Tying the knot on sandy shores makes for a cracking option – it’s more relaxed, casual, fun, and not least because it gives the men of the hour the freedom to forget the stuffy, traditional wedding get-up and recite those all-important vows with the summer wind flowing through their pampered locks (‘because you’re worth it’). But you still need to keep in mind a few essentials, from etiquette and practicality to the all-important task of keeping grains from where the sun doesn’t shine… So a brief run-down on Team Groom’s beach wedding attire.
Beach wedding attire – the basics
First up when it comes to surf-side nuptials – ditch the top hat and tails. There’s a time and place for your traditional English clobber, and this isn’t it. Granted it’d keep the sand and Team Groom’s delicates apart in sterling sartorial style but you’d also look bloody ridiculous to boot. That being said, beachside affair or not, it’s still your wedding day, so speedos aren’t exactly going to cut it either. Ideally you’re looking for a solid balance of comfort, style, practicality and that all-important injection of wedding day etiquette. Get it right and you should be able to work some dapper threads into the occasion without melting in the midday sun. Or blinding the front row with a showing of Hawaii’s gaudiest.
Groom beach attire – getting it right
As a general rule it’s handy to keep a few things in mind:
- The bride’s outfit / theme – as ever with matters of matrimonial garb, your lovely lady takes top spot, so it’s important to either match or complement her outfit on both style and tone: if she’s opted for a top dollar gown, you’ll need to keep to a formal theme. Likewise, if she’s gone for casual and barefoot, you’re not going to need your size nine lace-ups.
- Team Groom – whether it’s buttonholes, ties or shirt colour, you’ll still need your rag-tag bunch to be coordinated and easily identifiable.
- The setting – solid surface vs sand, beach vs promenade, pier, gazebo, pirate ship… The exact location will dictate the overall tone and practical implications of your wedding get-up.
- The climate / time of day – unless you’ve opted for Bournemouth’s sandy shores, in which case we’d suggest taking everything from shorts and shades to wellies and an umbrella, you’re more than likely looking at fantastically warm weather (lucky sod), so cool comfy clobber leads the way. But be aware you’ll need to factor in both climate (humid and sticky vs dry and breezy), and time of day (glaring midday sun, or a cooler evening affair?), so it’s worth doing your homework on this one. The Met Office provides a top notch guide to climate, humidity and forecasts across the globe.
Which materials work best?
Fear not worried sirs of groom-kind, we’re not about to launch into a full-on seamstress offensive but beach weddings naturally offer a much greater range and flexibility on attire for the man of the hour, so it pays to have at least some idea of the basics before heading out. We’ll keep it brief:
Breathability – short story? You want your garb to have it. Tight heavy fabric, sunny climes and an already nervous groom don’t make for a comfortable picture. Or a particularly dry one come to that. You need a breathable material that allows air and moisture (yes, sweat) to easily pass through and escape the clothing, instead of leaving you looking like you’ve had a pre-wedding dunk in the Pacific. Got it?
So, common sartorial options up for selection:
Linen and cotton – are without doubt your two best options. They’re brilliantly lightweight and score full marks as breathable fabrics. Not convinced on a linen suit?
“Linen isn’t geezer gear anymore! It’s been modernized, internationalized, had the stuffiness sucked out of it. If this suit was built for anything, it was built for a big summer event like a wedding” —Jim Moore, GQ Creative Director
Wool – the most formal of the bunch, and we’re really only looking at the lightweight variety here. Opt for a full-on heavy wool ensemble and you’re back in ocean dunking territory. Even the lighter variety can sit heavy in the summer sun, so more suited to a cooler evening ceremony.
Seersucker – nope, we didn’t really have a clue either. But we’re talking a lightweight cotton suit option with a permanently wrinkled look (nothing new there). ‘The closer the pucker in the cotton, the smarter seersucker looks’, according to Esquire. We’ll take their word on that one. Definitely more popular across the pond, but seems to be making its mark on Blighty’s fair shores, so an option if you want to head away from the mainstream. Check out GQ’s guide to seersucker for the full gen on the preppy offering.
Silk – we’re only really including this one on a ‘you really don’t want to do that’ basis. Silk doesn’t let moisture escape. No sir. It clings on for all its worth. And mostly to you. Nice.
