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Wedding Guest Dress Codes - What To Wear To a Wedding

July 11, 2017

From casual to black tie, I am going to explain what is expected attire to a wedding. Obviously, this all can be changed up (colors, fabrics, etc.) based on season, but this will help the never ending question, "what do I wear??"


OK, FIRST RULE: NEVER WEAR WHITE TO A WEDDING. Maybe the bride is a more progressive bride and "doesn't care," but being from the South I was always told that the bride should be the only one wearing white to the wedding, GOT IT? Good. 


SECOND RULE: DO NOT WEAR JEANS TO A WEDDING, OK?! Y'all should know better. If you don't wear jeans to church then you shouldn't be wearing them to a wedding. 


Now that that is out of the way, let's begin with proper attire for a casual wedding. 


Casual Wedding Attire



Casual weddings are usually outside or on the beach or a location where the weather may be less than comfortable. 


General Rule: Jeans, tanks, and shorts are most likely not acceptable. It is always better to stay away from those three items for any special event. 


Also, for this, you may get away with wearing lighter colors at night time (again depending on the location). 


Ladies: A nice sundress would work perfectly. You can stay cool while still looking feminine and dressed up. Remember to watch the fabric choice. Something with a shiny look to it (satin, velvet, etc.) will be too dressy. Also, be sure that it is a dress your mama wouldn't mind seeing you in...if you know what I mean..


Gents: Khaki pants and a button down will work just fine, but not a polo. Make sure whatever you wear has a collar (for any wedding you attend). Feel free to bring a sweater or a sport jacket depending on the weather, but both may be too hot for a beach destination wedding. 


Semiformal Wedding Attire



Our wedding was semiformal. We didn't want people dressing too down, but we also didn't want people showing up in a tuxedo to a barn wedding. I always like to think of this type of look as the "church" look. 


The clothing options should differ based on the time of day the wedding is at. Wear darker colors for night time (dark gray, navy, black, dark brown) and lighter colors during the day. If you have no idea what color would work best, I would always opt for a gray (for men), the color works during day and night. 


Ladies: A cocktail dress (or just a nicer looking dress) or a dress skirt and a top. Sundresses are slightly too casual, but if the straps are wider and it is a little less flowy you could get away with wearing it. 


Gents: A suit and a tie. Light and dark would depend on the time of day. 


Formal Wedding Attire



This is only slightly below black tie attire, so this outfit should be very nice regardless. 


Ladies: You should wear a long dress or a very nice cocktail dress. Again, be sure that if you wear a cocktail dress it is not too "revealing."


Gents: A suit and a tie. Again, the coloring depends on the time of day. 


Black Tie Wedding Attire



This is the top of the top wedding. I have never even been invited to a black tie wedding before, so you know it is real fancy. Think you are a prince and a princess going to a ball, basically that is what you will be wearing. 


Ladies: Floor length formal gown. Sometimes you can get away with wearing a shorter dress (I am 5'1" so I know the difficulties of finding a floor length dress that doesn't swallow you), but be sure the fabric is nice. This is like going to prom all over again...except an adult prom. 


Gents: A tuxedo and all the fixings. Yep, this means the three piece suit. You can wear a tie or a bowtie with this and unless it specifically states you must wear tails, then you can wear a normal tux.




If you have any questions or comments about this topic, feel free to leave them below!