A Comprehensive Guide To Wedding Guest Attire
Getting dressed for a wedding is no easy feat. If you haven’t been to many, you might not know much about acceptable attire. If you’ve been to a lot, the formality has likely varied at each, and even if it hasn’t, you probably don’t want to wear the exact same thing to every party. Before you start stressing, rummaging through your closet, or committing to a shopping spree, read through this handy guide. Whether you need the common dress codes decoded or just want some ideas for diversifying your look, you’ve come to the right place.
For a rundown of the basics and some outfit recommendations, we spoke with etiquette expert Suzanne Pollak. We also consulted Alexis Corry, who owns menswear, womenswear, and bridal boutiques. Together, they shed light on appropriate wedding ensembles, and define the terms that you’ll likely need to know.
Formal Vs Informal Summer Weddings
Formality and informality are technically seasonless and are usually defined by various dress codes. For instance, formalwear is traditionally associated with white tie.
However, white tie has largely fallen out of favour and black tie, which consists of a tuxedo, has largely replaced it as the predominant choice of formalwear.
Additionally, approaches to formality tend to shift among seasons. Indeed, summertime often allows for less formal attire given the heat. For example, in business professional situations where people are expected to wear a suit, you can wear lighter colors during the summer and even forgo the tie.
For the purposes of this article, therefore, we take formal to mean tuxedo and informal to mean a suit or something even less formal than that.
The choice to go formal or informal is entirely up to the couple. The summer heat can vary according to different climates, so the formality decision should be made based on whether most of the day will be indoors or outdoors. After all, being sweaty in wedding photos is not a good look.
If youre indoors or in a temperate climate, we think a formal wedding is fine. Everyone will be in an air-conditioned room and take minimal issue leaving the house in a jacket and tie on a 90-degree day.
Wedding Guest Attire: What To Wear To A Backyard Wedding
The wedding scene has temporarily changed. Large and elaborate ballroom weddings are on hold or taking place on a much smaller scale. If youve received an invite to one of these newly dubbed micro weddings, you probably have questions. In fact, you might be wondering what to wear. The backyard wedding is a bit more casual, but that doesnt mean carefree. So lets take a look at what to wear to a backyard wedding, and how to decipher the dress code.
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Casual And Dressy Casual Wedding Guest Dresses
If you’ve received an invitation to an informal daytime or evening wedding you may be looking for casual or dressy casual wedding guest dresses! These dresses are perfect for wearing to informal backyard weddings, daytime outdoor weddings, or any wedding where dressy casual attire is encouraged. We’ve picked these dresses from my retail partners to help you with your search. These dresses are picked for the current season. We change the selection every few days as we find new dresses so keep checking back!
Wear Light And Bright Dresses And Jumpsuits
For backyard summer weddings, consider wearing a dress or jumpsuit from an Earth-friendly and fair trade company worthy of your dollar.
Dresses and jumpsuits, preferably bright, light, floral, and WITH POCKETS, are the ultimate summer backyard outfit choice to give you freedom of movement and make you feel great.
Theres no doubt that there are endless beautiful summer dress options available , but be sure to shop around all options to find something that best fits your values and tastes.
I recommend looking for bright and light patterns and colors that match the summer-y surroundings of a backyard affair.
TAMGA Designs is one such company with floral, outdoorsy patterns and colors. TAMGA was founded by a couple who, living in Bangladesh, focused on working with local NGOs, and boasts unique, hand-drawn fabrics.
They also partner with a conservation organization in Indonesia, a country and cause near and dear to my heart after having spent several summers living and working in the Indonesian rainforest.
Search for something bright, light, and unique that others wont have!
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Opt For Lace Cotton And Breathable Fabrics
On this site, I try to write about sustainable and green options for weddings, and that extends to guest attire. When deciding on an outfit for a backyard wedding, consider breathable, natural fabrics that are comfortable, not too heavy, and good for the environment.
Some examples are lace, cotton, and silk materials. Avoid polyester, velvet, wool, and other heavy materials for a summer backyard affair. It just wont feel comfortable against your skin and will affect your experience.
Winter Wedding Guest Attire: Pants And Skirts
If you want to wear pants to a wedding, a wide-legged style can be a good alternative to a dress or skirt.
Or you could choose a full maxi skirt for real impact, as well as thinking about fabrics such as lace.
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What To Wear To An Indoor Summer Wedding
Indoor weddings during the summer come with their own unique challenges . The best way to prepare for rogue AC is to dress in layers. With a three-piece suit, you’ll look pretty sharp with or without the jacket. An understated pashmina is another subtle touch that can easily be added to an outfit. One more thing to keep in mind with certain indoor venues is modesty. You’ll want to make sure you’re appropriately dressed if the wedding is taking place at a religious site.
Prepare For Any Temperature
In New York, it seems like every summer has an unseasonably cold day in the middle of June. At the same time, visitors to San Francisco are frequently surprised by how chilly it is in July. If you are heading out of town for the wedding, make sure you pack a cardigan, wrap, or jacket that coordinates with the outfit you plan to wear to the wedding. This garment can be handy even on a warmer day, as a light sweater will keep the sun off of your shoulders and can help to prevent sunburn.
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Wear Flats And Sandals
Shoes such as high heels, boots, and anything heavy or too fancy will not serve you well on a grass lawn.
Keep your footwear simple and light. If you absolutely need to add height to your look, consider wearing wedges, preferably white or beige wedges, such as these ones on Amazon. Avoid chunky, ankle-breaking shoes if possible.
