Know All About Wear For A Wedding Day
As a guest, it can be downright confusing to decide what to wear for a wedding. If you’re trying to figure out if an outfit is too white, too casual, too chic, or even too inappropriate, you might feel like you’re in the middle of a fashion puzzle. And let’s not even talk about whether you should bring a pack or not if you are still cold! (Note: bring it.)
Fortunately, most weddings allow you to know the dress code in advance so that you can begin to decipher what to wear. (More about this below). But there is more than that. Read on to find out what wedding dress codes mean, other factors to consider and most importantly, what not to wear.
Be sure to know the dress code
As a rule, the dress code of a wedding is located at the bottom right on the wedding invitation itself. If this is not the matter, look for it on the detailed map included in the wedding invitation suite. It could also be displayed on a separate dress code insert.
If you don’t find it in the wedding invitation, visit the couple’s wedding website. As a rule, you can find information about wedding clothes in their FAQ section or in the calendar of events.
Once you’ve found it, you might be wondering what it all means. (Believe us, we know it can get confusing). Here is a brief guide to the most common dress codes that will help you know what to wear for a wedding:
Although white tie clothes are extremely rare (unless you are going to an event at Buckingham Palace or another big gala), you can see it on a wedding invitation. If this is the matter, men should wear a black tailcoat, formal black trousers (with a side stripe of satin), a white piqué shirt and a white bow tie (hand-knotted). Cufflinks and nails are also considered standard.
Women should wear a formal full-length dress with elegant jewelry (you might even consider a diadem!). White gloves for men and women are Optional, but always welcome.
A black tie wedding has more flexibility, but not much. Men want to wear a black tuxedo or a black suit with a bow tie or a black tie. Patent leather shoes and cufflinks are also expected. A seat belt, on the other hand, is no longer needed or worn so much.
For women, you should wear a long evening or prom shirt (with the hem of the dress lying on the floor) and classic accessories, such as diamonds and pearls. Stylish trouser suits are also an option. Of course, you can always have fun with a bold, but eclectic clutch and shoes.
Formal or Black Tie Optional:
In this situation, the couple offers options for wedding guests, but they still want a highly dressed wedding. If you decide not to wear a black tie, remember that the look should not deviate too much from it. Formal dress code would always mean a long evening dress for women (although a shorter cocktail dress that falls just above the knee is also acceptable) and a formal tuxedo or black suit with a classic tie or bow tie for men.
The cocktail outfit is a notch below the black tie, but still considered formal. For women, this would mean opting for a mid-length or mid-length dress instead of a long dress. For men, a suit and a tie are always expected.
Although more casual than any of the above options, a semi-formal wedding dress code does not mean that everything will go well. Even if a long dress and a tuxedo would not be in their place, the tone is still high. Women can choose to wear a dress that hits on or above the knees. A more sophisticated skirt and top or trouser suit will also work. For shoes, opt for heels, elegant wedges or flat shoes.
Men can choose a light or dark suit (tie optional) or a shirt and trousers, depending on the time of day.
You can find this dress code for a beach, garden or other outdoor wedding, but that doesn’t mean you should dress like you would any other day. For a casual wedding, women should opt for a sundress or matching separations (including trouser suits). Men should wear nice trousers (including chino or khaki) and a collared shirt (polos are also acceptable). Unless the invitation specifically requests, you should not wear shorts, T-shirts, casual tank tops or jeans. And forget about flip-flops!
Consider the location and time of the day/season
Once you know the dress code of the wedding, you should keep an eye on where and when. In addition to the right clothes for the weather and the seasons, the type of place and the time of day also come into play to determine what to wear for a wedding.
First, you want to go to the wedding venue website to get a feel for the decor and layout. If the wedding will take place, first of all, inside, then your type of shoes will be less important. However, if the venue has an outdoor area where the ceremony, cocktail hour or reception can be held, you want shoes that can survive long walks in the grass or on the gravel. Wedge heel in this matter would be better than stilettos. You can also consider transparent heel protectors to protect your shoes.
Whether during the day or in the evening will also play a role. Although daytime events with black tie are less common, formal events are not. A black prom shirt would not be as suitable for a lunch as for a dinner, so let the time of day help you decide the color and style of your outfit. For daytime weddings, think about bright colors and fabrics that will not spoil with a little sweat. (We’re looking at you, silk).
Speaking of warmth, you should make sure that you feel comfortable, no matter what time of the year. Although sunscreen and lightweight fabrics are a no-brainer for summer weddings, you still need to make sure you have adequate coverage to be appropriate in a religious place. Exposing less skin also means less sunburn or insect bites when you’re outside.
For winter weddings, a stole made of pashmina cashmere or artificial fur always looks chic, as well as heavier fabrics such as velvet, tulle or taffeta. Men can opt for wool or tweed in winter, against bed linen and cotton in spring and summer.
What not to wear to a wedding
If you are not invited to a white wedding, you should never wear a white dress. You should also generally avoid “mostly white” dresses, even if you have a print on them. If you have to wonder if it’s too white, don’t wear it! Instead, opt for black tones or jewelry.
And I hate to look like a mom here, but you should also avoid wearing something too revealing. Miniskirts or dresses with large cutouts or a crazy neckline should be reserved for your own evenings. You also want to avoid any dress that makes TOO much of a statement (like wearing a dress that is so complex that it needs help getting in and out). The main thing to consider when deciding what to wear for a wedding is the bride. You want to be elegant, but you absolutely do not want to deprive her of attention, in person or in photos. She is the ‘wow’ factor of the event, not you. Keep this for your moves on the dance floor!
Where to buy wedding outfits
The first place is your closet! Even if you may not have a prom shirt, you probably have a great dress that could be reworked for a semi-formal wedding. Or you can take out that tuxedo you wore to your own wedding (just make sure it’s dry cleaned and still fits! Otherwise, a little trick is in use with the tailors).
If you want to buy something new, your favorite retailer in the store or online will necessarily have something that you like. My first stop is always Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue, followed by Net-a-Porter. If you want to wear something new (for you) and creative, without breaking your budget, you should rent the track. You can find a ton of designer dresses for rent for 1/10 of the purchase cost. Remember that if you are going to a destination wedding, you have 4 or 8 days to return your rental clothes from the delivery date! For men, you should consider a tuxedo or a tailored suit, which you can wear again on a site like Indochino.