A destination wedding at the beach straddles the line between vacation attire and free-spirited elegance. You don't want to show up in Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt (unless that's the couple's theme), but a thick chiffon gown doesn't feel appropriate either. What to do? When shopping for your next beach wedding guest look, make sure your pieces can pull double-duty as both festive party outfits and no-fuss vacation wear. Opt for breezy linen and cotton dresses that can be worn over a swimsuit at the pool or dressed up with kitten heels to the reception. Step it up with seaside-inspired accessories like shell earrings or a handbag. (The bag can hold sunblock and your sunglasses when you lounge by the pool post-wedding festivities.)
To show you what I mean, I've come up with five foolproof outfits that prove dressing for a beach wedding isn't hard, especially when you have the right pieces. Even better, you can stuff the looks into a carry-on for an arsenal of winning wedding guest ensembles. (After all, everyone knows packing for a warm-weather vacation/wedding offers more suitcase space when you don't have to include heavy wintery items.) The ensembles below pull double-duty in every sense of the word and will keep the compliments rolling in. You can now sit back and relax while daydreaming about sipping on that delicious mai tai. See? Dressing for beach weddings can be effortless.
Laidback yet put-together, this wedding guest outfit is all about the details. A breezy linen dress prevents you from overheating under the sun as you watch your favorite couple say their "I dos." Tap into that seaside, boho vibe with emerald earrings and a pair of knitted slides. The accessories elevate the otherwise more casual dress.
Take a bold printed dress down a few style notches with some understated woven accessories like a hat and clutch (you don't want to overshadow the bride). The baroque pearl earrings lend itself to intrigue while kitten heel sandals will keep your feet comfortable all night long on the dance floor. Bonus: You can rewear any of the accessories to the pool or to that morning hangover brunch.
Keep cool by choosing light colors and fabrics, à la this pastel and paisley printed halter dress. (Does the pattern remind anyone else of sea anemone?) Remember, you don't have to go barefoot if you don't want to at a beach wedding. Opt for easy to slide on-and-off shoes like these sandals, which just so happens to match the color of the dress.
Weddings can encompass all-night (and the day after) festivities. Make transitioning from day-to-night easier with this midi-length dress and beach-inspired accessories like snail shell earrings and a clam shell clutch. The pops of metallic lend a bit of sparkle at night. If Ariel from Little Mermaid were attending a wedding, we'd dress her up in this.
Shop the Look: 1. Ulla Johnson dress, $595; 2. Scully & Scully earrings, $2,300; 3. Balenciaga Ccutch, $1,690; 4. Stella McCartney sandals, $695
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.