What to Wear to a Wedding – The Do’s & Don’ts

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OKAY so you’ve been invited to a wedding!! Yeahhh! Grab your plus one and get ready for some complimentary eats, drinks and dancing. Something that may not come to mind right away when you RSVP “going” on that invite is that you must also be a great wedding guest. This means acting and looking the part.

In styling clients this time of year, I notice that on the list of everyone’s needs is a special occasion outfit including one for graduation ceremonies, bridal shower looks and of course, what to wear as a guest to a wedding.

If you are invited to someone’s big day, congrats to you for being invited and congrats to the newlyweds. Here are a few quick tips to make sure you show up looking the part!

DON’T #1: The most MOST MOST IMPORTANT RULE of all time in wedding guest etiquette: Do NOT Wear White

So let’s say you’re at a store shopping for the perfect reception dress to wear at your college friend’s nuptials and wow, you spot a long off-white or close-to-white dress! Put. it. down. It is really sad actually how many folks still don’t know or understand the wrongness in wearing white or close-to on someone else’s wedding day. Think about it this way, that bride has invited her closest friends and family to her special day…one that she has been planning for a year or more (some brides since they were children). This is HER day to rock white, to be in white while every one around her is in color. While white has not always been the traditional color, in modern times it is anticipated that the bride does in fact, wear white.

Umm…this color scheme is a little too close for comfort. Wear a different color than the bride! (Unless of course, the bride is a Duchess and she asked you to wear the same color as her)

Umm…this color scheme is a little too close for comfort. Wear a different color than the bride! (Unless of course, the bride is a Duchess and she asked you to wear the same color as her)

DO #2: Try to Coordinate with the Bride’s Color Scheme

While this is not 100% necessary, it can be helpful if you are trying to narrow down what to wear. Sometimes when we have too many options to choose from, it can be harder to pick a great choice…so narrow your options to stick with the colors the bride and groom have picked out.

The easiest way to find out the colors of the wedding is to ask! If it’s a little too late to ask, take a peak at their invitations or their save-the-dates. For example, let’s say the couple-to-be sent out invitations that have sort of a “rustic” look or have wood or some other earth-tone in them. You could take this as a clue to stick to that color scheme as well and go with a green or even a burnt orange ensemble. Even a deep red would look stunning at a rustic-style wedding.

This is a version of my Save-the-Dates! My colors are black and white stripes so if guests wanted to coordinate, they could wear black or b&w stripes!

This is a version of my Save-the-Dates! My colors are black and white stripes so if guests wanted to coordinate, they could wear black or b&w stripes!

DON’T #3: Do not wear jeans.

This one I can speak to from personal experience. My college boyfriend wore jeans to my cousin’s wedding and my Dad was FURIOUS! At the time, I didn’t see my Dad’s point, but looking at pictures from the day, my boyfriend looked completely out of place and entirely under-dressed. Unless the wedding is uber-casual and the bride and groom have stated “jeans are appropriate”, ditch the denim.

See how the denim stands out in a not-so-good way? This isn’t a picture of my college boyfriend, but he’s just as guilty.

See how the denim stands out in a not-so-good way? This isn’t a picture of my college boyfriend, but he’s just as guilty.

Do #4: Focus on Florals

Florals, lace, tulle, etc are all textures and patterns found throughout the day. Bringing those patterns to what you wear as a guest to the wedding will go perfectly with the décor. Find a dress that has some flowers on it or maybe a lace skirt, it will be feminine and coordinated. Check out this dress I wore to a good friend’s wedding this past weekend. It transitioned from red to purple with black flowers with it as well. I got some excellent compliments about how I went with the bridal colors. With the 3/4 length sleeves and pleats, I felt classy, appropriate and ready to celebrate!

Colorful, fun dress paired with nude heels and a pink MK Crossbody!

Do #5: When in doubt wear red

Red is a great color in so many ways! It is flattering and it is the color of passion and power. Bill Blass said it best when he said “when in doubt wear red” and this can apply to wedding guest attire. I’ve spoken also with photographers about this as well, and Shay Ryan owner of Snap Happy Studio says that red is a “vibrant color to photograph” and her and her husband, Ryan, joke that “the red dress always ends up on the dance floor.” So basically, red in a classy and tasteful style is a wonderful way to go!

Pair a tasteful red dress with nude heels and accessories! A classic look for any guest at a wedding!

Pair a tasteful red dress with nude heels and accessories! A classic look for any guest at a wedding!

Do #6: Do not spend a ton on wedding attire!

These days, there are so many other options to purchase frocs at a discount rather than buying brand new and spending a fortune, If you do not already have an outfit to sport at upcoming nuptials, consider renting or even shopping second hand! Rent the Runway is a site you can literally rent dresses from and then after the occasion, you send it back. Or, my favorite– hit your local Goodwill boutique to search their special occasion section.If you’re in the Akron Ohio area, check out blue/ A GOODWILL BOUTIQUE/ in downtown. They have a HUGE selection of dresses for women and even an entire men’s section. I GUARANTEE you’ll find a great option!

I hope this advice helps you to navigate yourself yo a great outfit for a wedding you have coming up! I’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas on attire that has worked (or not) for you!

XOXO

Julie

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