a beach wedding. Some might argue that choosing either as the color of your suit (or the colors you focus on with your groomsmen suit ideas) is the “easy” choice.
And they’re not wrong – white and beige are neutral tones. Beige, in particular, complements the color of the sand underfoot, so you’ll mesh well with your environment.
The only problem is that beige and white can be a little boring. Photographer and fashion designer Jean Pigozzi put it best:
“It would be much easier to just make black, brown, and beige clothes. But I do not see the world in black and white and beige. I find colors incredibly important.”
Though this perhaps overstates the “boring” aspect of beige and white for a beach wedding, it does hint at these being the standard colors, despite their timeless appeal.
Where black might be the boring choice in a traditional wedding, it’s positively bold if you’re looking for different color options beyond beige and white for the beach. Black will always look sharp. There’s no doubt about that. But it’ll feel hot and give you a more formal air than the rest of your wedding party if you choose it as your wedding suit.
Accessories are your friend if you choose black for the beach.
Absolutely wear a white shirt, and pair it with a tie and pocket square that is much lighter in color. The square, in particular, can be a great place to bring some patterns into the equation, even if the rest of the suit is solid black.
Drawing from your surroundings is often the key to finding the best wedding suits, and in the gorgeous blues of the ocean and the greens of the lush island foliage, you have two great inspirations.
Starting with blue, it’s already the “in” color for weddings right now. But rather than the deeper shades you might wear at a regular venue, opt for sky blue or something similarly light for a beach wedding. As for green – try for hints of green rather than a full green suit. Perhaps beige with green accents, for instance, giving you a neutral look that meshes well with the sand combined with a couple of tropical flourishes.
The best wedding suits only come together when you accessorize appropriately. The idea is to add some finishing touches, ideally touches that reflect the atmosphere of your wedding venue.
Normally, a tie (or bow tie if you’re wearing a tux) is a must-have accessory at a wedding. But it’s more of an optional choice, with your decision whether to wear a tie or not usually coming down to how formal you want the event to be.
If you’ve gone down the full suit route, even if that suit features bold tropical colors, a tie is still a good idea. It completes the suit and can give you a nice point of contrast, as well as draw attention to your shirt.
For more casual weddings (think short pants and open or loose shirts), a tie looks completely out of place. It can even look off in a semi-formal wedding, creating a stuffy vibe when you want things to feel light and airy.
Let’s say you choose not to wear a tie. In that case, accessorize with something floral, like a flower lapel pin. You still get a nice color contrast with your suit, but it’s one that’s more in keeping with the atmosphere.
Dressy and stylish.
Those are the two rules for wearing hats and sunglasses at a beach wedding. You’ll need both of them, too, with the hat shielding your head and neck from the sun while the glasses do the same for your eyes.
The odds are that you’ll wear these accessories during the reception and wedding breakfast, especially if it’s also outdoors, rather than for the ceremony itself. Just avoid baseball caps and overlarge sunglasses, and you should be fine.
Here’s an idea – make the sunglasses you want your wedding party to wear part of your groomsmen gift box. You give a nice gift and ensure cohesion among the wedding party.
Again, the specific balance between formal and casual will dictate your footwear to an extent. But the rules to follow here are about combining formal and casual while wearing something that ensures you don’t have crunchy sand between your toes when making your vows.
Leather loafers are a great choice.
They’re casual enough to work on the beach while still being “traditional” enough to work with a suit. Plus, they’re leather – no gaps for sand to break through as long as you’re not kicking the sand around.
You’re almost there with your beach-ready wedding suit choice, and you’re sure to make a statement as long as you follow the advice presented so far. There’s just one more decision to make – rent or buy?
There are a couple of convincing arguments for buying your suit.
You own it forever, which is great if you want your suit to be a memento of your wedding day that you keep stored and ready for a glance whenever you want a reminder. Plus, owning your suit means you can re-wear it, though you may get a few sideways glances from people who remember that it was the suit you had on when you made your way up the aisle.
But remember – your wedding is a one-time event.
Spending $500 or over on a suit you’ll only wear once may not be a good idea, especially when you’re already dropping tens of thousands of dollars on a destination wedding. Therein lies the main argument for renting your suit – it costs less because you send it back when you’re done.
It’s not just a lower cost that benefits you, though. Renting a suit, rather than buying, gives you access to a wider variety of styles and brands. A suit that may have blown a hole in your bank account if you bought it suddenly becomes feasible when you rent. You get access to modern styles (and brands) without the commitment inherent in forking out thousands of dollars to access them.
Then, there’s the combination of experience and top-tier service that comes with suit rentals, which you’ll experience services like Generation Tux. Though they’re entirely online, Generation Tux is ideal for suit or groom tux rental. It offers a free “Home Try-On” service that gives you a taste of your suit and lets you deal with fitting issues ahead of time.
So, if you’re dreaming of the perfect beach wedding suit without the long-term commitment, dive into the diverse collection at Generation Tux and make your beach wedding dreams a reality.
Finally, here are a few tips for taking care of beach wedding suits:
Comfort is as much of a factor when choosing beach wedding suits as style. You’re in a warm (and possibly humid) environment, so heavy materials that hang off your shoulders and leave you sweating are the last thing you want. Linen and cotton are your friends, and both can help you feel confident and comfortable on the beach.
As for colors – try neutral beige (or white), bold black, and tropical blues and greens. All can look great as long as the colors align with the rest of the wedding theme.