Guest Attire: What to Wear to a Wedding

I think almost all of us at one point have uttered the phrase "What am I going to wear?" I know I have! We all pride ourselves on looking great so it's no surprise when we think twice about wearing something to a wedding. Here is a guideline of what to wear for certain types of weddings.

Black Tie Wedding
A black tie wedding means Formal Formal Formal! The dress code here is the most formal of all weddings. You should wear a long floor length dress with fancy jewelry. Your guy should wear a tuxedo. If he doesn't own one, he should rent one. 

Side note: Recently it seems that people dismiss the dress code for Black Tie Weddings and it has become less formal. Most women tend to wear cocktail dresses. If you plan on wearing one to a Black Tie Wedding, make sure it is fancy cocktail dress and dress it up with some sparkly jewelry. However, if you have a long dress, you can't go wrong wearing it! Also, if budgets are tight and your guy can't rent a tux, he should wear a dark suit with a tie.
Black Tie Optional Wedding
Black Tie Optional can also be referred to as Black Tie Suggested or Black Tie Invited. This wedding is the most popular formal wedding. It gives guests the option of wearing formal attire but not having to rent a tuxedo. Women can wear either a floor length dress or a formal cocktail dress. This wedding is still formal so make sure to dress up whatever you wear with some fun jewelry. 

For guys, if they have a tuxedo, they can wear it. A tuxedo isn't required for Black Tie Optional so if they don't have one, they can wear a dark suit (black, dark navy or dark gray) with a tie.
Semi-Formal Wedding
For a Semi-Formal Wedding, think about what you would wear to a cocktail party or a fancy dinner. This is what you should wear to a Semi-Formal Wedding. A nice cocktail dress for an evening wedding and a nice light color dress for an afternoon wedding. Another option would be a nice pair of pants with a fancy top. For the men, a suit and tie is appropriate. Guys can also wear khaki pants with a sports coat and tie. 
Daytime Wedding vs. Evening Wedding
For a Daytime Wedding, think about staying away from dark colors if possible (unless the invitation says it is a formal wedding). Keep your outfit fun with a floral print or colored dress. For the guys, think about wearing a light colored suit (linen or seersucker or gray). A pair of khakis and a navy sports coat would work too. In the winter, guys can wear a sweater with a shirt and tie.

For an Evening Wedding, wear clothes similar to a Semi-Formal Wedding (unless the invitation states otherwise). Black is appropriate to wear in the evenings. Keep it fun and wear a cute dress and fun jewelry. Your guy should wear a suit (black, navy or dark gray).  
Casual Wedding
It's rare to have "Casual Wedding" written on a wedding invitation, however, some people want a more casual feel at their wedding. For this type of wedding, wear a sundress or a skirt with cute flats. Leave the high heels at home. For men, wear a dress shirt without a tie with khakis or dress pants. Don't go too casual and wear jeans! It's still a wedding!

Some tips and rules when deciding what to wear
  • Wearing black to a wedding is OK! In the past, it was thought to be unacceptable to wear black at a wedding. This is not the case anymore. Majority of the attire at weddings is black and today, bridesmaids are even wearing black. Think about wearing some jewelry to brighten up your attire.
  • Don't wear white!! The bride should be the only one wearing white/ivory on the wedding day. There are plenty of other colors to wear!! If you must wear white/cream, accessorize with lots of color. Don't wear a white lace dress, even if you think it's appropriate, people will talk about you! The only time is it okay to wear white is if the bride and groom request it on the invitation. 
  • Don't wear jeans, anything torn, stained or with holes. Look appropriate!
  • For the guys: Don't wear sandals or flip flops. Wear shoes (dress shoes, boat shoes, loafters, etc).
  • For the girls: Bring a wrap, pashmina or cardigan with you. You may need to cover your shoulders during a religious ceremony.
  • If you aren't sure what to wear, ask your friends/family what they are wearing and plan accordingly.
  • Have fun with what you are wearing and be comfortable.
  • Don't stress too much about what you are wearing. All eyes will be on the bride and groom, not you!


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