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What Do You Wear To A Formal Summer Wedding

What To Wear To An Outdoor Semi Formal Wedding

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

Lets begin by having a look at the information weve got, shall we?

1. Consider the dress code

First up, we know its a semi formal dress code. Traditionally that means elegant but not formal.

Options could include

  • a knee-length cocktail dress
  • a skirt or evening pants and top arrangement
  • maxi dresses are also acceptable, but theyre not to be confused with a to the floor ball gown thats definitely a formal dress code.

2. Think about your shoes

We also know youre going to be outside, in a paddock and a garden. Now Im not particularly outdoorsy but I do know a thing or two about holding a drink in a paddock.

Well ok, not an actual paddock but I have been to quite a few garden weddings in my time and I went on a school excursion in 1987 to a farm, so Im across this whole paddock thing.

High heels and green grass are not great friends. They do not play nice together and if you wear heels, you run the risk of them sinking into the grass at any given moment. Thats fine if you quite like standing still for hours on end, but the minute you need to move you will lose your shoe.

And just quietly, losing a shoe in a paddock is not a Cinderella moment!

To avoid a heel in grass situation from happening I would recommend wearing:

  • wedges
  • a block heel
  • sandals or ballet flats this option would work best paired with a maxi dress

So now we know what a semi formal dress code is and what shoes are best for an outdoor wedding situation, lets have a look at some outfit suggestions.

Casual Wedding Attire Dress Code

A casual wedding is often laid back and holds in the outdoors. It may be on the beach, in a barn, in the park, etc. This will also reflect on what to wear to a casual wedding. But this does not mean that anything goes. It is a great fashion error to show up at the wedding in Bermuda shorts or sling tops.

You can go with a summer casual dress code for hot weather. There is also the smart casual dresses for weddings regardless of the day and weather.

With the men, khaki is great, especially for a country casual wedding attire.

Dress For The Time And Place

Afternoon ceremonies tend to be more casual than evening soirees, so first take into account what time the event is taking place. At noon, its perfectly appropriate to wear a summer sundress or pastel skirt, while at six, its more fitting to wear a satin or chiffon cocktail dress. Many weddings nowadays call for a wardrobe change between a low-key ceremony and fancy reception. Determine how much to dress up or down according to the time and venue of the event.

Daytime Wedding Outfits

Evening Wedding Outfits

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Tips For A Perfect Suit Experience

Having the right outfit laid out is not enough to give you the perfect look if you dont observe some suit etiquette during acquisition, fitting and wearing of your suit. Some commonly ignored but very important rules when it comes to wearing suits include:

  • Ensure that your suit fits if you buy it ready-made, you can have it altered such that it doesnt scrunch onto your body or loosely hang.
  • The stitching on the vents and pockets is meant to be removed immediately you bring your suit home.
  • Match your belt to your shoes and any other leather that you are wearing e.g. your watch.
  • Always leave the bottom button of your coat unfastened and ensure you unbutton your suit whenever you are getting seated.
  • Your shirt cuffs should reach your wrist and be half an inch longer than your coat sleeves.
  • Dont use excess accessories if you already have a tie and a pocket square, adding other things such as a lapel pin, scarf, and tie bar is overdoing it.
  • Bulging pockets do nothing to flatter your look that said, keep your wallet, car keys, phone and other things off your trousers pockets.
  • When buying a shirt, ensure that you can button it all the way without chocking you shouldnt leave the button at the top open.

What To Wear To A Beach Wedding: Women

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding
  • If the invitation indicates that you should wear formal beach attire, then a long, elegant gown is perfectly appropriate.
  • Semi-formal beach attire calls for short, or tea-length dresses, which are great because they wont drag in the sand, plus they transition beautifully to a reception venue held at a restaurant or oceanfront hotel.
  • Are you wondering what to wear to a casual beach wedding? Our advice is a nice Maxi dress. A maxi dress is loose-fitting, especially around the bottom of the dress so you can easily sweep it across the sand and brush it clean on land for a seaside reception.

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Shop Black Tie Wedding Guest Dresses

Formal Church Wedding

For a formal church wedding, youll want to make sure your shoulders are covered and you arent too over the top with sequins and major ruffles and things. Keep things a little more traditional out of respect of the church. This lace short sleeved tea length dress is perfect for such an occasion.

