Wedding FAQs

What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest

/ Post by MiaAnderson

It's not always easy to decide what to wear to a wedding. Once you've received an invitation, chances are you'll start thinking about what you'll wear on the big day. While the invitation will generally offer a suggested wedding dress code, it might be difficult to choose an outfit when the time comes. And, as any seasoned guest will tell you, the last thing you want to do is put off finalizing your style until the night before the wedding when you realize you have nothing to wear. 

If you're wondering, "What do I wear to a wedding as a guest?" before the wedding, you're not alone. In fact, it's one of the most often asked queries by visitors. And we're here to assist. When it comes to what to wear to a wedding, there are a few ground guidelines that will help you pick an appropriate and elegant dress. Brush up on the foolproof recommendations below before you go shopping so you know exactly what to wear and what not to wear.

Consider the Dress Code


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When deciding what to wear to a wedding, the most crucial aspect to consider is the dress code. Depending on the style of the event, the majority of couples will establish a wedding dress code. For example, is this event a black tie, semi-formal, casual, or even a costume party? 

To assist you in making an informed selection about what to wear to a wedding. We've put up a quick rundown of the most common wedding dress codes:

Black Tie: floor length gowns, black ties, tuxedos

Black-tie Optional: Floor-length evening gowns or formal cocktail dresses, tuxedos or a dark suit

Formal Attire: floor-length gowns, tuxedos optional, black suits acceptable

Semi-Formal: below the knee dresses, dress shirts, slacks

Cocktail Attire: a tailored suit (with or without a tie), a short dress

Dressy Casual: sundresses, collared shirts, khaki, jacket

Make Use of the Venue as a Guide

What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest?

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The venue of the wedding might also provide some guidance on what to dress to a wedding. For example, your attire for an outdoor wedding on a farm will differ from that of an evening party at an elite ballroom. The clothes you wear to the beach will (obviously) be very different from the outfit you wear to a posh hotel.  If you're going to be strolling outside, go with a big heel. Wearing a kitten heel or a stiletto may cause you to sink into the earth. You can never go wrong with a pump heel for indoors.

Looking for images of the wedding location ahead of time will assist you understand what clothes to wear to a wedding.

Avoid Wearing White Outfit

Although most couples would accept guests dressed in any other color (even black!). While most guests are probably aware, it is crucial not to wear any shade of white to a wedding unless specifically indicated in the invitation. However, in other cases, the couple may prefer that guests wear white to reflect a specific theme. So before you choose your outfit, check the invitation guidelines to ensure that this is the recommended guest attire. Following the rules can assist you in avoiding any fashion faux pas on your wedding day.

Avoid Wearing the Colors of the Bridal Party

What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest?

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We recommend that you avoid wearing colors that match the wedding (unless otherwise specified) so that you don't appear to be part of the bridal party. Make sure you're familiar with the couple's color scheme. How do you figure this out? The color scheme for the wedding can be deduced from the invitation, which gives an indication of the couple's preferences. If you're still unsure, it never hurts to ask a wedding party member.

Don't Be Too Casual

Even if the wedding has a more casual dress code, I can assure you that it is not that casual. That is, no sweatpants, jeans, or t-shirts—you get the idea. Don't confuse a casual dress code with jeans and a t-shirt; such is never appropriate unless the bride and groom officially state that they are having jeans and t-shirt weddings. Even though it's an informal event, you're still taking part in an important ceremony. If you have to pick between being underdressed and overdressed, overdressing is always preferable.

Do Consider Wearing Black Twice

What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest?

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While black was always linked with grief and funerals, circumstances have changed – and so have fashion norms! Black may now make a sleek and beautiful statement for a wide range of weddings. Having said that, black apparel isn't acceptable for all weddings, and it's crucial to think about the exact occasion you're attending. Because a wedding is a celebration, and some people may perceive your decision to wear black incorrectly, it may be wiser to choose a brighter, cheerier hue.

Don't Be Too Bold and Don't Wear Anything Too Short

Sequins, animal prints, bright red, and other garish motifs are enjoyable for a night out but not appropriate for a wedding. Of course, you want to look fantastic, but you also don't want to be the focus of attention at someone else's wedding. The spotlight should always be on the bride, not on your attire. 

Even if the bride and groom are cutting-edge, a wedding is still a wedding, and it's always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to hem lengths and dress designs.

Put on Comfortable Shoes

Comfort is essential, especially if you intend to turn up on the dance floor. Flats and wedges are always viable possibilities. Consider a shorter heel or a chunky shape if you wish to wear heels. If you believe your heels will get uncomfortable, bring a pair of flats or sandals for later in the evening.

If you know there will be a long walk from one location to another during the festivities, pack comfortable flat shoes (flip flops or otherwise) that you can slip into and out of easily.

Accessorize Your Look

What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest?

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Clothes are only one component of a fantastic wedding guest ensemble. You can have a lovely dress, but selecting the correct earrings or necklace to complement your outfit's neckline really pulls everything together. The same holds true for men's wedding guest attire. Accents such as a colorful pocket square, a printed tie, or a sleek belt will elevate any tux or suit.

When deciding what to wear to a wedding on a budget, consider how deliberate accessories might enhance a dress you already own.


What Do You Wear to a Wedding When a Dress Code Isn't Specified?

Start by checking up the venue if no dress code has been established and the bride and groom have allowed attendees free rein. If you're going somewhere relaxed (like a beach), you can wear something flowy and little more casual. If the event is being held at an elite restaurant, wear a mid-length gown and heels, adhering to the smart casual dress code.

Is It Ok to Wear Black to a Wedding?

The short answer? It is determined by the wedding. When it comes to wedding guest dress, times have really evolved, so depending on the code, you can wear black (in fact, some weddings even require it). Having said that, black apparel isn't acceptable for all weddings, and it's crucial to think about the exact occasion you're attending.

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