Weddings can be stressful, even when the only job you have is to attend. The reason often lies in the clothes. With so many types of weddings, choosing what to wear can be confusing. Not every wedding obeys the standards, but most follow unwritten rules that guide their guests to the correct clothes hanger. To make the process easier and less stressful, consider the following tips when you dress for a wedding.
The White List
Unless you want the bride glaring at you as she walks down the aisle, it is best to stay away from white. Though this rule has relaxed some (for instance, wearing an outfit that has a little white is probably fine), donning an all-white or mostly white outfit is never a good idea.
White isn’t the only color you will want to avoid. If the wedding is during the day, black is often thought of as overly formal. This is because daytime weddings tend to be more casual than evening weddings.
‘Tis the Season
According to the Washington Post, dresses in tangerine, turquoise and hot-pink prints are the perfect choice for spring and summer weddings. Daytime, warm-weather weddings are also a wonderful time to break out the wide-brimmed hat; if the wedding is at night, consider a lightweight sweater to protect yourself from cold air. If the wedding is in winter or fall, consider wearing colors that are a bit more muted, such as dark reds, browns and grays.
Location, Location, Location
Location is another factor that can influence your dress. If you are attending a beach wedding, for example, wearing heels is probably inappropriate; instead, opt for a nice pair of sandals. Also skip the stilettos if the wedding is on a lawn; wedges will give you height while keeping you from sinking into the earth. If the wedding is outdoors, try to also avoid any outfit that could be caught in the wind, such as a flowing skirt. If you are attending a church wedding (or if the marriage has religious undertones), don’t wear anything too revealing. For these events, it’s better to stray toward a conservative appearance.
Check the Invite for Clues
Many wedding invitations spell out what you need to wear. They may ask that you dress very formally (in this case, the invite will read “black tie”) or informally (in this case, the invite may read “casual dress”).
If the invite doesn’t specifically state either way, you may be able to make an educated guess based on the invitation’s style: something trendy with linen paper may indicate a more casual wedding, while vellum and velvet could imply something dressier. Specifically, the wedding is likely formal if the language is traditional, the paper is thick and the writing is black script. In this case, men should wear tuxedos or nice suits and women should wear long, formal dresses. These formal weddings are also ideal for fancy wraps and sparkling jewelry. The wedding is likely not as formal if the language is playful and if the invitations are fun. In this instance, men can wear a dress shirt and khakis, while women can wear a pant suit, an informal dress or a skirt.
You should never make assumptions that lead to drastic dressing without asking first. For instance, if the wedding falls on Halloween, never assume you and your spouse will fit in when you show up in costume. Also, unless otherwise instructed by the bride and groom, avoid going “all out” for a themed wedding.
According to USA Today, Brides magazine reports that the average couple spends nearly $27,000 on their wedding. Thus, the wedding is really about them—and you can help keep it this way by honoring their wishes.