Though it may seem like a lifetime ago, there was once a time when the only people who cared about what you wore were your mum, your boyfriend from school and that guy who sat next to you in class. Now that you’re an adult with a mortgage and a heap of responsibilities, things have changed.
On the one hand, you’re now expected to wear an ensemble that’s appropriate for whatever event you’re attending. On the other hand, it’s not always easy to figure out what “appropriate” means these days. Take wedding guest attire: There are so many acceptable styles out there that finding one can be more difficult than it seems at first glance.
A wedding guest wearing head to toe white.
Next up are bold tights and a cute dress. Not only is this outfit easy to put together, but it’s also an excellent choice for standing out in a crowd. We suggest pairing black tights with a fun colored dress or skirt. If you want to look even more eye-catching, add some sparkly jewelry and high heels.
Fashionistas will love this next option for their next wedding! It features a black top paired with white pants and neutral shoes. This outfit is great because it’s classy, elegant, and sophisticated all at once.
A wedding guest with bold tights and a cute dress.
As the invitee, you have a responsibility to dress appropriately for the occasion. If it’s a black tie event, you’ll know because it will say so on the invitation. If it doesn’t clearly direct guests to wear formal attire, but still has “black tie” in its name or description, that may be a good indicator. Or if the venue is particularly fancy—like a castle—you can assume you should dress up.
If there’s no mention of black tie and the event is being held at someone’s home or a low-key venue (like an outdoor garden), then chances are this wedding isn’t going to require full-blown formalwear like tuxes and floor-length gowns. But even though you don’t have to get all decked out with bow ties and corsages, that doesn’t mean you should show up in jeans either. You should still wear something nice! The bride spent all this time planning her outfit; she deserves everyone else there to put some effort into theirs too!
Wedding guests can wear black.
This idea was once considered taboo, since black is traditionally thought of as a color worn for mourning. But times have changed! Black is one of the most versatile colors. It’s sleek, it’s slimming, and it makes you look super sophisticated. In addition to being flattering, black clothing is also pretty rare at weddings, which means you’ll stand out from the crowd. And since you’re going to be taking a ton of pictures with all your friends at this wedding, there’s no better way to make sure that everyone can clearly see your face in each one than by wearing black.
If the invitation is dressed up, go dressed up.
If the invitation is dressed up, go dressed up. If it’s casual, go casual. If you’re absolutely sure you want to wear something that isn’t a dress or a dressy suit (such as an outfit made of leather in the shape of a turtle), ask the bride and/or groom if it’s OK with them first. The most important thing to remember is that as a guest, your job is to dress for the wedding; this isn’t about you and what you want to wear. This isn’t about what would look good in pictures or what would get compliments from other guests who will barely notice you anyway. This is about respecting the fact that your presence at someone else’s wedding ceremony basically makes their day all about you, so don’t be a jerk and show up looking like garbage!
Don’t wear a white dress.
Wearing white to a wedding is not a fashion faux pas, but it does come with its own set of rules, and you want to make sure that you follow them. Don’t just show up in a white dress to the next wedding you get invited to; here are some tips on how, when, and why you should wear white as a guest at a wedding.
The first thing you should consider is whether the bride-to-be has mentioned anything about wearing white (specifically) or cream or ivory. If she has said that she doesn’t care if guests wear white or not, then it’s probably fine for you to wear your favourite off-white dress. However, if she’s specifically expressed an interest in wearing all-white at her wedding (or even all ivory), then it’s best that you steer clear of wearing any neutral tones yourself. The bride will want to stand out as much as possible on her big day! This means that if all the guests are dressed in off-white dresses, they will probably blend into the background instead of standing out like they would have planned: especially if the bride is also wearing an off-white dress!
Don’t wear a regular dress or suit.
Don’t just wear a regular dress or suit that you would wear to a business meeting or a date. Weddings are formal events, so the guests should dress with formality in mind as well. A wedding is a special event, and wearing something more unique or special can help make it even more special for all of those involved.
Don’t wear jeans, no matter how nice they may be.
It’s tempting to choose casual attire for a wedding, especially if you know the bride and groom well. After all, they’re choosing to do this crazy thing—why should you have to get dressed up?
But even though the wedding itself may be laid-back, it still isn’t an appropriate place for jeans. If you want to wear those Levi’s that are so nice they look like dress pants, put them on for the rehearsal dinner or the reception—not during the ceremony or formal pictures. Some other more appropriate options for a casual wedding include khakis, dresses with cotton fabrics in spring or summer patterns (think gingham), and long skirts with tanks or camisoles.
Don’t try to steal the show in general.
You should also consider the role of the wedding. If it’s a formal church wedding, you may not be able to wear something as daring as you would at an informal beach wedding. The role of your spouse will also determine what you can and cannot wear. If he or she is a part of the bridal party, for example, you may have to dress up in a specific manner. Traditional weddings often dictate that spouses match their partner’s clothing with regard to style and color.
The biggest mistake that people make when they’re going to someone else’s wedding is thinking they’re going to steal the show by wearing something wildly inappropriate. This is a foolish assumption because the bride has chosen her dress after months of searching; it doesn’t matter if it’s better than yours—you’re still not allowed to steal her thunder by showing up wearing anything too revealing or flashy.
Don’t wear any kind of sneakers.
It’s not that sneakers aren’t a suitable shoe for any occasion, it’s just that a wedding is probably not the best place to wear them. And before you start making exceptions, let’s take this one step at a time:
- You don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb in flip flops with beach attire at an upscale city wedding. Yes, even if there will be grass and you know it gets dirty on the dance floor.
- The same goes for sandals of any kind, especially the kinds that have been worn to death over many summers and are now more comfortable than your own skin (maybe it would just look better if you got rid of these altogether).
- Loafers? Totally acceptable—for work or casual occasions. Not so much for weddings (unless they are Gucci loafers, we guess).
- Boots? Please no! Unless they are cowboy boots and you are going to a country-themed wedding, then go ahead and give us your best line dancing moves (and send us an invitation).
Wedding guests must think carefully about what they wear. There are many things that are inappropriate to wear to a wedding as a guest
- Wear something evening appropriate. This means no jeans, sneakers, or shorts.
- Wear something that is not too short or revealing. It’s a good idea to cover your shoulders, especially if the wedding ceremony is in a church or temple.
- Wear something that fits properly. A wedding guest should never look like they are wearing clothes that are too big or too small for them. Always make sure to tailor any off-the-rack clothing you purchase for formal events and weddings in particular.
- Wear something that is not too low cut. You want to make sure you look elegant and stylish, but also respectful of the occasion at hand — namely celebrating two people getting married! Do not wear anything where it looks like your cleavage will be popping out if you bend over even slightly—this applies to men and women!
Attending a wedding can be a real treat, but it’s important to keep in mind that as a guest, you have certain obligations. When deciding what to wear to a wedding, make sure you carefully consider the couple’s wishes and plan accordingly. If you are ever unsure of the dress code for an event, it’s always better to ask than risk offending someone by showing up in something too casual or too formal. As long as you take your responsibilities seriously and put some time and thought into your outfit selection, the chances are high that you will look marvelous and enjoy yourself immensely at all of the weddings on your calendar.