We’re starting a new blog series, all about wedding etiquette for those who may have limited wedding guest experience, may be a bit rusty, or perhaps you’re a couple planning your own wedding and have some questions! This is for you! It’s especially for the Millenials who generally have much less exposure to weddings and therefore very little knowledge of appropriate wedding etiquette than previous generations. Got a question? Ask away in the comments and we’ll be sure to address it in a future Wediquette Wednesday post!
Today’s subject is appropriate guest attire for all seasons and all formality levels because there are lots. Am I right?! So consider this your personal mini guide for being super stylish, on-trend, and definitely appropriately dressed for any wedding or really any milestone celebration for that matter.
Really quickly, using one of my favorite TV show’s titles, What Not to Wear: all white or very pale neutrals (unless specifically instructed), too casual attire (jeans, shorts, tee shirts), or too sexy attire (too tight, too short, very low neckline or back). The wedding is about celebrating the couple and therefore all eyes should be on them, not you.
Level: the most relaxed
Examples: beach weddings, backyard weddings, dare we include ho-downs?
Him: chinos or lightweight dress slacks and a button down. Tie and sport jacket or sweater are suggested but not required
Her: fun sun dress, informal cocktail dress, trendy separates. Go with lightweight and lighter colored fabrics
Level: playful, fun, bold – a new label for an event that will be full of vibrant personality!
Example: Bright colors, bold patterns
Him: suit with fun accessories – think ties, pocket squares, statement shoes, even spunky socks
Her: cocktail or party dress in playful styles. Statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets (arm party!), a pair of adorable heels are definite yeses.
Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual
Level: just a tiny bit fancy, a majority of weddings
Example: interviewing on Wall Street, going out for a night on the town
Him: suit and tie, darker colors for an evening reception, lighter colors for a daytime reception
Her: cocktail dress or a long skirt and top on the dressier side
Black Tie Optional/Invited or Formal
Level: fancy, dress to impress
Example: prom, anyone?
Him: a dark suit with a conservative tie is acceptable as the couple understands not everyone will own a tux and it may be impractical to rent one, but the wedding will be formal enough that a tuxedo is equally appropriate
Her: floor-length dress is suggested but alternatives are formal separates/suit or a formal cocktail dress. Glam makeup & hair-dos are a yes!
Level: pretty darn fancy
Examples: wedding will be very elegant, classy, dressy
Him: tuxedo, formal white button-down, and a black tie. A black cummerbund and patent leather shoes are also suggested
Her: formal floor-length dress in a heavier or high quality fabric and tasteful color or print
Level: the fanciest of fancies
Examples: a royal wedding, walking the red carpet, a White House ball
Him: black tuxedo and jacket with tails, white tuxedo shirt, white vest and bow tie, and black formal shoes. Gloves and top hat not required but can be worn. Pocket watches are a great accessory.
Her: floor-length formal evening or ball gown, high-glam accessories, even long gloves will fit in
Regardless of season, neutrals are always a safe bet with gray, cream, tan, white, navy, black. The following are suggestions, not hard and fast rules!
Colors: pastels, soft and muted, warm tones (yellow, orange, pinks, purples)
Fabric weight: any weight fabric is acceptable for both women’s dresses and men’s suits, for warmer days mid- to lightweight and cooler days a heavyweight
Colors: light and bright in addition to spring colors
Fabric weight: lightweight dresses and suits
Colors: jewel tones (emerald, sapphire, ruby), festive (red, yellow, orange, brown), muted summer colors
Fabric weight: again, dependent on expected weather, any fabric weight acceptable so long as it matches formality level
Colors: deeper/darker, cool (blue, green, purple), festive (red, green)
Fabric weight: heavier fabrics will keep you warmer but you can also get away with lighter weight fabrics if it’s a floor-length dress or more formal suit.
GO-TO WEDDING ATTIRE SOURCES
Stick around for a future installment of Wediquette Wednesday where we’ll show you how to understand just about everything from studying the wedding invitation!