Outfit Do’s & Don’ts: Wedding Guest Edition

Outfit Do’s & Don’ts: Wedding Guest Edition

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The average wedding has 120 guests attending, and sooner or later, you’re going to be one of these individuals lining up for your slice of cake and making a move on the dance floor.

When it comes to what to wear to a wedding, things have been getting more and more casual over the years. That said, it makes sense to keep some general tips in mind. This will make sense not only for your comfort, but to steer clear of some pretty easy to avoid embarrassing moments. Here are five outfit do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind as a wedding guest this year.

Don’t Get Creative if it’s a Traditional Affair

Though years ago it would have been a clear “Are you going to a funeral?” faux pas, today, many wedding experts agree that it’s acceptable -- even chic -- for guests to wear black dresses. Skip the little black dress or daring J.Lo inspired piece when it comes to more traditional affairs. If you’re not sure about the tone of the event, don’t be afraid to ask the bride, or someone close to her (maid of honors usually have a good idea of what’s up).

Don’t Wear White

There’s a number of occasions where wearing black might be appropriate. Don’t be the girl that shows up in the white dress, though, unless you’ve gotten the bride’s go-ahead to do so. Not only can it be confusing for guests who may not know the bride as well as the groom (and do you want to be congratulated for someone else’s wedding?), but it will draw attention away from the couple and towards you, on their special day -- and not in a good way.

If You’re Not Sure, Go Glam

Sometimes it can be hard to tell just how formal an event or dress code is. Brides trying to craft cute wedding invitations can sometimes make things more confusing with unfamiliar terminology -- what’s a “autumn tie affair,” instead of a black tie affair, after all? Is it okay to wear flip-flops to a beach wedding? The Knot recommends that guests not sure of the tone should err on the side of elegant, rather than casual.

So What DOES Black Tie Mean?

It’s a term that’s become somewhat outdated, in the sense that few of us understand it fully, yet it still pops up on invitations galore. For women, a black tie event typically denotes an evening gown -- floor length, or a formal cocktail dress (not the nautical striped one that you occasionally wear to the beach). For men, this means wearing their nicest suit. These days, no one’s going to look twice if your dress is a little less “formal” than expected, but you should respect the dress code and think twice before showing up in your maxi dress or casual khakis.

Opt for Comfort Over Chic

It’s tempting to plan your outfit around all the (often professional) photos that are going to be taken. However, you’ll have the best experience at the wedding you’re attending if you’re not sweating into a near faint, or constantly having to itch yourself. For summer weddings, opt for breathable fabrics like cotton and linen, and not materials that will stick to your skin and prevent sweat from evaporating, like polyester or rayon. Opt for outfits that are flattering but not so tight or constraining that you have difficulty moving around the festivities. It’s a good idea to bring a cardigan with you in case of changes in the weather conditions.

Overall: Choosing your wedding guest outfit doesn’t need to be hard. And if you choose well, it will likely be something you can wear over and over for many ceremonies to come.

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