411 On Wedding Guest Attire
Written By: Rebecca Richards
You’re invited to a wedding! How fun! Now, the most important question: What do you wear? Some wedding invitations will spell this out for you. Black tie, vibrant colors, dark hues, or formal chic; Yet in most cases, the bride and groom will leave it up to you to decide. Although every wedding is unique and different in its own way, the time of year and location play a role in your guest attire. There are many factors that contribute to your outfit of choice such as: Is it inside or outside? Is the ceremony on grass if outside? Are there any themes to the wedding? Will my outfit wrinkle easily if it’s humid? Yet these questions stem further than just the wedding details to extend to questions such as: What colors complement my skin tone? What type of purse goes best with each dress style? What hairstyle works best with my neckline? Let's begin to unpack the potential ways in which you can determine what to wear, starting from one of the most important factors: Time of day.
Time of Day
Morning - Early Afternoon: If the wedding ceremony time is earlier on during the day, the dress code is usually less formal. A flowy pastel dress, sleek jumpsuit, or matching skirt and top will do! The lighter the colors are, the better. The key is making your appearance known without standing too much with intense bold colors or distracting patterns. Accessorize with some jewelry and a cute purse and you’re good to go! With an earlier ceremony and reception, you can capitalize on the daylight to complement your look.
Evening - Night: Most wedding ceremonies that take place during the later hours of the evening and night tend to accompany a more formal dress code. This is where you can slightly explore your color palette, embrace your hem lengths and heels, and experiment with a more enhanced cocktail attire. Since the evening will most likely extend into the later hours of the night, be sure to pack some trendy sandals or flats for dancing. You can spice up your look with gold or silver jewelry accents and coordinated makeup/hair.
Once you’ve determined your grid for what time of day you’ll be showing off your look, you can then develop the framework for how the location will contribute. There are a myriad of different types of wedding ceremony and reception locations. They can be at a private residence, church, venue, or a combination of those! Just as the wedding month and time matter to your attire, the location also has an influence.
Rustic Farm Style: If the wedding is located at a farm, barn, or rustic themed venue, you’ll most likely want to tone down the formality, while still remaining chic. A flowy dress with color or patterns is always a go-to! Keep in mind that many farm weddings may not have a perfectly flat landscape or walking path. You’ll want to stray away from heels or stilettos and instead choose a fun and funky wedge!
Summer Destination Dream: Summer weddings can give you the opportunity to explore bright and bold colors! Floral patterns or vibrant styles are your best friend for summer and/or destination weddings. You can also enhance your casual look by adding a fun clutch or purse. A flowy maxi or bohemian dress is perfect for summer weddings. Although black dresses are a wedding style staple, try to avoid dark colors for a beach wedding. You want to elevate your style by embracing the beachy breezy atmosphere around you!
Black Tie Formal: Black tie affairs are all about avant-garde meeting elegant formal wear. So how can you find the right balance between over-the-top and not enough? Evening gowns and formal cocktail dresses are perfect! If you choose a cocktail dress, it shouldn’t be too far above the knee; The longer the dress is, the more formal your outfit becomes! In regards to color choice, you can wear anything that isn’t white or would take away from the bride. Diamonds and pearls are indeed a girl’s best friend with black tie!
Cocktail Party Chic: Cocktail party chic is a common wedding guest style. A simple ensemble can be invigorated by the way you accessorize and style it! Although your cocktail dress isn’t serving a red carpet look, the length can still range from floor to mini dress and can be altered to fit the level of formality. Looking to add a dramatic flair or just wanting to keep it classic? Then cocktail dresses are your best bet. You want to look fab while remaining classy and comfortable for dancing. And when in doubt, throw on a little black dress!
Places to Shop
So you’ve gained a better understanding of how to dress but now the question is, where do you shop? For starters, Nordstrom is having their Anniversary Sale right now which is the perfect opportunity to snag some amazing deals for your summer wedding guest style! If you don’t want to spend the money on a dress that you don’t think you’ll wear often, check out Rent the Runway for some trendy and even designer pieces. This way you can rock a summer staple without breaking the bank. All this to say that as long as you dress appropriately and DON’T WEAR WHITE, you’ll have a wonderful time at each wedding while looking sensational!