What shoes should a guest wear to a beach wedding? This is the question asked by one of our readers, Nicola. She wondered exactly what we’ve all thought about at one time or another after receiving an invitation in the mail.
What am I going to wear?
And what shoes should go with it?!
For attire, beach wedding guest dresses are fairly casual, breezy, and informal: here’s a guide to help. As far as what kind of shoes to wear as a guest, that’s where we come in to help!
For beach wedding shoes, many guests start to second-guess themselves when picking out the right shoes to wear. Do you have to wear a heel? NO! Do you have to wear fancy shoes? Well, it depends, but probably not. It’s OK to be semi-comfortable at a beach wedding; the formality of your shoes, provided they’re nice enough for a wedding but not too fancy for the occasion, should be taken into consideration. As a rule of thumb, pick out shoes for a beach wedding that coordinate with your attire in formality AND are easy to walk in: on sand, reeds, along boardwalks, shoreline, etc. You never know what to expect for the terrain at a beach wedding, so flat shoes, sandals, wedges, etc. are just a few of the beach wedding shoes guests should consider.
To help you on your quest for the perfect beach shoes as a guest, we’ve rounded up our favorite tried-and-true suggestions. Here are some tips and options to consider when you’re picking out beach shoes as a guest at a wedding. I think you’ll like the ideas we’ve come up with and I hope it helps as you dress the part for the upcoming beach wedding. :)
P.S. Looking for beach wedding shoes for the bride? Read: 24 Beach Wedding Shoes That Will Make Brides Happy.
Beach Wedding Shoes for Guests
So, what should a beach wedding guest wear to the ceremony and reception on their feet? As a rule of thumb, you should wear shoes or sandals that are:
1) Sand-friendly, so you don’t trip or have trouble walking in sand
If you need to, wear them in a bit and try these helpful tips BEFORE the big day
3) Casual, yet dressed “up” enough for the occasion
Wondering what to call beach wedding attire? Some people refer to it as “beach dressy” or “beach semi-formal”. Consider this to mean the same kind of attire you’d wear to a nice dinner at a restaurant in the evening (but dress for the weather!)
As a tip, wedding guest shoes at a beach wedding can be any color. However, as a rule of thumb, you’ll want to dress in bright colors for a beach wedding and avoid netural shades, black, or grey. No jeans/ And nothing too low-cut or short; you’re still at a wedding, not quite ready to take a dip just yet! :)
Now that we have some beach wedding attire tips out of the way, let’s talk about shoes! These are the best etiquette tips for what to wear on the beach as a wedding guest.
If you want to go barefoot but LOOK LIKE you’re wearing shoes, here’s a great alternative: barefoot sandals. Yes, it’s all the glam of a sandal but without the sole. Barefoot sandals are great for walking on the beach, skipping along the shoreline, vacationing, dancing the night away, etc. Barefoot sandals are especially popular for brides to wear, but also a big trend for guests.
Nelipots offers a beautiful collection of handmade barefoot sandals, like these shown below.
TIP: Make sure you bring a pair of flats like these along, just in case the reception is indoors. It counts as “no shoes” and many venues are strict on the policy of making guests wear shoes for safety reasons. :) But, outdoors on the sand? They are the BEST shoes to wear to a beach wedding!
A pair of espadrilles are perfect for wearing on the sand. These shoes are made of a durable cotton canvas natural rubber, and if you spring for the wedge espadrilles shown here, they also have a jute sole to make it easier to walk on sand. (You can even make custom espadrilles now, did you know that? I just found out a few weeks back!)
These flat espadrilles are handmade and available in many colors; I love the wrap-around ankle detail! By LasMediterraneas.
Here is one pair as an example (by Viscata):
I love them in pink with a hint of crochet! There are many colors from which to choose here.
Prefer a flat? There’s an espadrille for that! In fact, flats are the primary style of espadrille shoes which are perfect to wear on the beach. Pick a color that will coordinate with your dress. Also by Viscata.
With either style you choose for these beach shoes, you’ll find one thing in common: a closed-toe style. This is great because it keeps your toes protected from getting stuck on sand or in reeds; it’s also easier for walking on boardwalks and aisle runners. As a secret bonus, if your pedicure isn’t quite beach-ready, it’ll hide your toes. Sometimes, even the best intentions of nice always-pedicured feet are harder to do in the summer, thanks to chlorinated pools, lots of swimming, gritty sand wearing away the finish on your polish, saltwater, camping, etc. Hey, it happens! :)
If you want to wear heels to a beach wedding as a guest, do it! Just be careful you don’t pick something too high and be mindful the heel might get caught in sand, dirt, gravel, grass, etc. If you want to avoid this worry, yet you still want a high-heel, try a block heel.
