Let me set the scene for you: At any given moment, an editor’s phone, Slack, or DMs will light up with a little notification. Questions about which trends are worth adopting for the summer, if buying from the newest rising brand is worth it, and general style inquiries are typically what’s poppin’ off in terms of conversations. While being your friends and family’s fashion confidante may seem like a lot, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying advising my friends about what to add to their shopping list or how to pack for a trip. For better or worse, I’ve trained the people in my circle to think of me as their personal stylist. So it was only natural that when my best friend, Cassidy, was invited to attend a beach wedding in Mexico, she FaceTimed me immediately to plan the looks.
Over the span of four weeks, I sent Cassidy recommendations and styling tips and shopped with her on FaceTime while she scoured through Zara, looking for the best pieces to complete her vacation looks. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend on call, but as an editor, I know there are tons of women who need inspiration for packing for a destination wedding. In that vein, I’ve broken down the looks Cassidy and I created together, followed by a roundup of the best beach wedding guest dresses to shop for your upcoming event. The key to being the best-dressed guest at the ceremony lies ahead.
When attending a beach wedding as a guest, it’s essential to pack strategically so you don’t overdo it. With Cassidy, we knew she would be there for five days and four nights, so we made a list of what she would be wearing each day. Then, we scanned her closet and made a list of the missing pieces she’d need to shop for based on what she already owned. We landed on her packing four daytime looks—one reception outfit, a dress for the wedding ceremony on the beach, and two tropical ’fits—and five swimsuits so she’d have options. Choosing versatile pieces that can be styled in at least three ways is the key to packing right and light.
For the first look, we went for a laid-back but polished, tropical vibe. Pairing a fun printed halter top with Bermuda shorts and slides is the perfect outfit to wear during the day before any of the prenuptial engagements. This is a no-fail look, as it’s great for meeting the bride’s extended family, lounging under the cabana, or enjoying margaritas with the bridal party.
Securing the perfect dress for the reception and the beach wedding ceremony is essential, but Cassidy started shopping for the swimsuits long before anything else. She ended up ignoring my advice to travel light and packing five suits and only wearing three. (Yes, I needed to include the stats for the receipts.) With help from me and Klarna’s pay-later system, she invested in some great swimsuits, her favorite being the Frankies Bikinis one-piece suit in the trendiest retro floral print, which she paired with some jewelry and sunglasses.
WEAR: Martha Calvo Earrings; Louis Vuitton necklace; Verge Girl Dress; Telfar White Shopping Tote ($150); Zara Sandals
We wanted a fun, bright dress for the rehearsal dinner. Together, we landed on this yellow, retro-print knit dress, which we paired with gold jewelry, green sandals, and Cassidy’s white Telfar bag. Opting for a bold dress and accessories is the perfect way to reflect your excitement and celebration for the happy couple—in outfit form, at least.
After planning all the fun daytime looks, we got down to the most critical outfit of all: the dress for the wedding ceremony on the beach. Typically, light linens are favored by the beach, but anything in the white-to-cream color range is a no-go when it comes to attending a wedding (unless the bride says otherwise). With that in mind, we spent a few weeks sending dress ideas for the ceremony back and forth until Staud announced its sample sale. Cassidy scooped up a few bags, shoes, and her tropical-print halter top and maxi skirt that look like a dress to wear during the ceremony. Opting for a bold, ocean-printed set may not be everyone’s thing, but it earned Cassidy compliments on compliments, which is proof that, with a bit of planning and an editor for a best friend, you can be the best-dressed guest at the wedding.
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Whether you wear this dress to the reception dinner or the ceremony itself, you’ll be sure to rake in compliments.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.