Beach weddings have steadily increased in popularity in modern times and reflect a growing desire to individualise the wedding ceremony for the couple. A beach ceremony can range in size and style from a very formal, large affair to a small and casual gathering. Most beach weddings fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Because of the wide range of styles for these types of nuptials, the dress code, particularly for men, can be challenging to understand.
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Business suits and tuxedos, while fashionable and appropriate for most weddings, may prove to be too warm for a beach wedding, when temperatures may be in the 80s or higher. Men often choose to wear a more casual suit of a button-down shirt and trousers and no necktie. The shirt may have short or long sleeves, although men frequently roll long sleeves up the forearm, in deference to the casual nature of most beach weddings. Shorts may be acceptable for very casual weddings, but generally, trousers are a more acceptable choice.
Linen and cotton are popular fabric choices, due to their breathability. Linen is a particularly nice choice, as it is crisp and holds its shape well but allows the wearer to be more comfortable than in a traditional wool suit. Linen and cotton are both prone to wrinkling, so if the man chooses an outfit of either of these fabrics, iron it, and put it on right before the ceremony.
Colour choice for the groom depends on the colour scheme of the entire bridal party, although white, cream and ecru are popular choices. These colours reflect the natural beauty inherent in the beach environment. Other choices may include brighter, more tropical colours and even Hawaiian-style floral print shirts. Male guests should strive not to make themselves too noticeable by wearing, for example, a bright coloured shirt, while everyone else is wearing neutral colours.
Since beach weddings will most likely take place on sandy surfaces, unless the couple offers a platform or chooses a rock beach, footwear becomes a serious consideration. Dress shoes that men normally wear with a suit could cause a great deal of discomfort if they fill with sand. Many men choose to wear sandals or canvas deck shoes as an alternative. Be sure that your sandals coordinate with the rest of your outfit, both in colour and style. Another alternative, if the beach sand is smooth and free of debris, is to go without shoes altogether, although for some weddings this may prove to be too casual.
If invited to a beach wedding, it is acceptable to contact the engaged couple to find out if there is a dress code. If wearing sandals, be sure that your feet are well groomed. Storms are common on beaches and can arise very quickly. You may want to take an umbrella just in case. Wind is also a frequent occurrence at beach weddings, and a thin windbreaker-style jacket may prevent chills if the wind begins to blow.
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