This pair of Loeffler Randall heels are one suggestion. These remind me of crepe paper! So pretty!
Or these metallic low block heels, also by Loeffler Randall:
Can you beat a classic pair of huaraches?! These are handmade which makes them even more amazing for the beach! By TradicionAutentica.
Flats are an obvious, easy, comfortable choice for wedding guests to wear at a beach wedding. Make sure you wear ’em in very well so you don’t get that annoying back-of-heel pain that happens on a fresh pair of flats. These are handmade by YuliaNadeeva and are a beautiful option for flats. I love the soft shades, like this pink pair or the soft blue. Oh, plus, in velvet? Yes, please!
TIP: For flats you can wear anywhere, travel, dance the night away, etc., see: Where to Buy Luggage Tag Favors in Bulk/
Flat sandals are undoubtedly the easiest thing to wear on your feet as a beach wedding guest. It’s nice to have a pair of sandals to wear to the ceremony and reception, but then again anytime on vacation, to a resort, the pool, etc. These sandals are available in neutral shades, but also bright pops of color… loving the sunny yellow and pretty pink especially! Here’s a collection you might enjoy by Sam Edelman:
If you’re not as good at flipping and flopping, but you like a sandal, try on these elastic flats instead. They’re great for staying put, providing comfort and style… and they’re completely versatile. This pair of flat elastic sandals are one option; by Trary.
And you can’t go wrong with a classic leather t-strap sandal. Here’s one example (also by Trary):
If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, yet still beach-friendly, try these Dream Pairs flat rhinestone sandals. They are cute and wildly affordable (under $30!)
We briefly mentioned wedges with the espadrilles earlier. Here’s a great tip: if you’re going to wear a wedge, make sure the heel height isn’t so high that you’re toppling over. The best kind of wedge for walking on sand is a low wedge with a T-strap, which will provide you with more ankle support.
Here’s one example (by Kenneth Cole).
As another option, try these higher — yet still low wedges — with a metallic color and glamorous style. By Dream Pairs.
Boat Shoes + Sandals for Men
What do guys wear to a beach wedding? Great question.
For men, boat shoes are definitely the best shoes to wear on the beach. A pair of clean, not-too-worn sneakers or boat shoes — like these popular grey Reef shoes — are a nice choice. The key to what men should wear to a beach wedding — for shoes — depends on what kind of outfit they’re wearing, what color it is, and how formal it is. You’ll want to pick a pair of shoes that aren’t beat-up: a pair of sandals on its last legs aren’t the type of shoes you should wear to a wedding, no matter how informal it may be. However, picking up a new pair of leather sandals or boat shoes will be a great accessory to wear and you’ll get plenty of use out of them after the wedding.
Boat shoes like these, in a variety of colors and styles, are comfortable, stylish, and they’re beach-friendly with a casual look. They also pair easily with a nice pair of summer khakis or shorts. These are great shoes for guests to wear to a beach wedding.
For a step slightly more formal — yet still definitely perfect for a beach or nautical wedding — you’ll never go wrong with a pair of leather boat shoes like these classic shoes by Sperry. They are supremely high-rated and comfortable, stylish, and very versatile.
If you want to wear men’s sandals on the beach, try a pair of leather flip flops and make trim those toenails. :) By Reef. You can wear any kind of sandals you’d like: just make sure they’re comfortable, easy to walk in, and won’t bust or break mid-party. I once was at a mall and my flip flop literally blew out. Let’s just say it’s not that much fun to walk around anywhere with one shoe that won’t cooperate. :) (I guess Jimmy Buffet was right when he said he blew out a flip flop!)
In conclusion, you can wear any kind of shoes you’re most comfortable wearing on the sand as a guest at a beach wedding. Since a beach wedding is typically less formal, you can be assured that any pair of dressy sandals, leather sandals, flats, wedges, or heels will work great! If you’re not sure the beach wedding shoes you’re wearing as a guest are going to be just right, just keep a spare pair in your clutch.
TELL US: What kind of shoes will YOU wear as a guest at a beach wedding? Which pair is your favorite? I’ve done enough talking about espadrilles, it’s time for me to grab a pair already! I think the wedges are super-cute, too. Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below.
I hope it helps and thanks so much for writing!