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A Wedding Guest’s Guide to Florida Wedding Attire

Sandy shores, sorbet skies and beach breezes — coastal weddings are a thing of beauty. Guests are excited by the prospect of a destination wedding. But discerning dress code from vacation wear can become a confusing task.

Wedding attire holds a level of formality, and your selection will differ depending on the weather, time of year and venue — especially when considering a beach theme.

Florida Formal

Florida heat will encourage a coastal-cool take on traditionally formal attire.

Floor-length elegance can translate in seeking a breathable silk slip dress, a lace jumpsuit or tulle empire-waist maxi dress. Block heels or wedges are appropriate and easier for navigating Florida terrain. Should the ceremony be on the beach, consider wearing a pair of flats and changing into heels once indoors. Accessories can add a dash of glamor — dress your look up with an eye-catching clutch, a statement necklace or teardrop earrings.

A tuxedo may appear overdressed for coastal-formal wear. A suit and bowtie or long-sleeved shirt and tie with a jacket and slacks are perfectly acceptable. When selecting fabrics, linen and seersucker combat the heat best. Men, too, can formalize, adding a pocket square, cufflinks and shined dress shoes.

Florida Semi-Formal or Cocktail

Photo courtesy of Irina Nikole

Maxi, midi and tea-length dresses are appropriate, as well as jumpsuits, suits, formal rompers or dressy separates. If you select a beach dress in a loose fabric and bright colors or prints, consider a longer length to avoid appearing too casual. Wedges, kitten heels, dressy sandals and nice flats are all good. Have some fun with beach-inspired accessories — coral jewelry or a raffia clutch.

Ties and bowties become optional for a semi-formal affair, but are still welcome accessories. A long-sleeved button down and slacks can pair with a blazer or sport coat to be worn for the ceremony and removed for the reception. Dress shoes or nice loafers work well for dressy to casual styles.

Florida Casual

Photo courtesy of Jessica Winkler

Sundresses of any length, breezy maxis, rompers or a nice top and skirt are often seen at casual beach weddings. Dress it up or down for footwear, but avoid underdressing with flip-flops. A chic sandal, espadrilles or platforms will offer comfort and style.

A nice short-sleeved button down or polo is permitted, tucked into chinos or khakis. A deck shoe or loafer will pair best for a casual look.

General Etiquette for Florida Wedding Attire

Photo courtesy of Jennifer G Photography

No matter the locale, it’s important to remember you’re there for more than vacation, you’re there for the wedding. When packing, be sure to consider more than flip flops, sneakers, cargo shorts and cotton fabrics. Plan your wedding-day look ahead of time. It’s better to overdress than underdress for the occasion.

If the wedding is outdoors, especially during peak sun hours, make sure to apply sunscreen beforehand. A nice sunhat is likely allowed, but be sure to remove it during the processional. Stash blotting papers, lipstick and a miniature hairspray in your bag for touch ups after being in the heat.

Seek breathable fabrics and lighter colors to avoid overheating in the Florida sun. Beach weddings typically allow for pastels, bright hues and whimsical prints. For men, avoid black suits and lean toward navy or khaki. The wedding’s color palette can be considered. And be sure to consult the time of year for anticipated weather.

Whatever you wear, ensure your look adds to the ambience and coastal aesthetic.

Feature photo courtesy of Jennifer G Photography

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