How to Choose Beach Wedding Dresses

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A beach atmosphere is relaxed and casual, and a beach wedding is no exception. This can be quite freeing when you are choosing your wedding dress. That's not to say your beach wedding has to be casual, but you can pretty much run the gamut on dress type for this occasion. You can go with anything from an off-the-rack sun dress to a formal custom-made wedding gown. But there are some things you need to keep in mind when choosing what to wear on your special day.

Things You'll Need

  • Bride magazines
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Do a little research. Most women have at least thought about what they would like for a wedding dress, and some have been dreaming about it since they were little girls. When you think of the perfect dress, what do you see? Get a few bridal magazines, a pen and some paper, and start taking notes. Write down some descriptive words about dresses that you like, such as slinky, romantic, flowing, lacy, simple, form-fitting, etc. Note the styles that you seem to gravitate toward, for example, A-line, ball gown, drop waisted, low-cut, etc. Tear out pictures of dresses that appeal to you and that you can envision being able to wear on a beach. Your final dress may not look anything like these dresses, but it's a good place to start.

  • Choose a formality level. You can base the formality of your wedding on your perfect wedding gown -- if you find the perfect dress and have to have it. However, it's probably easier to choose how formal the setting is going to be and buy a dress accordingly. A wedding featuring a sit-down lobster dinner has a completely different feel than a wedding featuring a clam bake picnic.

  • Choose a flattering fit. You want to feel like your most beautiful self, and to do that, you need a dress that you feel comfortable and confident in. You probably already know what types of dresses flatter you body type, so try to choose wedding dresses that fit your type. For example, if you're pear-shaped, A-line dresses tend to work well; fuller waisted ladies may prefer a drop-waisted dress; and those with fuller arms can use off-the-shoulder straps to hide their problem area.

  • Choose an appropriate material. There is at least one restriction when it comes to choosing a dress for a beach wedding. You have to be particular about material. Choose materials that are light, flowing and don't wrinkle. Stay away from thick, heavy materials such as velvet or brocade. Some materials to consider include crepe (thin, delicate and crinkly), charmeuse (soft and light with a slight sheen) and chiffon. Also consider fabric such as damaske, duchesse satin, batiste and illusion nets. These materials are light and will do well in the beach wind.

  • Consider the practicality of the dress. The beach is not a controlled environment, and you will have to contend with wind, walking in sand and posing near the water. Dresses with a large train may get caught up in the sand, and a long veil may become out of control with the wind. Some women opt for a shorter gown for a beach wedding dress so they can pose near the water and walk freely. And keep in mind your footwear, as well. You can opt to go barefoot, but if you choose shoes, choose something that will allow you to walk comfortably in the sand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Accessories for a beach wedding can range from flowers in the hair to long white beads. Choose something which fits your style.
  • If you are choosing an informal dress, try looking at bridesmaids dresses in white. You will be surprised at what beauties you can find and for a fraction of the price.
  • Be prepared for beautiful weather or stormy weather. Consider getting a parasol ready for the sun and an alternate location ready in case of rain.

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References

  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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