Dress to Impress: How to Get the Right Look for a Destination Wedding

A destination wedding is a popular and affordable choice for most couples who want to enjoy an exotic locale and the company of a smaller group of family and friends for the most special day of their lives. More people are exploring it as an affordable alternative to a large banquet type wedding at home, where family and friends can also enjoy a relaxing vacation celebrating with the married couple.

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While dressing for a beach wedding is relatively easy for women, it can present some questions for men who, if left to their own devices might appear in Bermuda shorts and a t-shirt rather than formal attire. Since no one wants to be the person who is undressed at a wedding, we’ve provided some tips and guidelines to help men and bridal parties can make the right apparel choices for a beach wedding.

The Classic Black Tie Option

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Browse through wedding pictures from destination weddings and one thing you will quickly notice is that the typical ‘black tie’ suit requirement is more of a guideline when it comes to a beach wedding. The reason is simple; black suits are hot and with most exotic destinations hovering near the 100° temperature mark or higher on a sunny day, relatives and groomsmen could quickly become overheated and uncomfortable.

That being said, some wedding parties prefer the black tie theme and formal structured suits. If your theme requires black tie suits, consider scheduling your nuptials for early morning or a dusk, sunset service to keep guests and the bridal party feeling comfortable and out of the hottest peak temperatures of the day. Pair a black suit with a breathable and lightweight tailored shirt underneath for additional comfort.

Tip: Unless your wedding is scheduled for dusk or dawn, avoid dark suits that have a canvas liner and explore one of the many more temperature appropriate fabrics for formal apparel. Not only does a classic lined suit have the ability to cause heat stroke on a hot summer day, dark colored fabrics conduct heat making the temperature feel even hotter.

The Linen Suit

Did you know that up until World War II upper-class Americans wore light to neutral shades of tailored suits? In fact, wearing a lighter colored suit was a sign of affluence as light colored fabrics were more expensive. Think about the glamour of the “Great Gatsby” era and some of the iconic styles of fitted men’s suits from that period. It was a timeless and classy look.

Linen fabrics are comfortable to wear and dry quickly, which makes them an ideal material for suits and formal wear in hot climates. Whether choosing a white linen classic or a tan or neutral suit, linen apparel is a perfect fit (and a stylish one) for men attending destination weddings. Also given the lightweight of linen materials, it is easy to roll up the gentleman’s pants to create a rolled cuff for more informal and fun group pictures.

Tip: To get a truly classic linen look, mix and match bright colors to create a Caribbean effect. Pair the white linen suit with an orange standard or madras tie for a debonair effect. Avoid pairing a linen undershirt with a linen jacket as the matching textures are not flattering. A linen suit looks best with a stiffened collar and a shirt that has been tailor fitted.

The Navy Double Breasted Suit

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If temperatures permit and the wedding party prefers a more formal and structured suit style, the nautical theme is appropriate for an ocean side destination wedding. Consider the combination of a high quality navy blue double-breasted suit with a white dress shirt and khaki or tan colored pants. Bridal parties can further the nautical theme with boutonnieres that incorporate the beach theme, including small shells, sea grass, small driftwood pieces and local tropical flowers. Bright white flowers against a crisp navy blue jacket helps to create an instant classic look.

Tip: Men’s made to measure suits create a structured, formal look even when paired with more casual neutral or khaki pants. Opt for a tailored and fitted jacket for the groom and each groomsman for a timeless formal look.

Button Vest and Shirt Options

If the weather is going to be hot but the attire for the wedding party needs to be formal, another option is to dispense with the suit jacket and have the groom and his friends wear a buttoned up vest that coordinates (or contrasts in a complimenting color) with tailored suit pants. This look is perfect for any man and any build and is a fun alternative to a full suit.

The button vest and shirt option works best with a long sleeved white shirt and a coordinating tie, offering the best of both worlds; a formal look with appropriate comfort. If it is going to be hot on the day of the wedding, the bridal party can also roll up the shirt sleeves after formal pictures for more personal and casual event photography castaway style!

Tip: One of the trending looks for men’s suits at destination weddings is the coordinated single breasted vest and pants, with a white shirt and white tie. Accent with a boutonniere that is also white for a classy and traditional look.

Shoes Optional

One of the best parts of a beach themed destination wedding is the shoe options available. Since walking on the sand with any kind of shoe except a flat sandal is precarious, most bridal parties opt to skip the footwear all together. Not only is this the most comfortable option for the party (as well as guests) but it also adds a whimsical touch to the wedding and makes for great casual photo opportunities.

Tip: Offer 1-2 large wicker baskets before entering the seating area. Guests can be instructed to “take off their shoes” and enjoy a barefoot beach wedding experience. Remember to schedule your wedding for early morning or dawn to avoid excessive temperatures and hot sand on bare feet. Your bridal party and guests will thank you.