What To Wear To A Wedding - Attire For The Invited

December 6th, 2006

Advice for what a wedding guest should wear to every type of wedding.

You've gotten the invitation for your friends' wedding, happily circled the date on your calendar and started shopping for their gift, when all of a sudden it hits you – what are you supposed to wear??? The etiquette for proper wedding guest attire can vary greatly depending on the style of the wedding. You'll have to become a little bit of a detective, but fear not. There are clues everywhere.

Start off with the invitation. Is it in flowing engraved black script on a heavy cream paper with formal language? Odds are the wedding will be similarly formal. Does it cheekily ask you to come see them get hitched? Wedding guests should look for a nice casual outfit. And of course, it may tell you directly on the invitation - black tie, casual attire etc.

Think about where the wedding is set – if it's outdoors avoid anything that will get caught in the wind – you won't want a battle of wills between the wind and your modesty! Also, avoid high heeled shoes that will sink in the sand or in the grass.

If it's in a hot location avoid the suit and go for a breezy dress to help you keep your cool. Indoors at the country club or fancy restaurant? Make your outfit slightly more tailored and dressy.

Daytime Wedding

For her:-
A fun floral dress.
A skirt and a sweater set with sling back shoes. (We have some surprisingly affordable and stylish skirts right now that will work for a daytime wedding).
A light colored suit – try to stay away from black, navy or anything that looks like you're going to the office.
A beautiful hat that coordinates with your outfit.

For him:-
In the summertime, a light-colored suit, especially linen or seersucker.
Winter weddings call for warmer clothing, including wool suits, a navy blazer with charcoal pants, and perhaps a sweater and tie underneath a blazer.
A dress shirt, tie and dress pants is acceptable, but dress it up with a blazer if you can.
If the invitation says formal, wear a dark suit. Tuxedoes are not appropriate before 6 pm.

Evening Wedding

For her:-
Dress as you would if you were going out to the theater or to dinner.
a cocktail dress – nothing too sexy but something fun to dance in. Black is fine.
a dressy suit or a cocktail suit.
Wear darker colors and look for something sophisticated.
Avoid beads or sequins unless the invitation specifically says black tie.

For him:-
A dark suit is always appropriate
If the invitation says casual or semi-formal, you can wear a blazer and slacks with a nice tie.

Black-tie optional

For her:-
A cocktail dress, perhaps to the floor.

For him :-
If you have a tuxedo, or just like wearing one, by all means do so.
Otherwise, wear a dark suit. Dress as formally as you can.

Black tie

For her:-
A formal dress, usually to the floor
bring out those beaded purses, fancy wraps and formal jewelry that's been waiting for an occasion such as this
black tie weddings almost always involve dancing, so don't wear anything too constricting.

For him:-
A tuxedo is the only appropriate thing to wear. If it says creative black tie, he should still wear a tuxedo, perhaps with a black shirt or collarless white shirt.


White. (This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some cream colored clothing. Just be careful not to upstage the bride.)
Black to a daytime wedding
Anything too sexy or revealing
Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small for you!
Anything sleeveless or strapless to a religious wedding. Bring a wrap to cover your shoulders.  

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