Beach Wedding Dresses for a Dreamy Ceremony by the Sea

Celebrating one's nuptials by the sea provides ample opportunity to choose from an array of effortlessly chic bridal gowns. Luckily, there are nearly as many alternatives to the traditional ball gown as there are grains of sands on the beach. More casual beach wedding dresses make use of sheer panels, openwork lace and ruffles. Simple beach wedding dresses include those with midi lengths that feel easygoing, yet sophisticated. Boho wedding dresses are another choice: romantic and dreamy like a tropical island. Meanwhile, short beach wedding dresses feel cheerily free-spirited while providing wedding-friendly frills.

Look for lightweight materials for your beachfront or destination wedding dress. Silk, cotton blends, crochet, chiffon and lace make for breezy beach dresses. While not explicitly bridal, many white or ivory cocktail dresses will work wonders in a beach wedding, plus they can be worn afterward on the honeymoon. Below, check out 15 alternatives to the heavily embellished wedding gown that instead are easy, breezy and downright gorgeous. Post-wedding, you can relax poolside, confident you were a thoroughly beachy bride.

Beach Wedding Dresses for a Ceremony by the Sea
Beach Wedding Dresses Tadashi Shoji Placid Gown photo

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Tadashi Shoji Placid Gown

A bride clad in this effortless lace gown from Tadashi Shoji will appreciate its boho beauty. Ladder insets run the length of this gown, drawing the eye to its long, vertical lines. The plunging v-neckline finishes in a defined waist. We love the romantic whimsy of the ruffled sleeves and floral lace. The skirt is slim, but the front slit guarantees comfort and ease of motion; it finishes with a subtle train. This is an incredibly flattering dress that looks gorgeous on many different figures. ($650; bhldn.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses ML Monique Lhuillier Cap-Sleeve Ruffled Lace Gown photo

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ML Monique Lhuillier Cap-Sleeve Ruffled Lace Gown

This '70s-style lace gown by Monique Lhuillier would be a serendipitous choice for a beach-bound bride: It's crafted from lace that's woven into a subtle wave pattern. The sweet capped sleeves and round neckline bring an innocence to this gown, making it perfect for an unspoiled beach setting. The sheer lace panels float over a stretch lining, ensuring the ease of motion that is so important for a beach wedding. We love the romantic details of the ribbon waist tie and ruffled hem. ($179; saksfifthavenue.com)


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Willowby Asa Sleeveless Lace & Tulle A-Line Gown photo

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Willowby Asa Sleeveless Lace & Tulle A-Line Gown

A fitted bodice gives way to a flowing skirt in this alluring gown from Willowby. The delicate floral lace is placed over sheer tulle, giving the illusion of revealing while concealing. The tulle inset brings a hint of modesty to the deeply plunging neckline. Sexy yet romantic, this gossamer gown is flowy and breathable with a deeply scooped back that invites island breezes. ($1,500; nordstrom.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Tadashi Shoji Alexia Tiered Lace Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dress photo

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Tadashi Shoji Alexia Tiered Lace Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dress

This boho maxi dress by Tadashi Shoji is the picture of ease with its alternating tiers of crochet lace and chiffon. Coyly romantic, this gown also has a '70s vibe with its elegantly draping off-the-shoulder ruffle. The sheath silhouette of this beachy wedding gown is slimming, and the flouncy tiers add movement, especially when they catch the tradewinds of some exotic locale. ($588; davidsbridal.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses ML Monique Lhuillier Floral Lace Dress photo

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ML Monique Lhuillier Floral Lace Dress

This designer beach wedding dress from Monique Lhuillier captures oceanic vibes. We love the alternating panels of lace: Some panels feature an openwork design, while the others feature opaque floral embroidery. Lightweight and sleeveless, this dress will keep you cool even if you're celebrating close to the equator, plus the demure midi length will allow your beachy bridal shoes to shine. ($695; saksfifthavenue.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Joanna August Floyd V-Neck Long-Sleeve Gown photo

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Joanna August Floyd V-Neck Long-Sleeve Gown

Joanna August has delivered a simple but elegant gown with this Grecian style. The plunging V-neck frames the décolletage in a flattering way, and a slit in the skirt amps up the sex appeal. Long sleeves and a slight train add to the elegance of this gown, as do the details, including two-button cuffs and a banded waist. Because this beach wedding gown is wonderfully comfortable, a bride can go from her vows to Mai Tais to the first dance while wearing the same ensemble. ($1,200; nordstrom.com)


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Beach Wedding Dresses Chi Chi London Eyes on the Bride A-Line Dress photo

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Chi Chi London Eyes on the Bride A-Line Dress

