My BFF Thinks I'm Her Personal Shopper, so I Styled Her for a Beach Wedding

·11 min read

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 revenge 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.

WEAR: Mejuri Croissant Dôme Hoops ($75); Dissh shorts; Staud Kai Halter Top and Mini Shirley Bag ($210)

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.

Re-create this look for yourself:

H:ours Rios Wrap Halter Top in Strawberry Tie Dye ($138)

Cassidy’s Staud halter top is now sold out, but this version would be great to pack for any upcoming beach wedding.

H&M Linen Shorts ($25)

You can’t pack for a tropical beach getaway without including linen shorts.

& Other Stories Thong Strap Heeled Leather Sandals ($129)

Sandals that match with every look are a must.

Éliou Ios & Rho Genuine Pearl Mismatched Earrings ($162)

Finish off the look with cute earrings.

WEAR: Urban Outfitters Margot Chunky Rectangle Sunglasses ($16); Frasier Sterling Mixtape Charm Huggies ($48) and Feeling Dreamy Choker ($58); Frankies Bikinis Stella’s Strapless One-Piece Swimsuit ($165); Zara Chain Trim Low Heeled Sandals ($50)

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.

Re-create this look for yourself:

Frankies Bikinis Stella Strapless One Piece Swimsuit ($165)

This is the perfect swimsuit to wear as a guest during a beach wedding weekend.

Frasier Sterling Feeling Dreamy Choker ($58)

Is it even a beachside wedding if you’re not wearing ocean-inspired jewelry?

Velvet Canyon Zou Bisou in Cream Tort ($190)

The wedding ceremony may last just a few hours, but these sunglasses can be worn every day after.

Sarto by Franco Sarto Essence Slide Sandal ($99)

Fun, comfortable slip-on sandals are a must-have for a beach wedding.

Loeffler Randall Kai Blush Woven Leather Tote ($395)

This bag is begging to be taken to the beach.

WEAR: Martha Calvo Mini Donut Huggies Earrings ($68); Louis Vuitton necklace; Verge Girl Summer Weekend Knit Midi Dress ($99); Telfar White Shopping Tote ($150); Zara Strappy Heeled Leather Sandals ($70)

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.

Re-create this look for yourself:

House of Sunny Hockney Dress in Purple Rain (£98)

This dress is perfect to wear during a wedding reception or any other weekend festivities.

Steve Madden Uplift Pink ($110)

We promise you won’t regret splurging on bold sandals that you can style with all your wedding guest outfits.

Petit Kouraj Les Petit Petit Bag ($295)

Meet the perfect tote to pair with any wedding guest ensemble.

Pandora Me Link Necklace ($175)

Don’t forget to pack versatile jewelry!

WEAR: Urban Outfitters Ginger Slim Cat-Eye Sunglasses ($18); Martha Calvo Mini Donut Huggies Earrings; Staud Printed Kai Top, Printed Sea Skirt, and Soft Pleated Moon Bag ($262); Zara Strappy Heeled Leather Sandals ($70)

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.

Re-create this look for yourself:

Staud Sea Skirt Olive ($225)

While Cassidy scooped up the last of Staud’s water-printed set, you can opt for the same look in a different colorway. Just be sure to buy the matching top.

Joolz by Martha Calvo Barrier Mismatched Earrings ($132)

Take note from Cassidy and pair your ceremony dress with a fun pair of earrings.

JW Pei Gabbi Bag Orange ($58)

A versatile bag that can be worn throughout the whole trip.

Schutz Sanny Ankle Strap Sandal ($118)

Finding fun strappy sandals to wear to a wedding is half the battle.

Shop More Beach Wedding Guest Dresses…

Under $100:

Mango Vent Cotton Dress ($100)

We promise that the bride-to-be will love this dress on you.

Nasty Gal Sequin Embellished Starfish Maxi Dress ($90)

Give off total mermaid vibes with this embellished maxi dress.

Astr the Label Gaia Dress in Sage ($98)

When in doubt, a simple satin dress will work for any wedding.

Zara Printed Midi Dress ($70)

If you’re looking for a bold but still polished dress, look no further than this funky maxi dress from Zara.

ASOS Design High Neck Maxi Satin Tea Dress in Rust ($64)

A modest, affordable satin dress? Don’t mind if we do.

White Fox Boutique Take a Moment Midi Dress Hot Pink ($70)

Turn heads in this hot-pink cutout dress.

Tobi Make Magic Multiway Maxi Dress in Blue ($78)

When in doubt, a V-neck maxi dress for a wedding ceremony is always a good call.

Cider Oil Pianting Slit Midi Dress ($28)

You’ll look like a work of art in this satin slit midi dress.

Who What Wear One Shoulder Sleeveless Dress ($32)

There is nothing more suited for a beach wedding than this one-shoulder, tiered, colorful maxi dress.

Pretty Little Thing Sage Green Textured Woven Cut Out Detail Midi Dress ($36)

Imagine this off-the-shoulder midi dress at a destination beach wedding—dreamy, right?

