Friday, March 13, 2009

What to wear to a beach wedding?

Recently, I received a question from a readers' lovely friend Emily:

Q: “(…) Our friend is attending a BEACH wedding in Zanzibar, Africa and she asked us to suggest an outfit suited for this special occasion. I AM LOST, sadly =( and the other friend is busy...Please, please give us a few suggestions!!(…)” (Emily)

A: Emily, thank you so much for your question! Having never attended a beach wedding myself, I found it an interesting one that got me thinking of what
I would wear if I were to attend one. Not knowing your friend’s colouring, body shape, tastes & budget, I chose a few dresses I would pick for myself (although some of them would require my money tree actually bearing fruit, which it is yet to do…).

From my own wardrobe my thoughts immediately went to this 3.1 Phillip Lim saffron floral strapless pleated bodice silk dress, which I have up for sale (so if she’s a US 2 or 4 she may be in luck!):

Here is why:

I picture beach weddings to be casual, relaxed, intimate & sometimes…bohemian. Having an absolute passion for draped pieces, I believe them to be perfect for such an occasion. What would I look for in a dress for a beach wedding?

Length – long (or at least mid-length). For a few reasons:

a. On a sandy beach, the footwear of choice will most likely be a flat pair of sandals or possibly even none at all. Therefore, I would need the dress to be calf to ankle length, as it would be most flattering for my short stumpy legs. Of course, if you are tall & slim (and I am sadly, neither), you may not have that problem.

b. Walking on a sandy beach may not always be a graceful task, which I find is easier done when my legs aren’t on display.

c. Sea breeze – you don’t want it to pick up a shorter skirt, or have to worry to place your hands to ensure it doesn’t get blown up from under you.

2) Material – flowy & comfortable. In the warmer climates you want to make sure you are comfortable, your skin can breathe, and that your movements aren’t restricted by a tight-fitting dress.

3) Colour – nothing too severe. Personally I would not choose anything too vibrant, but would gravitate to soft palettes. For example, I also have the Phillip Lim dress above in cream/black, which although I think would be perfect for a garden wedding (maybe worn with a touch of red or yellow), I would find too dark for a beach wedding. Often darker colours may appear more sombre, which would be better suited for a formal affair.

I absolutely adore the muted colours and gauzey, floaty fabric.

Halston (sadly sold out, but I love the print, which would be perfect for a beach wedding in Zanzibar)

This grey dress does appear too pale, and if true to colour, I would consider too similar to ivory/white, which I would never wear to attend a wedding (unless I were the bride, or if the fabric were patterned with another colour), but I am hoping that (as I have previously found), pictures on NAP are much paler than their true colour due to their flash. In which instance, this dress would be absolutely gorgeous.

Alice & Olivia Ombre strapless dress
I am in two minds about this Alice & Oliva Ombré dress’ colour, but love the ombré, as I think it would be perfect for a sunset beach wedding.

Love the toga, grecian feel off-set with the feminine purple floral print. This is also available in all ivory for any beach brides out there...

This may be too dark, but I just loved this dress (also comes in a gorgeous red)

I couldn't resist posting these two, as they are just gorgeous, and could be possible 'beach bride gowns':

Thakoon Draped crepe gown

Roksanda Ilincic Corsage Embellished Gown

This is absolutely divine! The rosettes, the drapey-ness... my jaw dropped when I saw this. Ahh! If only I could come up with some excuse to wear such a stunning gown...Vows-renewal perhaps?

These were just a few examples of dresses I found during a quick search, on one site only (or I would've searched endlessly). If anyone has any further suggestions for Emily, I'm sure she'd love to see them!

What would YOU wear to a beach wedding?

PS. I don't know if you noticed, but yesterday I added a little playlist (To the left. The first song is the one I mentioned in a few posts ago - Denice Williams 'Free', the second song by Bebel Gilberto was my '1st dance' with hubby at our wedding...). I get startled when clicking on a blog and music springs out of nowhere, so I thought I'd make it play only if you wish it to...(just click 'play')


  1. That last dress is gorgeous!

    Perfect way to answer the question though.

    I really like that first dress. You've actually managed to capture the perfect beach wedding outfit to a tee.

    Soft, flowly, 3/4 to full length in soft colours

  2. the halston print and the thakoon are divine!

  3. The "La Petite Salope draped dress" is so freakin perfect. I'd totally wear some sort of white dress for a beach wedding.

  4. I would go for the Halston dress is a classic must have, "evergreen" dress, it is right for a beach wedding and for a cocktail party in the city as well. It is a very simple dress that can always be right on several occasions, depending on the accessories you match with it

  5. Lovely post! Do you work as a stylist?? Because it is editorial worthy.


  6. i've never been to a beach wedding either but i think you've given excellent and very well thought out advice. Definitely something longer rather than shorter and a beach setting would show off prints and colours really well.

  7. excellent picks. i love the grecian pieces you picked out. i think that's the route i would go too if i were invited to a beach wedding. i especially like the blue halston.