What To Wear To A Summer Wedding: Best Outfit Ideas

If youre unsure about what to wear to a summer wedding, please follow this two-step guide. First, we will talk about how the location and dress code can help you decide on an outfit as a guest.

You will also find some outfit inspirations to consider for your wedding attire. But what if youre attending a winter wedding instead?

We also wrote a guide on what to wear to a winter wedding, and feel free to browse our blog for more wedding outfit etiquette tips.

Read Also: What To Wear For Beach Wedding

What Is The Dress Code

Like any other wedding, you should check the wedding invitation or website to know the dress code of the summer wedding youll attend. The couple will mention their requested theme and colors to help you decide on an outfit.

But how would you dress for a formal summer wedding, for example? Since its summer, you dont have to feel uncomfortable with long and thick outfits.

Female guests can consider a pantsuit, while male guests can opt for breathable tuxedos. If its semi-formal, maxi dresses for women and matching dress pants and blazers for men can be acceptable.

Some couples might indicate a casual wedding for their summer wedding, especially if its a beach wedding. If you attend one, you can confirm with the bride and groom if outfits like halters, wraps, khakis, or polos would be appropriate.

Take The Venue Into Account


As we mentioned earlier, the type of venue can alter dress code expectations slightly. For example, it’s safe to assume that the dress code at an outdoor summer wedding is going to differ slightly from an indoor eventboth in terms of style and functionality. But don’t worryso long as you’re not underdressed or uncomfortable, you should be fine.

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What To Wear To A Wedding With Traditional Cultural Attire

If youre invited to an event that calls for traditional clothing typically worn during specific religious or cultural wedding rituals, its important to do your research and dress the part. Ask for assistance if you need it, and respect the couples wishes and their traditional customs.

For Men

  • Appropriate attire to match the traditional religious/cultural celebration

For Women

  • Appropriate attire to match the traditional religious/cultural celebration

The Beach / Destination Wedding

Seersucker suits are an ideal choice for a beach or seaside wedding! Courtesy of

Going to a dream beach / destination wedding? Try option for one of our key summer fabrics listed above, with particular preference leaning towards linen or seersucker. The cool, lightweight, breathable nature of these fabrics will ensure that you look both dapper and remain cool at the same time.

Ideally, your cotton or linen shirts should have a softer collar to match the less structured / half lined summer suit jackets that we have discussed above.

With regards to accessorizing your beach / destination wedding suits, we recommend selecting printed silk ties or silk knit ties variants that do not exhibit excess sheen when exposed to sunlight. A more subdued tie pattern and fabric can work exceptionally well during the summer months! If you do opt for a silk tie during the summer, we suggest going with a lighter colored silk tie or a silk / linen blend.

A seersucker suit with a knit tie makes for an incredible summer ensemble! Courtesy of

To view The Dark Knots range of Printed Silk Ties, please click here.

Please feel free to view The Dark Knots range of Silk Knit Ties.

Please feel free to view The Dark Knots range of Spring & Summer Ties.

Looking to accessorize your beach wedding attire further? How about a linen pocket square with hand rolled contrasting edges, such as those offered by The Dark Knot.

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Beach Wedding Dress Code

For a beach wedding dress code, the fabrics should be light and free. Work with materials like organza, chiffon, cotton or lace. They are simple, yet stylish for women. The best for men are cotton and linen materials.

Do patterns, floral prints, stripes or polka dots. Wear them in bright colors like burnt orange, fuchsia, peach, terracotta, turquoise, peach, and aquamarine blue. The men will work better with beige, grey, tan or blue colors. They are quite laid back but appealing.


Casual Summer Wedding Attire

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

Generally, casual means anything goesbut jeans, shorts and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume this dress code means business casual to be on the safe side.

Simplicity is the name of this game. A mini dress silhouette in a pretty pastel blue hue is all about serving effortless glamour.

Reformation Christine dress, $218,

Consider this printed romper for a casual summer weddingit’s flouncy and all-around festive.

Lulus Call it a Crush navy blue floral print ruffled romper, $54,

For a quintessential preppy summer wedding outfit, go for a gingham button down shirt. It can work in basically any setting, but we love it for a nautical-themed event.

