When you’re invited to a wedding, you want to look your best to show your support and love for the happy couple. But it can be confusing to know what to wear for a wedding as a guest. After all, weddings come in all shapes and sizes — from traditional white weddings to modern destination weddings — and the dress code can vary widely depending on the style of the wedding.
To help you decide what to wear for each type of wedding, here’s a comprehensive guide to dressing for a wedding as a guest. We’ll cover how to dress for a formal wedding, a black tie wedding, a summer wedding, an outdoor wedding, and a destination wedding.
A Guide to Dressing for a Formal Wedding as a Guest
Formal weddings are typically traditional affairs with a white dress for the bride, a tuxedo for the groom, and a classic color scheme of white, ivory, and black. As a wedding guest, you don’t have to go over-the-top formal, but you should aim to look polished and presentable.
What to Wear for Men
For men, a suit is usually the way to go. If you’re attending a formal wedding ceremony during the day, opt for a lightweight wool or linen suit in navy or gray. For an evening wedding, you can choose a darker suit in charcoal, black, or navy. Make sure to pair your suit with a crisp white shirt and a coordinating tie or bow tie.
What to Wear for Women
Women’s formal wedding attire tends to be a bit more varied. You can choose to wear a floor-length gown or cocktail dress in a dark color like navy, black, or burgundy. Alternatively, you can go for a midi-length dress in a pastel shade or a printed design. For a more casual look, you can opt for dressy separates like a skirt and top in coordinating colors.
Accessories to Complete the Look
No matter which outfit you choose, you’ll need to accessorize to complete the look. Men should add a pocket square to their suit and women should add jewelry, such as earrings and a necklace. Other accessories like a clutch purse, belt, and shoes can also help to polish off the look.
What to Wear to a Black Tie Wedding as a Guest
Black tie weddings are even more formal than regular formal weddings, so they require special attention when it comes to getting dressed. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’ll need to take extra care to make sure you look the part.
For men, a black tie event calls for a tuxedo. The tuxedo should be made of high-quality fabric and should fit well. Make sure to pay attention to the details, such as choosing the right lapels and cuff links. A white shirt, black bow tie, and black patent leather shoes are also essential to complete the look.
Women have a bit more freedom when it comes to black tie attire. You can choose to wear a long formal gown in a classic color like black, burgundy, or navy. Or you can opt for something a bit more daring, like a sequined dress or an eye-catching print. Make sure to pick out the right accessories, such as statement earrings, bracelets, and a clutch purse.
Accessories to Complete the Look
Once you’ve chosen the perfect outfit, you’ll need to add the finishing touches. Men should add a pocket square and cufflinks, while women should add jewelry and a clutch purse. Shoes should also be chosen carefully — for men, opt for patent leather loafers or Oxfords, and for women, pick out a pair of strappy heels.
How to Look Chic at a Summer Wedding as a Guest
Summer weddings are usually a bit more relaxed than formal weddings, so you can get away with wearing something a bit more casual. But that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice style — you just need to choose the right fabrics, colors, and accessories.
In the summer heat, it’s important to choose lightweight fabrics like linen, cotton, and chiffon. These fabrics will keep you cool and comfortable throughout the day, without sacrificing style. For men, opt for a linen suit or blazer and trousers combo, and for women, choose a lightweight dress or skirt and top ensemble.
When it comes to colors, light shades like white, cream, and pastels are your best bet for a summer wedding. These colors will look chic and sophisticated, without making you feel too hot. If you want to add a bit of color to your look, you can choose bright hues like yellow, orange, and pink.
Accessories are key when it comes to completing your summer wedding look. For men, opt for a lightweight pocket square, a hat, and sunglasses. For women, add a delicate necklace, earrings, and a small clutch purse. Finish off the look with sandals or espadrilles for a cool, summery vibe.
Fashion Tips for Attending an Outdoor Wedding as a Guest
Outdoor weddings can be tricky when it comes to choosing an outfit, as you’ll need to consider the elements. You want to look stylish, but you also need to make sure you’re comfortable and prepared for any weather changes.
Casual Yet Elegant
Outdoor weddings tend to be more casual than indoor ones, so you can get away with wearing something a bit more relaxed. For men, opt for a lightweight linen suit or a blazer and trousers combo. For women, choose a maxi dress, jumpsuit, or romper in a light fabric. Add a few accessories, like a hat and sunglasses, to finish off the look.
Footwear is especially important when it comes to outdoor weddings, as you’ll likely be standing or walking around on grass or gravel. For men, opt for loafers or boat shoes, and for women, choose wedges, flats, or sandals. Make sure to pick out a pair of shoes that are comfortable and won’t sink into the ground.
Accessorizing for the Occasion
When accessorizing for an outdoor wedding, stick to pieces that are practical but still stylish. Men should opt for a lightweight pocket square and sunglasses, and women should pick out a sunhat, scarf, or wrap. And don’t forget to bring a cardigan or shawl in case the weather turns chilly.
Picking the Perfect Outfit for a Destination Wedding as a Guest
Destination weddings can be a lot of fun, but they also require a bit of planning when it comes to packing. You want to make sure you’re prepared for the climate and activities, while still looking chic and fashionable.
Choosing the Right Style
When picking out your destination wedding outfit, it’s important to choose a style that is appropriate for the setting. For a beach wedding, opt for lightweight fabrics and airy silhouettes. For a mountain wedding, choose something cozy and warm. And for a city wedding, you can go for a more formal look.
Make sure to plan ahead when packing for a destination wedding. Consider the climate, activities, and any other events you may be attending while you’re there. Pack versatile pieces that can be worn in multiple ways, such as a dress that can be dressed up or down, and a jacket that can be layered over different outfits.
Comfortable but Fashionable
When it comes to destination wedding attire, comfort is key. Choose fabrics that are lightweight and breathable, and avoid anything too tight or constricting. You also want to make sure you’re wearing something fashionable — opt for bright colors, bold prints, and unique textures to make a statement.
No matter what type of wedding you’re attending, it’s important to know what to wear for each occasion. From formal weddings to destination weddings, this guide provides an overview of the different types of weddings and their dress codes, plus fashion tips for each.