Dress For The Occasion: Wedding Guest Attire Dos And Do Nots

April 16, 2019

Once you reach your mid-20s, the days of wearing just your swimsuit all summer long begin dwindling. People around this age are starting to get hitched, which means that you need to stock your wardrobe full of stylish dresses and suits for every occasion to fit the many weddings that are coming your way. 

The last thing you want is to scramble for something to wear and break wedding guest attire etiquette. To properly prepare for wedding season and bring your style A-game to every affair, here are some important dos and don’ts of wedding guest fashion:

Do Take Your Cue from the Wedding Invite

The wedding invite is your key to deciphering wedding dress code. First, make note of the time of day the ceremony will begin.

If it is an evening affair, this is your first clue that the wedding dress code is on the formal side. For women, you cannot go wrong with wearing a long, formal dress. Men can expect to wear a formal suit in a darker color or a tuxedo if the invitation says it is black tie.

Also, look at the invitation itself. Is it classy and decadent? Relaxed and casual? The style should reflect the occasion.

Do not Dress Like You’re Going to the Met Gala

Judging by how some people dress at weddings, they mistakenly believe that another couple’s wedding is the perfect opportunity to take a major fashion risk. This is not the Met Gala — it is someone’s special day. Although you are itching to wear that crazy-colored two-piece dress that bares your midriff, save it for another occasion. Even if it does not reveal too much, crazy prints and patterns draw attention to you, which is a major wedding guest faux-pas. All the attention should be on the bride and groom.

Do Dress for the Season

Speaking of colors and prints, be sure to dress in seasonally appropriate attire. Jewel tones and moody colors will look out of place at a summer or spring wedding where pastels and florals are typically worn.

Similarly, do not forget to focus on the cut of your dress. Shorter dress styles are better suited for afternoon weddings during the warmer months, while longer dresses are usually reserved for evenings or fall and winter weddings.

Do not Rule Out Tailored Pants and Jumpsuits

Newsflash, it is 2019! A dress is not your only option for weddings anymore. Today, it is perfectly acceptable to wear jumpsuits or tailored pants to a wedding. 

Jumpsuits can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. To dress it up, wear a sophisticated blazer over it and accessorize with elegant jewelry. For summer weddings, ditch the jewelry and pair it with heels with a pop of color.

If you are going with tailored trousers, try opting for trousers in a floral print for spring and summer weddings. Complete your look with a must-have stylish clutch and a lightweight top and — ta-dah! You will effortlessly stand out from other guests without drawing the wrong kind of attention.

Do Keep the Venue in Mind

Needless to say, you will probably want to switch up your attire depending on whether you are attending a church wedding or someone’s backyard nuptials. Before you decide what to wear, look at the invitation to see where the ceremony and reception will be held.

For church weddings, err on the side of being too modest. Even if the bride and groom are not overly religious, they could have family members who will not appreciate your low-cut top or sleeveless slit dress.

Keep in mind that garden soirees and backyard receptions are not a pass to dress in blue jeans (yes, even if they are designer). Instead, opt for wispy fabrics, floral patterns and smocked waists that fit right in with spring and summer blooms.

Do not Forget to Check the Weather

Always check the weather forecast in the days leading up to the wedding, especially if the ceremony is going to be held outdoors. Although the bride and groom will, hopefully, have a contingency plan if the weather gets super nasty, it still helps to prepare for unpleasant weather.

During the summertime, plan to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics that will help you stay cool. If you sweat profusely, avoid super-light colors, as they tend to show sweat stains more. Choose darker yellows and greens that fit in with the season while also being dark enough to hide sweat stains.

For winter and fall, do not forget to layer up! Wear closed-toed shoes and stockings underneath your dress. If you get too hot, you can always take them off in the bathroom and stuff them inside your purse. 

Do Pay Attention to the Couple’s Color Palette

It is always unfortunate when a wedding guest accidentally dresses in a way that makes them blend in with the couple’s wedding day décor. Even worse, you might get mistaken for part of the wedding party if you wear the wrong color.

To avoid this mishap, look at the invitation and make note of their color palette. Keep in mind that some brides will find ways to make their maid of honor stand out by dressing her in a different color, so be sure to avoid all colors in the bride’s color scheme!

Do not Wear White

Although, most people know not to wear white to a wedding, it bears repeating. In addition to not wearing white, you will also want to take a hard pass on ivory, cream, or even some pale pinks and purples as well. Anything that could be mistaken as white at a distant glance should be nixed from your wedding guest wardrobe.

Do Switch Up Your Accessories

While we all know that being part of the wedding party can be expensive, it is not cheap to be a guest either. In addition to the wedding gift, the price of wedding guest attire can also dig deep into your pockets.

To save yourself from going broke during wedding season, try playing with your accessories. You can wear the same dress while making it look completely different with a bold statement necklace or a fun clutch.

Final Words

The above tips should give you a good starting point for dress shopping for the upcoming wedding season. If you still are not sure about your attire, you can always ask a fellow guest for their opinion. You can also go straight to the source by sending the bride or groom a quick text. 

Just do not count on them to respond quickly if at all. They have an upcoming wedding to think about and may not have time to field your questions!

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