Peter Millar Robinson gingham check button-up shirt, $148,

You can’t go wrong with a pair of navy blue chino pants. They complement a wide variety of solid colors, prints and patterns. We love them with the above gingham button down shirt.

J.Crew 484 Slim-fit stretch chino pant, $80,

There’s something so charming about a watercolor-inspired print. This mini dress also boasts the prettiest gathered sleeves plus a trendy off-the-shoulder neckline

Misa Danae dress, $325,

This colorblocked dress, with its tiered skirt, puff sleeves and flattering V-neck says one thing: chic.

STAUDCorsica mini dress, $295,

Joseph Abboud Tan modern fit chino, $40,

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Do Consider Dress Alternatives

Dresses are the traditional answer to what to wear at a wedding, but if you feel more comfortable in trousers or a jumpsuit than a dress, then go for it. In most cases theyre a more practical choice, especially if you have small children to look after. Jumpsuits and two-piece suits make a great alternative to a dress and are super chic for modern sophistication, says Joely.

Suits or co-ords that are sold separately are great if youre a different size on top than on the bottom. Youre likely to get more wear out of them after the wedding too, as they can easily be mixed and matched with casual pieces in your wardrobe.

George Purple Floral Print Angel Sleeve Jumpsuit | RRP: £24 | Sizes: 6-24

Its all in the details with this stunning jumpsuit from the square neckline for a modern touch to the angel sleeves and the cute ditsy floral print. The elasticated waist and wide-leg fit keeps it delightfully comfy for all-day wear.

Zara Tailored Double-Breasted Blazer and Chino Trousers | RRP: £87.98 | Zara

Suits are having a moment and offer a modern alternative if dresses arent your thing. Go for a pop of colour such as this blue number and add feminine flourishes by pairing with a silky cami and sparkly heels.

Follow The Dress Code

The dilemma of what to wear at a wedding is far easier to resolve if the invite specifies a dress code. The only caveat to this is that some dress codes are still open to interpretation. So if youre unsure, ask the advice of the bride or other wedding guests.

To get your outfit search off to a flying start, we asked Lucy Challenger for guidance on the most common dress codes.

  • Black tie: Black tie ranges considerably these days, from a little black number to a ball gown. General etiquette is for the most to elaborate according to the event.
  • White tie: Go for a long, formal evening dress. You should also consider wearing hair tied back or in a chignon.
  • Cocktail: This means cocktail dresses that are knee-length or there abouts. Heels are generally worn too.
  • Smart casual: Generally a blazer-type jacket, long skirt or smart trousers, shirt or blouse and flat shoes. Definitely no leggings, jeans or trainers.

Remember, the happy couple will have specified a dress code for a reason. This could be because its appropriate for the venue their wedding is being held at, or because it matches their chosen aesthetic or look. Straying from the dress code has the potential to at best lead to embarrassment and murmurs among the other guests, and at worse cause offence.

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What To Look For In A Summer Wedding Guest Dress

If you’re attending a summer wedding, it’s wise to shop for dresses made from breathable and comfortable fabrics like linen and cotton. These lightweight fabrics will keep you coolespecially if the wedding is outdoorsand work for every type of dress code. When it comes to silhouettes, mini, midi, and tea-length dresses are ideal for warm-weather nuptials and work especially well for beach and garden venues.

Attending a summer wedding is also the perfect chance to experiment with fun prints and vibrant colors. For a more classic take on summer wedding guest attire, look for dresses in soft pastel hues and dainty floral patterns.

Where To Buy Summer Wedding Guest Dresses

What To Wear To A Summer Wedding

Good news: There are lots of great places to shop for cute summer wedding guest dresses online. We’re sharing some of our favorite websites to browse that’ll help you get a head start on being the best-dressed guest.

  • Rue La La: On the hunt for a bargain? Avid thrifters will appreciate Rue La La’s incredible sale prices and curated boutiques that make shopping for designer fashion a breeze. The site is currently running an online wedding boutiquebut hurry, it won’t be around forever.
  • Lulus: Lulus is hands down one of our favorite places to shop online for pretty much any wedding-related event. You’ll find a variety of stylish guest attire for under $100.
  • Rent the Runway: Who said you have to buy a new outfit? Rent the Runway is an eco-friendly alternative that’ll give you access to tons of designer styles. Keep reading to see some of our favorite summer wedding guest dress ideas from the site.

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