Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 5

What to Wear as a Guest

So you’ve gotten your invitation, bought your gift, but what about what to wear? The etiquette for proper wedding guest attire can vary greatly depending on the style of the wedding. And to find out the style of wedding... we’ll first start with the invitation. Is it in flowing engraved black script on a heavy cream paper with formal language? Odds are the wedding will be similarly formal. Does it cheekily ask you to come see them get hitched? Wedding guests should then look for a nice casual outfit. And of course, it may tell you directly on the invitation - black tie, casual attire, themed, etc.

Next up, think about the wedding location and time. If it's outdoors it’s probably on the more casual side. Here are some tips:


Avoid anything that will get caught in the wind – it’s hard to hold on to your drink while trying to keep your skirt from flipping up.

Avoid high heeled shoes that will sink in the sand or in the grass.

Daytime Wedding Ideas:

  • a skirt and a sweater set with slingback shoes.
  • a fun floral dress or fun solid colored dress.
  • Strappy high-heeled sandals, wedges or flats.

Evening Wedding Ideas:

  • dress as you would if you were going out to the theater or to dinner or on a hot date with a conservative guy.
  • a cocktail dress – nothing too sexy but something fun to dance in. Black is fine.
  • wear darker colors and look for something sophisticated.
  • avoid beads or sequins unless the invitation specifically says black tie.

Black-Tie Optional:

  • A cocktail dress
  • A floor length dress


  • a formal dress, usually to the floor - think Oscars.
  • bring out that formal jewelry that's been waiting for an occasion such as this.


Daytime Wedding Ideas:

  • In the summertime, a light-colored suit, especially linen or seersucker.
  • Winter weddings call for warmer clothing, including wool suits, a navy blazer with charcoal pants, and perhaps a sweater and tie underneath a blazer.
  • A dress shirt, tie and dress pants is acceptable, but dress it up with a blazer if you can.
  • If the invitation says formal, wear a dark suit. Tuxedoes are not appropriate before 6 pm.

Evening Wedding Ideas:

  • a dark suit is always appropriate
  • If the invitation says casual or semi-formal, you can wear a blazer and slacks with a nice tie.

Black-tie optional

  • If you have a tuxedo, or just like wearing one, by all means do so
  • Otherwise, wear a dark suit. Dress as formally as you can.

Black tie

  • a tuxedo is the only appropriate thing to wear. If it says creative black tie, he should still wear a tuxedo, perhaps with a black shirt or collarless white shirt.


  • White. (This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some cream colored clothing. Just be careful not to upstage the bride.)
  • Black to a daytime wedding
  • Jeans
  • Anything too sexy or revealing
  • Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small for you!
  • Anything sleeveless or strapless to a religious wedding. Bring a wrap to cover your shoulders.

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