Weddings are often very formal events, calling for a certain level of fanciness in attire. The outdoor, beach, or backyard wedding, on the other hand, can be quite a bit less dressy in nature, and the usual wedding outfit may be too formal for a relaxed reception. This is what to wear to a casual wedding.
There are many things which can make a wedding informal, although they tend to be outdoors, small, or held in a non-traditional location. Casual weddings are typically daytime affairs, although some may carry on into the evening hours. When trying to determine what type of outfit is special enough for a wedding, yet appropriate for a casual celebration, it helps to take the particular location into account. The right attire for a beach wedding and one held in a state park might be somewhat different.
In general, women should plan to wear a skirt to a wedding. Even the most relaxed wedding is still a very special occasion, after all, and it should be treated as such. For instance, if one were invited to an afternoon wedding in a state park, a pretty outfit could consist of a knee length floral skirt and a sleeveless blouse. Simple handmade wedding jewelry and a pair of flat sandals will round out the look. For the men, a pair of khaki pants and a button down shirt without a tie would be appropriate. Remember that jeans are never dressy enough for a wedding, no matter how casual it happens to be.
For an informal beach wedding, a cheerful sundress would be fantastic. Look for a cotton shift dress with a summery print or a strapless cotton sundress. Knee length dresses are best for a casual wedding. There are special considerations for a beach wedding, chief among which is the need for shoes which can be worn on the sand. Forget the high heels and wear a pair of leather thong sandals instead. Save the plastic flip flops for another time, as they are not nice enough to wear to a wedding. Handmade coin pearl wedding jewelry is great for the beach. Add a wide brimmed hat if you tend to burn, and you will be ready to celebrate in style.
Men attending a casual beach wedding should aim for a low-key look that is still pulled together. A pair of khaki pants worn with a short sleeve button down shirt would work well. If the wedding is really informal, a golf shirt could also work. Only wear a Hawaiian print shirt if the wedding is actually in Hawaii! A preppy guy would look great wearing a pair of madras shorts with a long sleeve oxford shirt (with sleeves rolled up). There is no such thing as dressy sandals for men, so opt for a pair of boat shoes with your khakis or madras.
Some women wonder if they can wear shorts to a casual wedding. I would tend to advise against it. You would be far better off in a cute skirt and a sleeveless polo shirt if the wedding is super informal; shorts just do not look like you put in enough effort. In fact, that brings us to a key point: no matter how casual the wedding may be, a guest should always look as though they put in the effort to look nice for the event. With that in mind, you can put together a comfy, casual, and stylish outfit to wear to a casual wedding.