How to Describe the Dress Code for a Beach Wedding on an Invitation

by Barbie Carpenter ; Updated September 28, 2017

The bride and groom want their guests dressed appropriately for a beach wedding.

beach wedding image by chinatiger from Fotolia.com

Hosting a beach wedding means your guests will have to walk on sand and endure the elements during your ceremony. As such, they will want to wear attire that is both appropriate and functional. Include a dress code for your beach wedding on your invitation. In addition to easing your guests’ concerns, the dress code also allows you to ensure guests wear appropriate clothes. Some might interpret a beach theme literally and come in casual attire, while others might overlook the venue and dress too formally. Including the dress code on the invitation eliminates these problems.

Include a “semiformal” or “dressy casual” dress code on the invitation for the most formal beach weddings. This dress code calls for men to wear suits and women to wear cocktail-style dresses, according to The Knot. Note that this attire might be uncomfortable in the heat, so reserve this style for beach weddings during cooler months. In addition, guests might feel out of place in these outfits on the beach, so select a semiformal dress code only if your reception venue calls for it.

Use the wording “beach formal” for a moderately dressy beach wedding. By identifying the dress code as “beach formal,” you specify that guests can dress for the elements while maintaining an elegant and appropriately formal look, according to The Knot. Guests who follow this dress code would wear sundresses or light-colored or linen suits. This is the most common dress code for beach weddings, as it allows guests to be comfortable while looking appropriately well dressed for the event.

Choose a “casual” dress code for the most relaxed beach weddings. Women can wear casual sundresses or tank tops and skirts, and men can wear dress pants with button-down shirts. The risk of a casual dress code is that some guests might show up in shorts, but if you are comfortable with that relaxed attire, then this is the appropriate dress code for your beach wedding.

Include your chosen dress code in the lower-right corner of your invitation, according to the Wedding Channel. The website advises that "it’s only acceptable to mention the dress code in a reception invitation that does not mention the wedding ceremony."


  • Guests can get a sense of the dress expectations from your invitation, even if you do not clearly state it. A casual invitation calls for a more casual dress code, while a formal, engraved invitation implies a formal ceremony. So, make sure your invitation reflects the formality of your wedding.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.