The Proper Attire for Wedding Guests

When we’re invited to a wedding, we try to look our best. Most of us will buy a new dress, get our hair done, nails painted, etc. After all, these pictures will live on forever. Wedding guests don’t have a hard time choosing the right attire for a wedding either, but with more and more unconventional weddings taking place, we must look for clues on the invitation.


When you receive the wedding invitation, look at the design. If it is embossed and engraved, you are more than likely going to a formal wedding event. You will be expected to wear an elegant dress or your best suit. However, if the invitation reads with informal language and is presented casually, it means the wedding is a more casual affair. You might be attending something very intimate where only the closest friends and family of the bride and groom were invited.

Another clue to help you decide on your wedding attire is the venue of the wedding. Is it a church wedding with a reception at a classy restaurant? This always calls for more formal wedding attire. If you are attending a destination wedding or a beach wedding, you can wear something more casual like a nice summer dress or a pair of khaki pants.

Next, look at the time of day or evening that the wedding is taking place. There is a huge difference if the wedding is held at night or during the day.

For daytime weddings, formal wedding attire depends on the formality of the wedding. Wedding guests might be able to get away with light colors or a stylish pastel dress. You can also wear a skirt and a blouse that accentuates your best features. Always, always go for light-colored clothes for daytime weddings. Although black is slimming, try to stay away from black. If it is a daylong event, you can plan your outfit out in layers. Remember that a photographer might be lurking by, ready to capture candid photos of wedding guests.

Evening weddings tend to more dressy. Formal wedding attire is almost always expected for evening weddings. If you are attending an event that is black-tie optional, wedding guests are expected to wear a sleek dark suit or a cocktail dress.


If the event is strictly black tie, the appropriate wedding attire is a formal ball gown. This is your golden opportunity to show off a floor-length evening dress that makes you look radiant. Is there a fancy evening wrap, shawl, or formal jewelry you only wear on special occasions? You can also get away with wearing your makeup a little more on the heavy, dramatic side. Although this is a formal event, make sure that your wedding attire is something that fits you well and is comfortable. As in all weddings, there will undoubtedly be a lot of dancing.

What NOT to Wear
The good news is that there are limitless dresses and suits to choose from. However, regardless of how pretty a dress is, or how slick a suit is, you should NOT buy it if:
• White. It should only be worn by the bride, not the guests. Daytime wedding or not, do not wear white.
• Denim. Regardless of the location, this is a huge no-no. Unless specifically stated on the invitation that you are allowed to wear denim, don’t wear it.
• Modest or subdued. The star of the wedding is the bride. It shows little respect if wedding guests show up in wedding attire that is flashier than the bride’s wedding gown. Although it is acceptable in some cases, cover up your shoulders with a wrap or a jacket if your dress is sleeveless or strapless.

Your goal should be to look your best in the proper wedding attire at a wedding.