Ballet flats such as these ones with lace cut-outs or these classic neutral ballet flats are also a pretty and appropriate option. Shoes that are neutral colors or colors that match your skin tone are a great backyard summer look.
Bottom line: Stick to flats and sandals. Your mantra in generally for backyard attire and footwear should be keep it light.
Black Tie Further Reading
Feel free to play around with pattern. A wedding is a time when a suit doesnt have to be all business, and if you want to wear bold stripes or checks but typically cant, nows the time.
Meanwhile, linen is a great option, too. If youre not sure which to opt for, check out our guide where we compare the fabrics.
Otherwise, mohair is another great alternative to keep you cool but its somewhat pricey. Lightweight wools also exist, but can be difficult to tailor.
Finally, look for jackets that have either half or 1/8 linings. Fully-lined jackets are fine, but removing some of it allows for a little bit more ventilation, which is never a bad thing when the temperatures hit 85°F and above.
If you have the means, going made-to-measure or bespoke will open the worlds of these fabrics up to you and help keep you well-ventilated. The options that we suggest below cater to summer fabrics and construction so theyre well worth checking out even when on a budget!
In the daytime, you can also opt for less formal shoes like white derbies or suede loafers. Should you want to go even more casual, you can lose the tie and the socks, or even opt for a pair of linen trousers with a linen shirt and odd waistcoat.
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Spring Outdoor Wedding Attire
Springtime weddings are beautiful, but dressing for the occasion may be a little difficult. Depending on the month, rain may be an issue. Wet grass and mud are things to think about when choosing your footwear for the wedding.
Make sure your outfit would be able to survive an outdoor or indoor wedding, depending on the weather that day and if they need to make last minute changes to the venue.
What To Wear To A Backyard Bridal Shower
Backyard bridal showers are by nature less formal, although its never safe to assume that a bridal shower at a private home is casual. Its a good idea to check in with the hostif youre attending an elegant garden party for high tea, showing up in jeans and Pumas would be embarrassing. Here are a few ideas for put-together looks suitable for a variety of seasons:
- A flowing sundress
- A pair of colored chinos and a structured top
- A pair of dark jeans, a boho blouse, and ankle booties
- A pleated midi skirt, a nice tank, and a linen jacket
- Include accessories such as:
- Sandals or wedges
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Summer Outdoor Wedding Attire
When choosing an outfit for a summer wedding, it is important to remember to look classy while staying cool. Flowy and breathable fabrics are the best choice for outdoor wedding attire in the summer because you will not overheat.
Summer is the perfect time to break out any bright and vibrant colored dresses you have in your wardrobe. It is important to remember to not underdress for the wedding. Even though it is hot out, a suit is the best option for men to avoid looking underdressed.
Basic Rules For Bridal Shower Fashion
While bridal showers can vary in terms or formality & theme, there are some bridal shower looks that will always fit the vibe:
- Dress to impress, even if the theme is casual
- Wear pastels, neutrals and bright colors to match the celebratory tone of the occasion
- Floral prints are a great go-to
- Wear something comfortable in case there are bridal shower games
- Accentuate a neutral dress or top with bold shoes or accessories
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What To Wear To Late Summer Wedding In 2021
Dressing up for a late summer wedding is probably the easiest. Or at least it would be if 2021 werent such a special year and you wouldnt have to spend more time thinking about the protective face mask you will wear with your wedding guest dress than about the shoes and the bag.
Whatsoever, I have you covered on your late summer wedding guest dress, the bag, shoes and even the protective mask. Here are the best late summer wedding guest outfit ideas for a micro wedding at home.
Ps. The emphasis is on the micro wedding. However, these are the best late summer wedding guest outfit ideas for any type of the wedding.
Admittedly there is more pressure on finding the right wedding guest outfit if you are going to a micro wedding. After all, you will be in almost every wedding photo. No, there is no way you could hide from the camera at the micro wedding.
Summer Vineyard Wedding Guest Dresses
Vineyard weddings are on trend this summer and if you have been invited to one, save either of these two wedding outfit ideas for a summer wedding in the vineyard.
10 COCKTAIL DRESS WITH SANDALS
For a wedding in Tuscany or a wedding in Champagne, wear an elegant short dress with sandals.
11 RED DRESS WITH BOOTIES
For a wedding in Napa Valley, or for a romantic wedding in Bordeaux, you can wear a red dress. Yes, you can wear a red dress for a wedding in the vineyard. But exclusively for a vineyard wedding, since a red dress implies a wedding guest was romanticly involved with the groom.
Whatsoever, you can wear a red dress to a wedding in a red wine region. You will blend in perfectly. Yet, stand out in this stunning red wedding guest outfit.
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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
Formal Evening Summer Weddings: Tuxedo
Black tie is really the only option for formal evening weddings that take place after 6pm. Heres a brief overview of what goes into a tuxedo:
- Black or midnight blue dinner jacket with matching trousers
- White French cuff shirt
- Black cummerbund
- White braces
Although its perfectly permissible in other seasons, summer is a great opportunity to wear a white dinner jacket with your black trousers.
While it feels quite in keeping with James Bond, the style when paired with a red cummerbund is known as Red Sea Rig. It was popular among British diplomats in the Middle East and they would often wear it without the jacket because of the heat.
If youre concerned that black tie is too stuffy or formal for guests, you can opt for things like black tie optional and creative black tie. These dress codes marry formal and informal in a fun way, which will take the pressure of your guests.