I bet you’ve already started receiving wedding invitations for April and May! I love a wedding invitation because it’s a great excuse to buy a new dress! But I’ve got to tell you, sometimes choosing what to wear to someone else’s wedding is harder than choosing a gown for your own (or your daughter’s!). Here are some helpful dos and don’ts of wedding guest attire that’ll help you decide.
Do Think About the Location
So many young couples these days are planning destination weddings. I swear, just getting there will cost you three times the price of your dress! But seriously, think about whether you’ll be inside or outside, in the piney woods or at the lakeside. That’s sure to narrow your choices to something a bit more practical. But if you’ll be in a traditional house of worship, show some respect and wear something knee- or tea-length, at least. And the front of the dress should cover up the girls, girls!
Do Actually Read the Invitation
Maybe you’ve been expecting the thick envelope with the enclosed reply card for months, but don’t assume you already know everything about the style of the wedding. The invitation may give you the best clue about what sort of dress to pick. A morning or afternoon wedding may be semi-formal, while evening weddings may have a black-tie dress code for followed by receptions that will last until past your bedtime.
If the invitation doesn’t say what to wear, then dress appropriately for the time of day. I’m not showing up to a morning wedding in a floor-length gown, but a gown is fine for a nighttime affair. A cheerfully accessorized little black dress works great for a cocktail-hour event, as long as the accessories make it clear you meant to attend the wedding, not the funeral down the road.
Do Find Out About the Color Scheme
Y’all must know not to wear white, or any variation of white, right? Not upstaging the bride is a given, but have you asked what color the bridesmaids or the mother of the bride will be wearing? Don’t copy or clash! Find a dress in a contrasting, complementary color that will keep the focus on the wedding party.
Don’t Wear Jeans
“Casual” for a wedding means, at the very least, business casual. Unless you’ll be sitting on a hay bale in a barn, don’t show up in jeans. Know what? Even if you will be sitting on a hay bale in a barn, don’t show up in jeans!
Don’t Go Overboard with “Optional”
In my world, “black tie optional” means black tie. For ladies, that is. Meaning if guys who aren’t in the wedding party might show up in tuxes, then I’ve got my reason to go spendy on a full-length gown right there! But if floor-length isn’t in the budget, a knee-length cocktail dress is fine. However, cocktail attire is as “optional” as it gets; just don’t show up in a sundress or office clothes. Put in some effort, ok?
Don’t Wear New Shoes
I’m telling you, one thing I’ve learned from being in or attending weddings is that new shoes are instruments of torture. If you need a new pair and want to use the wedding as an excuse, get them well in advance and break them in. You’ll thank me for this advice. You will—trust me.
OK, there it is! Now that you have your do’s and don’ts of wedding guest attire, I hope you find an invitation or three in your mailbox soon!