The Essential What-To-Wear Guide For Outdoor Weddings




More and more often, couples are holding their weddings outdoors. It is said that up to 25% of weddings these days are destination weddings. If you have been invited to an outdoor wedding, you may be wondering what to wear.

Outdoor weddings can range from very casual to black tie. Consider the location of the wedding when deciding what to wear. Obviously, a backyard barbecue wedding would be more casual than one in the garden courtyard of a hotel. Follow these fashion tips for wedding guests.

Beach Weddings

Don’t assume that a beach wedding will be casual enough to wear a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. Oftentimes beach weddings are formal or semi-formal. Look at the wedding invitation and see if it indicates how formal the wedding will be. If it’s not noted, you can generally assume that it is a semi-formal.

Men – A linen suit is a wonderful choice for a beach wedding. Skip the tie and add a Panama hat or straw fedora. Dress shirts in shades of blue, green, and cream are fantastic for beach weddings. If you find out the wedding is a little more casual, flat-front trousers and a collared, short-sleeved shirt are appropriate.

Women – A sundress is a perfect choice for a beach wedding. Dresses in shades of blue are beautiful with the ocean backdrop. If the wedding is in the daytime, add a wide-brimmed hat – both functional and stylish. Jeweled thong sandals that are flat are ideal for a beach wedding. Walking on the sand in high heels is nearly impossible – don’t try it. You can wear a sundress for an evening beach wedding too — just be sure to bring a sweater or wrap to combat the cool ocean breeze.

Garden Weddings

If you are headed to a garden wedding at a hotel or resort, it’s probably more formal than a backyard garden wedding. If you are unsure how formal the wedding will be, ask the hosts.

Men – A light gray or cream suit is a wonderful option for a garden wedding. For an outdoor wedding, wearing a hat is a good idea to shield your head and face from the sun. A light-colored fedora, Panama hat or flat cap are simple and fashionable. Add a pair of driving shoes or loafers to finish off the look.

Women – Floral prints are suited for a garden wedding. Look for a dress that is semi-formal. A halter style dress with an A-line skirt or a knee-length sheath will work well for most garden weddings. Hats are in style for outdoor weddings. A pretty cloche is a chic option. A pastel suit and a Kentucky Derby style hat are appropriate if the wedding is more formal.

Casual Weddings

Even for the most casual weddings, you shouldn’t be sloppy. If “anything goes” is printed on the invitation, that doesn’t mean to wear cut-off shorts and flip-flops. For men, a polo shirt in a pale color partnered with flat front pants is your best option. Women can select cigarette pants and a cotton blouse or a casual sundress and flat sandals.

More Fashion Tips

  • Women should never wear white to a wedding unless you are the bride.
  • For daytime weddings, sequins, beads, and long, black dresses are not appropriate.
  • Dress in cool fabrics such as linen, cotton, chiffon, or silk, but nothing too sheer or skimpy.
  • Men should never wear tuxedos in the daytime, even if the wedding is formal.