Beach wedding dresses run the gamut of styles, and this short beach wedding dress from Chi Chi London is made for gaiety. Its illusion neckline is crafted from sheer, embroidered lace in a bold floral pattern. We love that the lace flowers are dimensional, and the embroidered vines make their way down the bodice, which cinches the waist in perfectly. The full, knee-length skirt is finished with subtle sequins and a blush-tinted ivory underlay. It's so sweet and sassy — and let's be honest, at $179 it's a cheap find for such a pretty wedding dress. ($179; modcloth.com)


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Beach Wedding Dresses Joanna August Pattie Empire Waist Crepe Gown photo

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Joanna August Pattie Empire Waist Crepe Gown

This lightweight crepe gown is among the simple beach wedding dresses that remain elegant and eye-catching. From Joanna August, it features a bodice designed with short kimono sleeves and a plunging neckline which is duplicated in back. The high empire waist is tailored so that the fit is exquisite: The princess seams skim to elongate the figure, and the shirring above the waist flatters the bustline. The trumpet skirt finishes with a short train. ($765; nordstrom.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Whispers & Echoes Cairo Gown photo

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Whispers & Echoes Cairo Gown

A much-modified princess gown, this Whispers & Echoes style relaxes the traditional silhouette for a casual beach wedding. Each ethereal detail keeps it elegant, including delicate spaghetti straps and a sheer lace bodice topped by subtle sequins. The airy chiffon skirt includes a deep front slit for ease of movement. The skirt finishes with a short train that falls gracefully behind the wearer. This is the perfect gown for a boho princess. ($975; bhldn.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses BHLDN Belize Dress photo

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BHLDN Belize Dress

This champagne-colored confection from BHLDN is a dreamy mélange of details. Gorgeous embroidery vines with subtle beading imbue this dress with an upscale vibe while the sheer sleeves add a romantic touch. The banded waistline cinches, yet the skirt flows away from the hips in a way that is forgiving to the figure. Lightweight with a plunging neckline, this beach dress will beat the heat at the most sun-drenched wedding. ($275; bhldn.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Tadashi Shoji Athenia Capelet Wedding Dress photo

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Tadashi Shoji Athenia Capelet Wedding Dress

We love the regal nature of this Tadashi Shoji gown. The design is called Athenia, which is apropos because it seems to be designed for a Greek goddess. Made of lightweight crepe, an ideal fabric for a beach wedding, it features a sexy illusion off-the-shoulder neckline. A graceful ruffle cascades down the shoulders, creating the look of a capelet; at the top, it is adorned in hand-cut tulle appliques. With this beach wedding gown, you'll say your vows in laid-back ease. ($828; davidsbridal.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Vince Camuto Lace Shift Dress photo

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Vince Camuto Lace Shift Dress

A shorter hemline immediately relaxes this shift from Vince Camuto. Vintage details, including a bateau neckline and three-quarter sleeves, provide an elegant contrast to the undeniable sex appeal of the short skirt. Covered in lovely floral lace and finished with a scalloped hemline, this dress will shine at a beach wedding. Bonus: It can be easily worn again as a cocktail dress. ($128; nordstrom.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Badgley Mischka One-Shoulder Fitted Gown photo

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Badgley Mischka One-Shoulder Fitted Gown

The understated elegance of this gown cannot be denied. A one-shoulder design from Badgley Mischka, this beach wedding gown features three-quarter sleeves and a dramatic floor length. We love the subtle draping at the side, which lends an unexpected touch to the waistline. This gown is truly one of a kind. We think it could be improved upon with some bling: Embellished shoes and statement earrings would complete the look. ($695; dillards.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses Whispers & Echoes Arles Gown photo

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Whispers & Echoes Arles Gown

A bride transforms into a goddess rising from the sea in this stunner from Whispers & Echoes, a bridal line whose gowns are created with poetic detail and purposeful design. Every element of this dress conspires to make it a gem for a casual beach wedding. The dainty halter straps feel effortless as they frame a panel of sheer lace. The flyaway cut is both dreamy and comfortable. Floral lace panels travel down the skirt, which is finished in a romantic lace hem. ($1,350; bhldn.com)

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Beach Wedding Dresses After Six Bow One-Shoulder Gown photo

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After Six Bow One-Shoulder Gown

Your beach wedding can be wrapped up with a bow if you choose this gown from After Six that features a deconstructed "bow" at the shoulder. While this gown is available in an array of jewel tones, the ivory version makes it ideal for the bride who craves modern elegance at her beach wedding. The dress is cut from smooth crepe, with a set-in waist and a thigh slit on the trumpet skirt. ($263; nordstrom.com)

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