Wedding Etiquette: How to Dress as a Wedding Guest

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It’s the end of September, and it’s officially autumn wedding season! With softer sunsets, crisp orangey-red leaves, and slightly cooler temperatures, I can definitely see why it’s one of the most popular seasons for weddings!

If you’ve seen my previous post on wedding gift giving etiquette, then you’ll know that your girl here has been attending weddings nonstop this past year. Aside from gift-giving anxiety, which I addressed in an earlier post, another aspect about attending weddings that gives me immense stress is… you guessed it – how to dress!

As with all weddings, there should be a dress code instilled, whether it be casual, semiformal/dressy casual, black tie, or white tie, but what do all of these things actually mean? And what’s too casual? Too formal? Or have you ever been troubled by the ever-changing weather conditions? Or has the venue choice ever given you some challenges in picking the right outfit?

That’s why today, I’m going to share some of my go-to wedding guest attire do’s and don’ts, as well as a quick little guide to help you out, no matter what the occasion or dress code is!

There’s nothing worse than dressing to the nines only to have your shoes get stuck in the dirt, right?

WEDDING GUEST ATTIRE – THE DO’S

1. DO follow the dress code (if there’s one listed on the invitation)
In our modern day and age, the dress code is usually listed on the invitation, and if the couple went through the trouble to actually list it out, please do follow it because it’s there for a reason. If there’s no wedding attire listed, please keep in mind that the venue is usually a good indicator of how to dress, specifically if you know it’s an indoor vs. outdoor event.

2. DO wear dressier attire
Now this next “do” is for the more “casual” wedding; even if the invitation does indeed say casual, do not opt for a t-shirt and jeans combo because that’s just disrespectful to the couple, at least in my opinion. Weddings, no matter how casual and laid-back they are, are celebrations (of a couple’s lifelong commitment, nonetheless), so taking the time out to dress presentably is definitely a must.

3. DO wear the right shoes
There’s nothing worse than wearing the wrong shoes to a wedding. Aside from all of the standing that comes with cocktail hour, it’s a given that you’re going to dance the night away, and you definitely don’t want to be that person who’s limping out the door by the time the night’s over.

Another important factor that determines the type of shoes that’s worn to a wedding is the venue choice and whether or not you’re attending an indoor or outdoor wedding. I mean, no one wants to have their heels getting stuck in the dirt, grass, or sand, right?

WEDDING GUEST ATTIRE – THE DON’TS

1. DO NOT wear white
The number one rule of any wedding – avoid white (or any other close variations, such as eggshell, ivory, or blush) under all circumstances. Everyone knows that weddings are meant for the bridge and groom, and it’s their day to be in the spotlight, so by wearing other colors, you’re allowing them to stand out fully.

2. DO NOT wear something too revealing
This tip is directed more at our fashion-forward ladies! I know there are some amazing dresses out there, but if it shows a bit too much skin, it might be better to save it for a night out with the girls instead. Weddings are more or less family-friendly events, and guests of all ages will be present, including grandparents, parents, children, and even toddlers, so it’s safer to not wear something that might make others uneasy.

3. DO NOT wear something uncomfortable
And of course, last but not least, don’t wear something that you’ll be uncomfortable in! Weddings can last anywhere from four to six hours, depending on when the festivities begin and if there’s an after-party, and you definitely don’t want to be squirming around in your seat for most of it!

And as I mentioned earlier, here’s a more detailed guide, noting all of the different types of dress codes and what to wear for each occasion (for both guys and girls), so enjoy! 😀

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I believe investing in quality wedding guest attire, such as dresses and tuxes is essential, but just in case any of you don’t want to spend more than half your paycheck on wedding getups that you’ll most likely only wear once or twice, do check out the Fashion Pass and the Black Tux for fuss free rentals and returns!

But most importantly, at the end of the day, just remember to not sweat it! Yes, what you wear is important, but at the end of the day, weddings are more about so much more than just what you wear. What weddings should really be about is the couple and the celebration of their lifelong commitment. As long as you make note to not commit any of the above fashion faux pas, you should definitely be good to go!

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