What do I wear for a wedding?

I have four weddings to attend this year, and one for early 2019. I’m a mixture of day guest, evening guest and bridal party so while I do enjoy shopping I have already gotten through four online orders and 23 dresses. I’ve managed to find three dresses to wear, I’ve just got to hope the brides don’t suddenly set a dress code.

Don’t risk the embarrassment of being over or under dressed, refer to our quick guide to wedding guest attire to ensure you fit in perfectly with the rest of the crowd.

Black tie; Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to wear a floor length gown to a black tie wedding. However if you do wear a shorter frock make sure it is extremely classy, such as a cocktail dress that is not provocative in any way. If the invitation says black tie, go black tie. You never want to be underdressed so if you have to ask yourself is this fancy enough then it probably isn’t.

White tie; Here is where the mandatory floor length gown comes into play. Though you don’t have to wear a ball gown it must cover your legs (summer maxi dress does not count I’m afraid). Think red-carpet, that’s what you’re aiming for.

Doesn’t specify; If the invitation doesn’t call out a dress code then take hints from the location, time of the event, and knowledge of the couple’s style. If you still can’t figure it out perhaps ask a bridesmaid or the bride themselves. Chances are if the event is in the evening at an indoor venue, the couple are expecting formal wear, so cocktail dresses for the ladies and shirt and tie for the men, however men may take off their suit jackets are the ceremony.

On the beach; This is where you can probably get away with being a little more casual. A nice sundress or summer maxi dress for women and chino shorts with a button up shirt for the men, with or without tie.

In a barn; Not too casual but perhaps not too formal either. A flowy pastel frock would be perfect for a rustic wedding venue.

In the winter; Wear an outfit to fit the dress code then throw on a jacket to match, not a fleece or a hoodie, especially if the event is black tie its an awful waste of a beautiful gown. Not feeling a jacket? A shawl or (faux) fur coat would be much more appropriate. Dressy scarves, gloves and hats are also suitable if they suit the outfit.

Has a theme; Follow the theme, or you’ll most likely feel left out. If you’re not entirely comfortable with it then try something that alludes to the theme, but doesn’t go all out. No one is saying you need to dress up like the march hare for a wonderland wedding – a red and white dress would be perfectly suitable for people to gauge your input as the queen of hearts or one of her cards, similarly with the rise of Gatsby Weddings, you may not be happy with a lare feather in your hair, but there are art deco dresses to suit everyone.

Overall rules;

  • Never wear white.
  • Ladies, make sure you bring a shawl or cardigan to cover up if the ceremony is in a house of worship.
  • Don’t go too sparkly unless it’s a New Year wedding.
  • You’re better off being over-dressed than under-dressed so keep in mind you want an outfit that makes you ask yourself ‘is this too fancy’ rather than ‘is this fancy enough’.
  • Bring a pair of flats so you can dance the night away, many brides are jumping on the flip flop bandwagon but they won’t be in endless supply so it’s always good to have a pair of your own.
  • Don’t wear anything too short or too low cut, it’s the celebration of two people’s love, not a chance for you to show off.

About Author

Well hello!

I'm Emma, a graduate and mother who designs and creates affordable cards and gifts in her spare time (rather than baking, sewing, reading stories or chucking out the dead plants that have taken over the conservatory).

I started Edge & Virtue in 2017 because I couldn't find the perfect cards and gifts to give to the people I put up with every day, any I did find were unjustifiably expensive or mass printed for everyone to buy in our one local card shop, so I created an etsy shop for people just like me who had a varying degree of hatred towards the people in their life and therefore needed gifts and cards to accurately reflect this.

I live in Essex (there are mostly idiots here the tv show doesn't lie), where my family and job take up most of my time so I'm currently operating out of my terraced house which doesn't allow dogs, in a street where my neighbour calls himself 'Lord of the Close' so if you sense some angry and bitter tones in my work, you are not wrong my friend.

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