You may think of a wedding as a fancy affair, but many couples opt for a more casual occasion. Settings like the beach or a residential backyard let couples keep things simple and guests be more comfortable. Forego the suit and tie or cocktail dress for a light and breezy look to fit the event. Just remember to add some charm to your easy-breezy ensemble with fun prints and accessories. Take invitation wording, location and timing into consideration when crafting your casual wedding-guest look.
Women's Backyard Wedding Attire
Backyard weddings are typically held at the home of a friend or family member of the wedding couple, making it a more casual setting. You'll likely be walking through grass, so choose your footwear wisely. Avoid spike heels and pumps and try patent-leather ballet flats or wedge heels. Team a cotton jersey blouse or tank with a statement necklace and A-line skirt. Use fabric choices and accessories to dress-up your look for an evening backyard wedding. Go for a slightly heavier fabric, like a thick, cotton blend knit dress and add an armful of bangles.
Men's Backyard Wedding Attire
You may find wording like casual or semi-casual on an invitation to a backyard wedding. Either way, don't go too laid-back by wearing denim jeans. This casual dress code can also vary depending on the time of day. For lunchtime weddings, pair twill shorts or slacks with a button-down shirt and loafers. Look a little more dressed-up for evening weddings by sticking with a black, navy blue or dark gray pant. Balance the look with a lightweight cotton button-down shirt in sky blue or a light lavender. You can also opt for a solid crew or V-neck cotton T-shirt underneath a sport coat or blazer.
Women's Beach Wedding Attire
Beachside nuptials generally begin in the mid-afternoon with cocktail hour around sunset. Sandals are a functional option for walking through sand -- just stay away from rubber flip-flops, as they are too casual. Keep a light jacket or cardigan on hand to transition to evening. Sundresses are a feminine and comfortable choice with anywhere from a mid-thigh to floor-length hemline. Punchy hues and floral prints enhance the outdoor vibe, while embellished sandals add a fancy touch. You can also go for a linen dress with a shorter hemline and add sparkling jewelry like drop earrings. If you love to wear heels, try an espadrille wedge sandal.
Men's Beach Wedding Attire
This beach or Hawaiian casual dress code calls for light fabrics and slip-on shoes or sandals. Since destination weddings are often day-to-night events, bring a light linen blazer to make the transition an easy one. Sport twill or linen shorts in khaki or gray paired with a collared shirt for day, or rock a pair of lightweight trousers for weddings that start closer to sunset. Short sleeves are great for warm beach weater -- choose a patterned button-up or cotton polo. Opt for boat shoes, canvas tennis shoes or sandals to finish the look.
Marie Sporich is a SoCal native, classical ballerina and devoted Yogi. She holds an A.A. in product development and B.S. in business management from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She has spent nearly 10 years in retail, is a published writer and certified wedding planner.