Wedding Dress Code
The clothes you choose as a wedding guest should be festive, classy, and elegant – but what this looks like will depend on the specific wedding you’re going to. Consider the couple’s style, and any hints you might have gotten from the invitation as to the tone of the wedding. Then dial the formality up if it’s in the evening or if it includes dinner at an upscale reception site. Dial it down if it’s held outdoors, during the daytime, or in the summer.
For the ladies
Choose a dress (yes, definitely a dress) that will add to the beauty of the occasion without overshadowing the bride. That means no white – and no traffic-stopping cleavage. Apart from those two guidelines, have fun picking out something that will match the mood of the event: a pretty floral dress for a daytime summer wedding, for example, or a jewel-toned dress for an evening wintertime one. Go with chiffon or lace for summertime, and satin or silk for winter. Avoid cotton and jersey dresses unless the wedding is held in July… in a parking lot. Choose a classy clutch purse that complements your dress, and jewelry and makeup that’s elegant without being flashy.
For the guys
For you as well, the formality of your outfit will need to fit the occasion. If it’s an outdoor wedding in summer, you can wear a navy blazer with khakis, and if it’s very casual, you could skip the tie. In most summer weddings, though, you’ll want to wear a shirt, tie, and blazer, and follow the lead of the groom’s family on whether you can take off your blazer if the heat is bad. Choose nice dark brown formal shoes if your jacket is blue, and black if it’s black. If it’s grey, you can go either way – black shoes will be a touch more formal. If the wedding is formal, indoors, and/or during winter, you’ll want to go with a suit. If it’s extremely formal, but held before 6pm, then what you want is a grey morning coat – tuxes, as Jack Donaghy would tell us, are for after 6pm. Matching your tie to your lady’s dress is optional (as long as she thinks it is).
Rules of Thumb
- Ladies, this is the perfect time to bust out the Spanx. Don’t overthink it. When all those photos come out, you’ll be glad you made this decision.
- Along the same lines: don’t forget a slip! If it’s daytime and your dress is in any way translucent, this is strongly encouraged.
- Hair, facial hair, and makeup should be neat and tidy.
- Guys, do not wear a tux or a morning coat unless you’re sure that all male guests are expected to wear them. You don’t want to be the one dude in a tux while everybody else is in suits!
- If you can’t find dressy shoes that don’t murder your feet, consider bringing a backup pair for dancing.
- Weddings are marathons as parties go, so consider bringing along a comb, extra makeup, or whatever you’ll need to keep looking your best by Hour 7 of the festivities.