How To Stay Cool and In-Style - A Fashion Guide For Your Beach Wedding

White Short Sweetheart Organza Beach Wedding Dress
We've frequently discussed ways to take advantage of the nice summer weather by having an outdoor wedding. One idea we've talked about is having a ceremony on the beach and then moving the party down shore for a clambake-theme reception. What's so fun about this kind of party is that it allows your guests to let loose and makes your entire wedding a much more casual affair than a traditional walk down the aisle.

While you might have the cool air blowing in off the ocean, you still need to take into consideration that the hot summer sun will be shining down on you and your guests. When you are lounging on the beach in a bathing suit and can freely take a dip in the water, the scorching heat is much more tolerable. But when you have to sit through a long wedding ceremony without protection from the sun, it can get downright torturous if you aren't dressed appropriately.

Instead of requiring your guests wear the traditional wedding attire - think suits and gowns - encourage everyone to dress down for the event. You can still look great when you take a casual approach if you go about it right, so tell your guests not to worry about being too dressy for your nuptials. After all, you want your attendees to remember your big day for being romantic and enjoyable, not for being sticky and uncomfortable.

While the bride is the only woman who should be wearing white during the ceremony, you want to make sure the guests are wearing light colors throughout the event, as these tones will reflect the sun's rays instead of absorbing thermal energy.

As we've proposed in the past, encourage your loved ones to wear sandals at your nuptials. This will work great for the clambake reception too, as guests can kick their shoes off and put their feet in the sand while they feast.

Khaki shorts are fine for the men at the ceremony, but make sure no one shows up just wearing a T-shirt or
Wedding party on the beach
tank top. Some kind of collar - whether they wear a polo or a short-sleeved button up - is perfect given the setting, but, again, make sure these guests avoid darker shades. Also, it's acceptable for gentlemen to wear white - it's not like they are competing with the bride's look - so allow the groomsmen to dress in white oxford clothes, for example.

Consider allowing the women at your reception to wear shorts as well. A tasteful pair of capris might be much more comfortable for your guests than a flowing dress or skirt - especially when you consider the sea breeze and the fact that temperatures are likely to drop at the clambake once the sun goes down.

Wedding Night Cocktails: A New Take On The Classic Manhattan

Wedding reception cocktails

Add glamour as well as flavor to your wedding
reception with creative  cocktails

While the main attraction at your wedding  will undoubtedly be your beautiful gown, gorgeous bouquet and impeccable hair and makeup, you don't want to miss any opportunity to impress your guests at every junction of your nuptials. Perhaps the best place to start is at the bar.

Whether you're having a cocktail hour before you walk down the aisle or plan on keeping the bartender at your reception pumping out drinks all night long, if you have an impressively stocked bar serving up creative combinations of spirits, your loved ones will surely have fond memories of your big day.

The Huffington Post recently polled the top mixologists from around the country to find out their favorite wedding cocktails. Pick your favorites from their list and put together a menu that your guests can look over at the bar, so that they will step out of their comfort zones and sample delicious drinks they wouldn't likely find anywhere else.

Ryan Smith of Fluid Bar in Burlington, Vermont, proposes that you serve the groomsmen at your wedding a Maple Manhattan. Like the regular bourbon-and-sweet-vermouth concoction, Smith adds a hint of maple syrup to his Manhattan to give it an added sweetness that complements the whiskey by taking off some of the edge without diminishing any of the smokiness connoisseurs crave.

Serve these drinks with a customized plastic tumbler and drop in a swizzle stick to create a cocktail that's a step above your average Manhattan. Top it all off by dropping a fresh cherry in every cup.

Photo Credit: Catherine Hall Studios


A Clambake Reception is Perfect for a Summer Wedding

Your guests will be elated to celebrate your nuptials with fine coastal cuisine and a more laid-back setting.
We recently discussed how special a beach wedding can be now that winter is finally over and warmer weather has arrived. And while a ceremony on the sand is memorable, there's no better way to celebrate your seaside nuptials than by having your reception on the beach as well. 
After you have said your "I dos," move the wedding party down the shore a bit to a clam bake set up just a few yards from where you exchanged vows. This takes the pressure off of your guests who would normally face the hassle of having to commute from one venue to another - an issue at many traditional weddings , and allows the high spirits your attendants felt watching you and your partner tie the knot continue rather than pause between ceremony and reception.
Additionally, coastal cuisine is a seasonal favorite that everyone at your reception will certainly be pleased to indulge in.
Keep the mood light and romantic at your outdoor party - much like you did during your ceremony - and have your guests sit on picnic tables and lawn chairs. Don't forget, it's not a clambake without a large, but contained, bonfire to cook your seafood and then illuminate the beach once the sun sets.
If you are contemplating gift ideas for wedding guests, you can incorporate the laid-back atmosphere of your clambake reception into your party favors by giving attendees personalized can and bottle koozies that they can use while they celebrate your big day.
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