You got the invitation for your friends' wedding and found the perfect wedding gift when suddenly it hits you. What are you going to wear?
The etiquette for proper wedding guest attire varies greatly depending on the style of the wedding. You'll
have to do a little sleuthing but fear not. Even if a dress code (black tie, casual, etc.)
isn't blatantly written on the invitation, there are clues everywhere.
What's the Wedding Style?
Start 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? Don a somewhat casual outfit and you'll fit right in.
Where is the wedding set? If the ceremony will be held outdoors avoid anything that will get caught in the wind. Avoid high heels that will sink into sand
and grass. If it's being held in a hot location, avoid a heavy suit and dark colors
and go with linens to help you keep your cool. Will it take place indoors at a swanky country
club or restaurant? Make your outfit slightly more tailored and dressy.
Some wedding guest may prefer to rent their wedding attire, and there are a variety of rental
options available. For women, I recommend checking out Rent the Runway as they have a variety
of options for different formal occasions.
For men, I recommend checking out Men's Warehouse for formal tuxedo rentals. You can choose
to customize your look or rent any of their pre-styled looks.
A pretty floral dress
A skirt and a sweater set
If it's summertime, a light colored suit, avoid dark colors and anything that makes you
look like you're ready to go to work
Heels, sandals or slingbacks
A beautiful hat that coordinates with your outfit
A light colored suit, especially in linen or seersucker
If it's cool outside, a wool suit, a sweater, and tie underneath a blazer
A navy blazer with charcoal pants
A button-up shirt, tie and pants dressed up with a blazer
If it's formal, wear a dark suit, tuxedos are not appropriate before 6:00 p.m.
Dress as you would if you were going out to the theater or a fancy dinner
A cocktail dress, nothing too sexy, but something fun to dance in.
Black is fine, but white is considered impolite
A dressy suit or a cocktail suit
Dark, sophisticated colors
Avoid beads, sequins, and sparkles unless the invitation specifically says "black tie."
A dark suit is always appropriate
If casual or semi-formal, a blazer and slacks with a nice tie
A cocktail dress, perhaps floor-length
A dark suit. Dress as formally as you can.
If you have a tuxedo, or just like wearing one, by all means, do so.
A formal dress, usually floor-length
Nothing too constricting, as you'll be dancing
Accessorize with beaded purses, fancy wraps and formal jewelry that have been waiting for an
occasion such as this.
A tuxedo is the only appropriate thing to wear. If it says "creative black tie,"
still wear a tuxedo, perhaps paired with a black shirt
What Not to Wear
Now that you know what you should wear to a wedding, here is what you absolutely
should not wear:
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, but it's still better to be safe than
sorry, so choose a different color.
Jeans, no matter how casual the wedding
Black to a daytime wedding
Anything too sexy or revealing
Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small
Anything sleeveless or strapless to a religious wedding. Bring a wrap or jacket
to cover your shoulders.