When your friend or family member tells you they’re getting married, your first thoughts are those of excitement and congratulations. Your second thought is, inevitably, “What I am I going to wear?”
Big occasions such as weddings can be a minefield when it comes to style, but don’t worry – I’ve put together a style guide to make sure that you don’t make any fashion faux pas!
Wedding Guest Etiquette – Style Dos & Don’ts
Wear black. This is one event when your LBD should stay at home! While it’s the perfect look at an evening black-tie party, head-to-toe black attire is usually reserved for funerals. In Europe it’s rather uncommon to see any women in a black dress at a wedding, in the States it’s more accepted. Personally, I find it inappropriate, and, in any case, summer weddings often are in some sort of outside setting. The only time you can pull off black at a wedding is if it is an evening event.
Flash too much flesh. Avoid anything that’s too short, too sexy or too tight (you can save your party dresses for girls’ nights out). It’s both impolite and cheap-looking to display too much. Instead, opt for simple cuts, knee-length (or longer) dresses, and flowy fabrics.
Go too bold. Animal prints, denim, sequins and anything that steals the show and puts you in the spotlight is too much. The focus should be on the bride.
Overdo the makeup. Most weddings start in the afternoon, so opt for natural and glowing makeup that makes you look fresh and pretty without looking like a mask – definitely no smokey party looks!
Save white for the bride. It’s the bride’s time to shine, so don’t even think about wearing any shade of white (cream, egg shell, powder, oatmeal, etc.).
Take note of the dress code. If it’s not been specifically stated in the invitation, check the location and look for clues. You can usually guess the theme by investigating the venue. Find out whether the dinner and the party are inside or outside, and adjust your outfit to that. Generally, smart formal attire is always appropriate.
Consider the location. There will be a big difference in your outfit choices depending on where the event will be. For example, for a beach wedding, a long, flowy, boho-chic dress with a flat embellished sandal can work perfectly, while for a city wedding a more structured short dress with sleek high heels is ideal. Countryside weddings are often held outside and involve walking on unpaved surfaces (grass or on a rocky hill etc.), so you want to make sure that your shoes and dress are comfortable enough to move around.
Check the weather forecast. Although there’s no way to know exactly how warm/dry it’s going to be, you can get a little prepared, and decide whether or not to take a little bolero or a stylish umbrella.
Embrace colors. Don’t be afraid to wear bright summer shades. While white and black are off the table, you do have the rest of the rainbow to choose from. BONUS TIP: It’s always a good idea to check in advance what the wedding’s “colors” are to ensure that you don’t accidentally end up looking like a “spare” bridesmaid!!
To discover the best colors & shades for YOU, click HERE.
Opt for comfortable shoes. Whether you’re used to wearing heels or not, make sure you break in your shoes before the wedding. If you don’t really “do” heels, pretty kitten or squared mini heels are great alternatives, or in some cases (especially with long dresses) you could even go for stylish flats . Again, think about the location! Outside weddings call for chunky heels (who wants their heels to sink in the soil?), and grass can stain suede or fabric shoes.
Always take a cover-up. Many wedding ceremonies involve going to church, so you need to be prepared to cover your shoulders if necessary. However, even if there isn’t church involved, it’s a good idea to be ready for the midnight chills.
Recycle an old dress. There’s no need to buy a whole new outfit every time you go to a wedding. Refresh a previously worn dress with new shoes and accessories - and make sure that the guests of the wedding you’re attending are not likely to be the same as the ones at the last wedding you wore it at!
You want to look stylish for one-off special occasions such as weddings, but what about during the rest of the time? Your day-to-day life is when the real magic happens – when you work towards your goals and achieve your dreams. Coco Chanel said:
If you want to make sure that you look your very best for when destiny comes calling, check out my Ultimate Chic Sheet, a fantastic download where I share all of my very best tips and advice to ensure that you look – and feel – your very best every single day of your life.
Veronika Nemeth is the Founder and Creative Director of The Stylish Female Society. She is a seasoned Image Consultant, Personal Branding Expert and Transformational (Life)Style Coach helping heart-centered women to find their soul-aligned style and create a magnetic presence online & offline by uncovering their true essence and revealing their inner beauty through their style.
Her mission is to inspire women to step into their power, live their own truth and shine their authentic light through being the best version of them.