Missguided Lilac Ruched Front Satin Midi Dress ($38)

The cutout, the ruching, the vibrant lilac color… Everything about this dress is perfection.

Rvca Island Time Mini Shirtdress ($68)

If the wedding vibe is very low-key, this island-print shirtdress is perfect for the ceremony.

Free People Celeste Convertible Tunic ($78)

Taking a carry-on only? This tunic can be styled as a dress or a sarong.

Sabo Skirt Kiesha Dress ($72)

This stunning floral minidress with cutouts is begging to be worn for a special occasion.

Topshop Ruched Jacquard Long Sleeve Dress ($64)

A black dress doesn’t have to be boring.

H&M Ruffle-Trimmed Dress ($25)

A colorful cotton poplin dress worthy of a beach ceremony.

Under $300:

Hansen + Gretel Serpentine Dress in Cornflower ($299)

Be the bride’s something blue in this number.

Reformation Nikita Dress ($248)

Not only will you channel a Jane Austen love novel with this floral-print dress for the wedding, but it’s also a dress you can definitely rewear.

Andrea Iyamah Sana Maxi Dress ($260)

This rose-hued satin maxi dress is perfect to wear to a beachside wedding.

With Jéan Naomi Set in Flamboyant Anthurium ($259)

Who said you have to limit your choices to a dress? If you’re feeling bold enough, this sultry set was made for a reception dinner.

Never Fully Dressed Sunset Tiered Dress ($139)

Is it just me, or does this dress encapsulate the vibe of a sunset beach wedding?

Sanlier Nayarit Dress ($230)

Nothing screams “beachside ceremony” louder than this dress.

Eloquii Off the Shoulder Ombre Dress ($130)

Why not inject a little color into the dance floor?

Norma Kamali Diana Mini Dress ($195)

Is the bride a bit more reserved? Then you can’t go wrong with this nude dress.

Rat & Boa Coralina Dress ($180)

Be the best-dressed guest in this dress.

House of CB Soluna Sand Blush Thigh Split Draped Maxi Dress ($195)

Striking the perfect balance between formal and beach-appropriate attire can be challenging. Luckily, this linen-draped maxi dress exists.

Loti Calistoga Dress ($298)

This stunning maxi dress made from deadstock fabrics gives off East Coast beach vibes in the best way.

Desigual x Esteban Cortázar Lingerie Dress South Beach ($210)

A dress inspired by South Beach itself? Packing this ASAP.

LPA Damia Dress in Taupe ($188)

Whether you wear this dress to the reception dinner or the ceremony itself, you’ll be sure to rake in compliments.

Musier Paris Dress Delila ($195)

We love the incredible pearl strap details on this baby-blue knit halter dress.

Kai Collective Irun Dress ($226)

Leave it to the Black-owned label Kai Collective to create the perfect dress to wear to a destination wedding.

Wilfred Elba Dress ($188)

Who said you can't be comfortable and chic at the ceremony?


Fe Noel Nutmeg One Shoulder Dress ($528)

The tropical-inspired print on this dress was made for a beachside wedding.

Cult Gaia Shaine Gown Tahoe ($1298)

If the bride-to-be doesn’t mind guests going bold with their color choice, then this dress is perfect for the big day.

Bronx and Banco Sunset Feather Dress in Multicolor ($1350)

While this dress is a bit over-the-top for the beach, it would be great for the rehearsal dinner.

Jacquemus Tovallo Ruched-Front Linen-Blend Midi Dress ($870)

Leave it to Jacquemus to create the perfect linen dress for a beach wedding.

Mirae Ella Vert ($345)

Imagine the sound of the waves and the light breeze moving this dress in the wind.

Christopher Esber Looped Verner Maxi Dress ($830)

This dress strikes the right balance between modest and a little sultry.

Kim Shui Lace Butterfly Dress in Butterfly ($399)

Go all-out with this risqué number.

Tanya Taylor Viviana Dress ($495)

While this puff-sleeve dress with crochet detailing may feel casual, with the right accessories, it can be a total vibe.

Rixo Shell-Print Midi Dress ($401)

We’re all here for wearing a seashell print by the shore.

Jonathan Simkhai Winnie Dress in Caramel ($645)

This dress makes me want to sing “The Piña Colada Song.”

Matin Studio Backless Embroidered Polka-Dot Dress ($420)

You can’t wear a polka-dot bikini to the ceremony, but you can wear an elegant maxi dress.

Coco Shop Slip Dress in Navy Checkerboard ($440)

This dress is oddly reminiscent of the tiles you’d see at a beach resort, but we’re not mad about it.

LoveShackFancy Story Tiered Striped Cotton-Voile Maxi Dress ($586)

Call it cliché, but we’re here for this nautical striped dress for a seaside wedding.

Next: I Just Got My First Wedding Invite in One Year—Here Are the Dresses I'm Eyeing

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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