  8. I love all your choices! I think long flowy and printed dresses are pretty much a perfect choice :-)

  9. oh boy i love the last one, it is beautiiful


  10. i LOVE the last dress, when i saw it, my jaws dropped too, it is just perfection.

  11. I love all of your tips!
    I'd love to go to a beach wedding one day... =]

  12. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! You're so wonderful inside-out.

    And I personally LOVE everything! Now I want to go to Zanzibar myself & kick my friend off the invite list! ha-ha! Kidding.

    I will grab the photos and forward it to my friend. I assure you she'll have a headache as everything is gorgeous.

    Again, from ALL OF US, terima kasih (in Brunei Malay) ;)

  13. Bambola - Thanks for your lovely comment!

    xs -sure are! *drool*

    karla - You'd wear a pure white (ie. non-patterned) dress as a guest? Or did you mean as a bride?

    b-chic - I totally agree, that Halston could've been worn in the last 3 decades, and probably for the next 3...

    Ida - Oh, you are such a sweetheart for saying that! Totally made my day! :) How I wish I were a stylist! I'm embarrassed that this was a rushed post (did it in my lunch break).

    anonymous - thanks!

    H - When I saw the blue Halston I thought you might like it too ;) It'd be perfect on you!

    tanya - Thanks!

    karen & alice x - Isn't it just? I sigh every time I see it ...

    she's dressing up - Thanks! And me too!

    Emily & Cheryl - OH! Hi Cheryl! *waves* Hadn't heard from you in so long! Just clicked it was you who suggested Emily contact me (so glad you did).

    Hope your friend finds these useful! Is Brunei Malay very different from Malaysian Malay? I can say 'Terima Kasih' very well (if I may say so myself, haha) from practising heaps when I went to Malaysia :)

  14. yes maxi dresses and/or skirts for sure, in bright airy colours that suggest whimsy and nonchalant cool even though of course you spent days trying to figure out your outfit. I love Josh Goot for the beach, the bright tye-dye esque prints of his long slip dresses are just divine, and i think he is a whiz with drapery. my goot skirt is so flattering it is incredible.

    i love the picks you're laid out though! that mcqueen dress is stunning, and i love the wrap style of the missoni.

    on another note, i almost bought a dries van noten skirt from the fall/winter 08 collections (on sale in poepke in william st paddington) but was just a little bit too big (can you believe it?)... it was lovely, emerald green silk shot through with bright hot pinks and yellows in an abstract flower print. i'm still contemplating getting it, adjustments can be made, right?


  15. I'm so sorry! I think I may have deleted instead of published 3 comments by accident, but have them in my email:

    P R I M O E Z A said:

    great advice! i know where i'm coming next time i'm stuck!

    coco said:

    I love the yellow dress. I would want to go for long but maybe that would be a little dressy for a beach wedding? I'd like it but maybe the bride wouldn't ha ha.

    Rosanna said:

    that last dress is breathtaking!


  16. sheer floral? those you picked are gorgeous as well

  17. Maxi dresses are definitely great. Alternately, I'd also pick a jersey knit with a bold floral or leaf just seems like something on the tropical side would fit right in, something more laid back but still pretty and right for the occasion.

  18. Yes, it's me. *waves back* And my gosh, you remembered! *giggles*

    Sorry didn't get to write you back. I composed a VERY nice (& very long and boring) letter (haha!) in my head but a lot of things had transpired (brother got ill & some business worries) I never got around it. But let me tell you (and the readers) that you're such a gem. No kidding!

    If you stop writing, I'll haunt you! Kidding..haha!

    Brunei Malay is similar to Malaysian Malay (& Singapore Malay) and has a lot of similar words to Philippines' Filipino (or Tagalog).

    Yes, I remember you bought this gorgeous sari skirt from Zara, Malaysia (if I'm not mistaken). I've seen a few people followed suit ;)

    You take care and more delectable photos please!

    Love always,

  19. Oh I love love love the La Petite Salope dress!

    The draping is so unconventional and beautiful!

    Great blog :)

  20. Fabulous, fabulous, post! =] I love all the dresses you picked; now I need an excuse to buy them!

    La C.

  21. I love the organza maxi dress! Great advice. You are such a style guru! xx

  22. I adore that La Petite Salope dress! I definitely want one. Great ideas. I've actually never been to a wedding, not one!

  23. Olá!
    Passei aqui para te conhecer e deixar um convite:No dia 30 de Março, estarei embarcando em um cruzeiro Santos(Brazil)/Veneza(Itália) no navio “Splendour of the Sea”. Visitarei 3 continentes, 8 países e mais de 20 cidades.
    Farei postagens diárias e com fotos, e espero a sua companhia nesta grande viagem. Desde já espero sua visita.

  24. i love your suggestions and tastes !!! you should be a personal stylist.

  25. The last dress is my fav... Beach wedding are so much fun to dress for.

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