Choosing between dresses to wear to a wedding is one of the most difficult clothing decisions. You want to look your best, but you also don’t want to outshine the bride. You need to find the right attire to match the style of the wedding, but sometimes the dress code is not immediately obvious. There are ways to figure out what will be acceptable, which will help you to select the ideal outfit.
1. Traditional Wedding
If you receive a classic wedding invitation — on cream paper, written in formal language — you can expect a traditional wedding. Bear in mind, the wedding may be either inside or outside, meaning you need to research the venue. In the case of an outdoor wedding, you need a dress that can withstand wind. If weather is likely to be hot, stick to light materials.
For an indoor traditional wedding dress, pick something smart and tailored. For religious settings, remember to cover your shoulders if you choose a sleeveless dress.
Other considerations are what time the wedding is taking place. For daytime wedding dresses, floral and gingham prints are ideal as well as lacy dresses. Never wear black.
In contrast, for evening weddings, black is fine. Choose a dress that you would use on a special night out, while also making sure it is comfortable enough for dancing. Avoid plunging necklines, high hems and anything sexy.
2. Black Tie Wedding
When the invitation specifies that the wedding is black tie (even if it says black tie optional), there is an extra level of formality involved. Choose a floor-length cocktail dress or formal dress. Black always works, as do shimmering tones. Dresses can even have sequins or beads.
3. Beach Wedding
Although a beach wedding is likely to be less formal than a traditional wedding dress, you may still like to dress up. Pick something light and attractive, like a maxi dress. Opt for either pastel tones or bright colors, depending on what suits you best.
4. Informal Wedding
If the wedding will be more of a gathering of friends than a big event, you are free to wear a more casual wedding dress. However, you still need to pay close attention to your outfit.
Choose a dress you find comfortable and that expresses your personal style — something you would wear to go out with friends. Whatever you pick should fit well, be free from holes, stains, and tears, and not be too revealing. Again, you also need to consider whether the wedding is taking place during the day or in the evening, avoiding black for a daytime wedding dress.
At an informal wedding, it is common for the bride to wear a color other than white. However, this is no invitation for you to wear white. It is best to even avoid cream-colored dresses and those with a pattern on a white background.
After you’ve picked your dress, it will be easier to find the perfect shoes. Use the same method to determine the right style of footwear, taking your dress into consideration to create the ideal outfit.