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Some brides dream of a beach wedding for years, and others opt for oceanside nuptials at the spur of the moment. Whether you’re planning a simple Jersey Shore ceremony or an over-the-top event, snagging the perfect wedding gown can be as challenging as finding a spot on the beach on Memorial Day weekend. Start your search by keeping it elegant and easy, with a simple silhouette and understated details. Designers like Nicole Miller, BHLDN and Rime Arodaky (pictured above) all have simple beach-ready styles, so it’s easy to find just the right bridal gown. Accentuate these easy-breezy styles with unadorned sandals, or just go barefoot with a perfect pedicure. Here are our 10 no-fail tips for finding the perfect beach wedding dress: 1.) Keep the skirt simple. For your walk down the sandy aisle, choose a beach wedding gown with an uncomplicated skirt that won’t get stuck in the sand. Be mindful that a sandy beach is not the venue for mermaid skirts, trumpet gowns, full skirts covered in crystals or long trains. Save the fancy details for your bodice or waistline. These same tips apply to maids and moms.
2.) Avoid the bling. Stay away from intricate beading or lace details, especially near the hem of your beach wedding gown. (However, a bit of beading at or near the waistline can actually help hold down a chiffon skirt in the wind.) 3.) Choose fuss-free, flattering styles. Your best fabric choices will be flirty and feminine. Think cool silks and light chiffon, smart choices that will photograph beautifully when kissed by an ocean breeze. A-line and Grecian styles work well for oceanside events. Or try a long, ethereal beach wedding gown with thin layers of overlapping fabric that form a waterfall-like effect. If you expect a hot, humid day, consider a wedding dress with a halter top, sleeveless style or skinny spaghetti straps.
4.) Insist on wrinkle-free fabric. Whether you’re getting married down the Shore or on a destination beach, you’ll want a carefree wedding dress that’s easy to pack and easy to steam. Trust us—forgiving silks and satins are smarter choices than naturally wrinkled cottons and linens. 5.) Consider a short or ankle-length wedding gown. If your ceremony is casual or if it happens midday, it’s okay to go with a shorter hemline. This is a popular trend and many designers are now offering interesting shorter options. If you really want a floor-length dress, either put a runner in the sand or ask your maid of honor to hold the back of your train.
6.) Ditch the formal veil. Long veils can be heavy and cumbersome, so try a fun crystal hairpiece, short cage veil or fresh flowers in your hair. Keep your locks loose, or try a simple braid. Avoid an intricate up-do hairstyle, especially on a windy day. If you’re worried that your dress might be too simple, try experimenting with sparkly jewelry and hair accessories. 7.) Wear sensible shoes. Choose a gown that doesn’t require sequined or jewel-encrusted shoes because sand is destructive. Try a pretty sandal or go barefoot-—with a perfect pedicure.
8.) Choose sparkly accessories. For a beach wedding, anything that catches the sun will also catch the eye. Shiny crystals or diamonds are perfect accessories for a beach wedding gown, but just keep them away from your hemline. Another way to add sparkle is with earrings, necklace or jewelry tucked into your wedding bouquet. 9.) Dress your groom simply, too. Think seersucker, white bucks or leather sandals. Or just go with khakis and a freshly pressed cotton or linen shirt in white or pastel with a traditional or bow tie. If the forecast is for hot, humid weather, consider having a second wrinkle-free shirt for the groom to wear during the the reception.
10.) Expect the unexpected. The wedding party, as well as guests, should always be prepared with plenty of sunscreen for morning and afternoon weddings. Have a light shawl or wrap for chilly evening nuptials. Some couples also give female guests simple pashminas as welcome gifts. Follow these easy guidelines for a hassle-free wedding in the sand. And remember, if you’re still dreaming of an elaborate ballgown with train, perhaps the romantic notion of beach nuptials just isn’t going to play out for you in real life.
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