This post has been one of my top posts and I am so glad that I have been able to help people with their fashion choices! I was inspired to do a follow up post with outfit ideas – click here to see that post.
It amazes me how many women have no idea about what to wear to a wedding and how many women get it sooo wrong.
Working in a clothes store with formal and cocktail dresses, I often have people come in looking for something to wear to a wedding. I often show people different styles around the store that would be suitable for a wedding. Sometimes people are already in the change rooms trying outfits on and it’s not until they come out of the change room and ask me “is this ok for a wedding?”
I’ve also witnessed some wedding-attire-no-nos at weddings – I’m often shocked and amazed people think it’s ok to wear that to a wedding. So I’ve decided to do a post on what to wear, with a few ideas for anyone who still remains a little clueless.
1. Do not, I repeat, do NOT wear a white dress.
Doesn’t matter if your dress is short or fitted. It is the brides day to wear white. The bride should be the only one in white (and maybe her bridesmaids). Maybe she won’t wear white and maybe she will wear champagne colour or a pink shades… But it still doesn’t matter. You NEVER wear a white dress to a wedding. It’s a sign of disrespect to the bride. Everyone will look at you with secret disgust. Just don’t do it.
2. Do not wear a tight/short/revealing dress. It’s a freakin wedding, not a nightclub. You look like [insert various derogative words] wearing this kind of dress to a wedding. Even if your main aim is to pick up/pash someones face off, you can still look great in a different kind of dress – ever heard to leaving something to the imagination? Besides, a lot of weddings are held in churches so it would be disrespectful to wear this. And on another note, there are a lot of nice, fitted dresss that can be sexy and that don’t display all your assets…
3. Do not wear a playsuit. Sure, play suits are cute and a lot are very pretty, but it’s not the right occasion. Most play suits have very short shorts, so as per rule 2, they would be too revealing and inappropriate for many wedding settings. It would be best to leave your playsuits for nights out or music festivals.
4. It is ok to wear black. A lot of formal and cocktail dresses that are very elegant and pretty are completely appropriate for a wedding. It used to be considered disrespectful to wear black, or bad luck, but the majority of people are ok with this now. For example you could wear a gorgeous long chiffon dress. It may be a black lace overlay with a cream satin fabric underneath. There’s even some really nice fitted dresses that would work for weddings – Just make sure you don’t break rule number 2.
5. It is also ok to wear pants or a skirt and top combination. Just make it look formal enough for a wedding. And once again, don’t wear anything too revealing. Keep it classy.
Read the Invitation
6. Check the location of the wedding. Different locations might mean different kind of dressing. For example a beach wedding it’s more acceptable to wear less formal attire. But if it is going to be held in a ball room then it’s likely to be a formal dress code. Which brings me to my next point…
7. Stick to the dress code. These days a lot of people put the dress code on their wedding invitations. Often you will be told formal, semi formal, cocktail or smart casual. Or the invitation might say something specific to wear. I went to a wedding where guests were asked to wear races hats and fascinators. Going without this attire would have been disrespectful to the couple, and you would have felt out of place.
8. Wear accessories – But keep it simple. Generally, some nice dangly earrings or an embellished bracelet or a necklace will do the outfit justice. If you have a dress that is a one colour or is a little more on the casual side, then adding some bling jewellery will actually make it look really dressed up and quite nice.
9.Choose the right footwear. Personally I would wear heels. After all, its a special occasion. You can wear flats bu I would only recommend this for casual or beach weddings.
If you do wear flats, make sure they are clean, shiny and possibly have a nice embellishment on them. For example, there’s lots of sandals that would look really nice for beach weddings.
If the wedding is outside, be careful about wearing heels with a thin heel as they could sink into the ground and ruin your heels. There’s a nifty little invention that you can stick onto the bottom of your heel to stop you from sinking into the ground. You can always remove this when you go inside for the reception.
Alternatively, wear heels with a chunky heel on them. If you choose to wear wedges, pick the right onces for the venue. Cork or straw style are more informal but can work well for costal and beachside settings. Suede wedges may work better for winter weddings.
Just remember that you will be in these shoes for the whole day so make sure they are broken in and comfy.
10. Wear the right underwear. Another thing that so many women get wrong. If you need to wear a strapless bra, make sure you have the right one and it actually FITS you. If it doesn’t work with the dress, try using a stick-on bra – such as the ones sold at Bras & Things or on ASOS.
A lot of dresses these days come with built in bras so you may not need to wear anything at all. And make sure you can’t see your panties through the dress. Don’t wear black nickers if you have a pastel coloured dress. If it is a fitted dress, make sure you have seamless underwear. Some people might even use body shape wear like Spanks to make sure everything looks right.
11. Make sure everything works. Make sure the bag and heels go with the dress. Well this isn’t necessarily a rule, but if you want to look nice, just try on the dress with the heels and bag to make sure everything works together. Same with jewellery. And underwear.
Here is a picture of myself and some friends at a wedding in November 2012:
As you can see, we are all formal and dressed to the occasion. This photo may look like I have broken my own rule #1 but I assure you this is just the photo! The dress was beige-gold and brown. But ever since seeing that photo I will not wear it to a wedding for fear of it being too close to the colour the bride wears!
Some Final Tips
- Wearing the same colour of the bridesmaid dresses can be a tricky one. Some brides find it rude if you wear the colour of their bridemaid dresses. Some don’t care. A lot of people have a colour theme and use the colour of their bridesmaid dresses on the invitations. If you aren’t sure, check with the bride.
- Don’t leave it until the last minute. When you are rushed and stressed you will often make impulse purchases and regret it later. You may very well make a bad choice of clothing. You feel under pressure to get something, so you grab the first thing you see. But rather, you should make sure it fits well and is appropriate. So when you get an invite, start thinking about what you want to wear.
- If all else fails ask for help. When you go shopping, take someone with you who has been to a wedding before or knows the couple. Take a picture of the outfit and ask the bride. Ask the retail assistant (they are there to help and if they don’t want to then take your business elsewhere). You will always find someone willing to help you out.
- Make sure you are comfortable in what you are wearing. For example, you don’t have to wear a long dress if you feel more comfortable in shorter dresses. If you are not comfortable it will definitely show. Just keep it classy, modest and appropriate.
At the end of the day, a wedding is a special occasion. There’s only a limited amount of weddings that each person will go to. Why not take take this as an opportunity to get dressed up and be fancy?
If you want some ideas on wedding outfit ideas, click here for the follow up post on outfits for different wedding locations and themes.
Bye for now,
All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post
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