What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Wear to a Wedding

Everybody loves an excuse to dress up, and a wedding is a great reason to buy a new outfit, even if you aren’t part of the wedding party. You can shop sites like Azazie to find the perfect wedding apparel, or you can go searching for gems at the local thrift store that will help you look and feel fabulous while coming in under budget. It’s not always easy to find the right thing to wear, though. Between finding something flattering that makes you feel great and making sure you don’t violate any of the wedding apparel rules, it can take some effort.

Most people already know that no one but the bride should be wearing white or off-white to a wedding, but what else should you avoid wearing and what’s okay? Here are some tips to help you find the perfect thing to wear to a wedding without violating any wedding fashion rules:

Avoid Jeans (Unless the Theme and Venue Call for Them)

You might feel more comfortable in jeans than anything else, but unless the theme of the wedding and the venue specifically call for them, they should be avoided. While there are plenty of jeans that look nice for casual wear, there’s no place in a wedding for them. You might feel like it won’t matter much, but if the theme isn’t jean-friendly, then you’ll feel and look out of place—especially in photos.

Opt for Solid Colors and Basic Patterns

Everyone knows that they shouldn’t out-dress the bride, but they often take that to mean that they shouldn’t wear something white. In reality, it goes further than that—anything too bold or too flashy can draw attention away from the bride and groom, so it’s important to choose something that is a solid color or has a basic pattern on it. The color you choose to wear may depend on the season and the colors the bride has chosen for her bridesmaids (you want to avoid matching them if you can). Although you should dress in something that makes you feel great, you should avoid anything that draws too much attention.

Make Sure You Dress for the Venue

When you’re planning what to wear, you need to take the wedding venue into consideration. Will the wedding be outdoors in a backyard, at a country club, inside a wedding hall, or inside a church chapel? If the wedding is outdoors, you’ll need to account for the wind and other elements—you wouldn’t want to wear a skirt or dress that is easily blown up by the breeze. If the wedding is inside a church chapel, you’ll want to ensure that your chosen outfit is appropriate for a church setting.

Choose Shoes that You Can Keep on Your Feet

When you’re shopping for a new outfit to wear to a wedding, it’s tempting to buy new shoes to go along with it too. While a brand-new outfit is appealing, you might want to think twice about buying the shoes. At a wedding, you may be sitting during the ceremony, but you’ll be spending plenty of time on your feet too between the line, the refreshment line, the dance floor, etc. By the end of the night, you may be ready to throw those shoes away, even if they cost more than you should’ve spent.

Instead of torturing your toes like that, opt for a pair of shoes that are already broken in, totally comfortable, and you know you can trust to get you through the entire event.

Stick to the Dress Code

If your hosts put a dress code on the invite, then it’s important that you follow the guidelines and stick to it. If the invite says black tie, then you’ll want to rent a tux or get an evening gown that will meet the requirements on the invitation. If it says semi-formal, though, you will likely be able to find something in your closet. Most dress codes allow a certain degree of flexibility so you’ll still have the freedom to dress in a way that makes you feel best, but it’s important to make sure that you dress you choose or the suit you wear follows the guidelines.

Final Thoughts

There is a lot of etiquette surrounding what you wear to a wedding. Everyone knows that they shouldn’t wear white, (unless they’re the bride), but did you know that you should avoid bold patterns and multi-colored dresses and suits? It’s important to ensure that you follow the dress code on the invitation and ensure that you don’t overshadow the couple on the big day, but you still deserve to wear something in which you feel great.

What will you be wearing to the next wedding you attend?