Lycra – noooooooooooooo! No, really, you weren’t expecting an okay on this…. were you?
The lighter the better. Popular choices include beige, khaki, pale grey, pale blue and white – although we’d readily suggest saving white for shirts only, unless you’re on for a Night Fever mega-mix (each to their disco lovin’ own).
Which style works best for a beach wedding?
Completely up to you. Whether you want a smart, formal affair or a ‘totally awesome’ occasion, as long as you keep in line with the overall tone and theme of the wedding as a whole you’re onto a winner. The most popular options:
Formal – smart but comfy three piece linen suit leads the way as crowd favourite. Team with a tie and loafers if you’re on for a really dapper event, or go open collar and flip-flops if your style’s more relaxed. The waistcoat adds a smart touch if you opt to ditch the jacket, but GoGroom’s top tip would be to keep it handy, especially if you’re on for an evening ‘do’, when coastal weather can swiftly turn cooler.
Semi-formal – trousers and a crisp white shirt make for a cracking option to bridge the gap between formal and casual. Use the fit and accessories wisely and you can tip the ensemble either way.
Casual – this one’s down to you. How casual are you going? Team your trousers with a baggier shirt and flip-flops for a dapper but casual result. Go for beige board length shorts and a shirt for a more comfy vibe. And hell, it’s your wedding day, if you want the full-on Hawaiian effect, t’interweb’s absolutely choc-a-block with mind-boggling results.
Don’t forget to check the fit of your outfit here though. Yes, the beach makes for a much more relaxed feel to the event, but you still want to add a touch of dash and dare rather than the ‘rolled out of bed and grabbed the closest thing to hand’ look, so if you choose a more formal outfit it’s advisable to go for a well-fitted shirt. Check out Moss Bros’ guide to getting it right.
Useful online resources:
Hire or buy?
Beach wedding attire doesn’t generally leave the same kind of dent in the matrimonial budget as the top and tails brigade, so it’s certainly feasible to buy your get-up outright on this one, with a massive selection both online and in the high street. That being said there’s always the option to hire but make sure you get a heads-up on the terms and conditions – while a selection of suppliers offer extended periods of hire specifically for couples getting hitched abroad, not all of them will take kindly to you carting their threads half way around the world. And with a pretty swift period of return your best man might well have his work cut out hightailing it back to Blighty to get them back in time.
What about footwear?
Your choice again. Depending on the theme of the day, anything goes: loafers, flip-flops, leather sandals (although tread carefully on this one, not many blokes can make these look good) or even barefoot. Keep in mind that sand can get ruddy hot though, and bloody hilarious though it might be for your mates to watch you hopping through your nuptials, we’re pretty sure your new missus won’t appreciate the performance.
As for socks? No.
Absolutely. Pre and post ceremony, grab your Ray Bans and do your worst. But when it’s time to recite those all-important vows make sure you hand your shades to your right hand man. Your bride wants to stare into your eyes. Not at her reflection. Well, ok, maybe just to check…. but then it’s you all the way.
Groom beachwear…. Just NO!
Just because the knot’s been tied there’s no reason to let it all hang loose. We’re all about the teamwork at GoGroom, so a few pointers for your post-wedding beachwear:
Top Summer Style Faux Pas, according to a recent poll by Swimwear365
1) Socks and sandals
2) Streaky fake tan
3) Swimwear that’s too small
4) Beer belly
5) Union Jack shorts
7) Dodgy tan lines
8) Heavy make-up on the beach
9) Skirt tucked into knickers (if this is you…. just stop)
10) Peeling sunburn
Plese note: we’re pretty sure the poll was taken before single-sided thongs (almost) started landing on daring/questionable/insane bods across mankind. So our amended recommendation for the top three would be as follows:
And finally, don’t forget….
If we could offer you only one tip for your surf-side matrimonial adventures (er… aside from, you know, the rest of the stuff on the page), sunscreen would be it.
Seriously, unless you’re partial to a fetching red glow, post-nuptial case of sunstroke and buckets of aftersun as your marital liquid of choice it’s worth remembering to whip out the old suntan lotion. The maths is simple on this one: Groom + heatstroke = bad. Bright red groom + disgruntled bride + dodgy photos = worse.