Advice: What to wear to a Florida beach wedding?

(Note: I’ve decided to switch up the order of my weekend posts.  Shopping posts will now be on Sundays, while Shoe Lust and other topics will be on Saturdays)

Caranday Dress by Anthropologie (no longer available online)

One of my readers, Elizabeth, sent me a question about appropriate accessories for a Florida wedding, and I thought that my advice could be useful to others attending spring weddings in warm climates.


I have a Florida specific style question I thought you could help me out with. I’m attending a wedding with my boyfriend in Jacksonville in late April. All of his best friends from high school and college will be there (most of whom I’ve never met) and I’d like to make a good impression. However, I have very little idea what sort of wedding this will be and don’t know any other women attending that I can ask. I bought the Caranday Dress on super sale at Anthropologie after Christmas and plan on wearing that (see above).   The sash is attached and a dark gray color. There is enough length to tie it either in the front or the back). I was wondering if you could give me some insider information on Florida trends/weather that would help me know what accessories to add. Will it be too hot for tights? Should I bring a sweater or shawl as a cover up? Are flats okay for an evening wedding with a plated dinner? I’m also hoping not to have to spend too much money on this though I have been wanting a pair of gray shoes anyway. Help!


The first step I had Elizabeth take was to check the wedding’s website.  Often nowadays the bride and groom will set up a website or blog with information about the wedding, including location, appropriate dress, etc.  We found out that the ceremony will be on the beach, and the reception will be a plated dinner at an outdoor area of a restaurant within walking distance of the ceremony.

The dress that Elizabeth bought is gorgeous, and I think that it will be just fine.  Floridians tend to be pretty casual in general, and I think that this dress is dressy enough for a beach wedding without going over the top.  The weather here can be a bit unpredictable, but more than likely it will be too warm for tights by April.  Honestly it’s been too warm in the past week, and usually by April we’re in full-on Spring, almost Summer.  Generally temps tend to be in the 60s, 70s  and sometimes 80s in April, although the weather is always unpredictable.  Micro-fishnets or lace tights might work for an April wedding, but they probably won’t be necessary, and I wouldn’t recommend legwear any warmer than that.

Since the wedding is in the evening, it would be a good idea to bring a shawl or light, cropped cardigan to keep your shoulders warm.  Everything is outdoors, so you won’t have to worry about frigid air-conditioning.  Night-time at the beach often means a light sea-breeze, which can be a bit chilly.

A basic pashmina in a coordinating color (or contrasting for a bit of fun!) would be lovely.  A light cotton cardigan would also be wonderful for keeping shoulders warm.  Stick with a cropped length, because they are generally more flattering with dresses than longer lengths.

Favourite Cropped Cardigan, Boden, $58

I would say that it’s better to have some kind of heel or wedge since this is an evening wedding.  You can get away with flat strappy sandals at a beach wedding, but having a slight heel looks a bit dressier.  Since the wedding is on the beach, a chunky heel or a wedge is best.  Beach sand is pretty soft, and thin heels will sink in.  Also, avoid suede, because it is possible that the sand might be wet.  Wearing shoes with a strappy design and an open toe is a good idea, because it is inevitable that sand will get in your shoes, and wearing a more open shoe makes it easier to get the sand out.  It’s also good if the shoe is easy to take on and off, because it’s possible that some people may go barefoot for the ceremony.

Basically any comfortable, wedge sandal in white, grey or silver should work fine.  Strappy sandals are always popular in Florida, and I think that they can look a bit dressier than other varieties of shoes for this occasion.

Dansko Sissy Sandal in White $66.24 on Amazon (on sale)

indigo by Clarks Plover Sandal in Steel Blue $99.95 on Amazon (on sale)

For other accessories, I would recommend some elegant, understated jewelry such as a strand of pearls and some light silver bangles.  Add a simple clutch to all this, and the outfit would be all set for a lovely Florida beach wedding.

Scarlatti Sonata Pearl Necklace  $38 (on sale)

Coryell Design

Bangle Trio Set  $36

Jill Popowich Designs

Vintage Wicker Lesco Lona Handbag   $25

Ancestor Vintage

Have you ever been to a beach wedding?  What did you wear?


About Diana

Style maven, knitter, crafter, seamstress, one who does not walk the beaten path.
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7 Responses to Advice: What to wear to a Florida beach wedding?

  1. Christy S says:

    Such nice choices. We went to a wedding on St. Pete beach a couple of years ago. The bridal party started in jeweled flip flops, but eventually went barefoot for the actual ceremony. It was very warm, so sundresses worked just fine. And, of course, sandals. The reception was in one of the hotels, but it was a beach hotel, so the casual dressiness worked well. I concur with your advice to Elizabeth. I do suggest, however, bare legs for a beach wedding.


  2. Tracy says:

    I am completely, totally, fully in the “flats are okay” camp. If there’s any chance you may be walking on sand, you’ll wish you were wearing flats. Maybe it comes from having a boyfriend who is only 1-2″ taller than me, but I haven’t worn heels in several years, and yet I’ve attended several dressy weddings, gone on a whole bunch of job interviews, and done all of the other things that you’re only supposed to be able to do in heels with no problem.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Slow DOES NOT EQUAL inexperienced! =-.


  3. Shybiker says:

    Smart choices! Really.

    You could charge for advice this sage. 🙂


  4. I was lucky enough to get invited to a beach wedding in St. Thomas last year. I wore a pretty maxi dress in a wrinkle-resistant knit (always a plus for weddings involving travel: why spend your time ironing when you could be enjoying the lovely surroundings?), a little cap-sleeve shrug because I had it pounded into my head at a quite young age that bare shoulders at a religious ceremony were Not OK, chunky-heeled sandals (just about everyone slipped off their shoes before going onto the beach proper) and simple jewelry.

    It was a blast! The most important thing at a wedding is to be comfortable enough in whatever it is you’re wearing that you can have a great time celebrating your friends’ special day.
    .-= fashiontheorist´s last blog ..Link-tastic! 19 March 2010 =-.


  5. Kate says:

    I love this post! The Indigo by Clarks sandals are my favorite – LOVE the shape and color!

    If I were wearing that dress, I’d probably pair it with a lacy white stole/pashmina, to tone down the bold stripyness a bit. Though I think it would be lovely with that cardigan, too, worn loose and open 🙂


  6. Kristin says:

    That’s the thing about FLA. We get to wear legwear for very few months. Sigh.


  7. My first choice would be,without a second thought,maxi dress and wedge.I have an experience of beach wedding where i wore high hell and got sink in sand.It was really difficult to move around in high heels.After that i decided that i would wear something like strapping instead of wearing sleek,stylish heels.Thanks for your blog .


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