Between avoiding the traditional taboos to the modern dress codes, picking out a wedding outfit can be a daunting task.
It’s officially that time of year: wedding season is upon us! Chances are you already have at least a couple of dates marked down on your calendar, however, this often leads to a very common question: how do you dress for a wedding? Whether it’s a distant family member or an old friend from university, dressing up appropriately is a form of respect for the bride and groom’s big day. Even if you don’t have any upcoming weddings, it’s always important to have at least a couple of options for when the occasion does arise.
Don’t fret! We’ve gathered 5 essential tips and styling tips for you not only to look great at that next wedding, but also be able to properly celebrate the happy couple on their big day.
The oldest rule in the book is also the most tried and true. Of course you want to stand out and you should, but it usually isn’t the best idea to attract too much attention away from the bride on her big day for what you’re wearing (or not wearing). As a general rule of thumb for most weddings, it’s wise to avoid loud patterns, brassy material or showing too much skin.
This should go without saying, but avoid the colour white at all costs! This colour is exclusively reserved for the bride on her big day, so it’s also a good idea to keep it out of your outfit completely. If, for some reason, you can’t avoid it, at least try to mix it in with other colours. Unless specified by the bride, you’re probably better off avoiding cream, off-white, beige or any other shade that could even potentially resemble a wedding dress.
Like real estate, dressing for a wedding is all about location. By this we’re talking about the wedding venue, which may also dictate what you wear to a certain degree. As more and more opt for less traditional weddings in favour of trendier and unique venues, there’s more to consider than ever before.
While dress codes should be communicated clearly on the invitation, each location calls for something different. The rustic and simplistic decor of barn weddings calls for a dress code that is more casual, while outdoor beach weddings have a vibe to them that is airy and relaxed and you should want your outfit to match this. On the contrary, weddings held in an elegant ballroom are worth going all out for and often have a strict black tie dress code, whereas if the ceremony is being held in a church, bring a shawl or cardigan to cover your shoulders.
With the photographer going around capturing the memories of the ceremony and reception, you want the focus to be on having a good time celebrating the happy couple instead of thinking about the discomfort from walking around all day or worrying about a wardrobe malfunction.
It’s worthwhile to invest in something you’re confident in and is comfortable enough that you can celebrate throughout the night (no, not your neon pink gym shoes). Rather, nice shoes that you will be comfortable in for at least a few hours at a time. Weddings are not like your prom, where you can leave your shoes under the table and head to the dance floor barefoot. It’s one of the few events where there’s more of an emphasis on the etiquette, style and class.
Similarly, ditch the large purse or bag and instead opt for smaller handbags, purses or clutches that you wouldn’t mind carrying around all day and night.
It’s also important to consider the season you find yourself in. It’s a given that the bride will be constantly refreshing the weather app leading up to her big day and you should too! If the weather looks dreary that morning, bring an umbrella. If you find yourself at an outdoor summer wedding, a hat may not be a bad idea.
No matter what season the wedding is in, a jacket can be your best friend at a wedding function. Colours like blush, black and tan are worthwhile accompaniments that seamlessly go well with pretty much everything and retain a formal illusion. On such a special day, don’t run the risk of something as ordinary as unexpected weather spoil your time. You’ll be happy you prepared!
While trends are certainly not a bad thing, it’s worth considering the element of timelessness of events as important as weddings. Remember, you’re not only dressing for the day, but also the happy couple’s wedding album as well, which will be viewed for years to come.
As mentioned earlier, check the invitation for any specific dress codes. However, opting for simple colours and patterns is never a bad idea, and they’re often seen as classic, chic and less distracting. Black was once too gloomy of a shade for guests to wear to a wedding, but today it’s perfectly acceptable. When in doubt, a simple black dress is the absolute go-to for many women, as it’s something no woman can go wrong with.
Similarly, don’t over-accessorize either. At events as traditional as weddings, opt instead for subtle embellishments that bring out the best in your outfit and features.