What to Wear to a Wedding

A wedding is a celebration in which a couple chooses to pledge their love for one another in marriage by solemnly exchanging vows. Weddings are one of the most important events to attend in your life. They’re often a time of joy and celebration, and you want to be sure that you look your best. This can be especially difficult when you’re trying to decide on an outfit for a wedding, as there are so many factors that you should consider.

Weddings are a staple of modern society. Spanning from extravagant to casual, there is no end to which a bride and groom’s wedding ceremony has not reached. The following is a list of guidelines for anyone attending a wedding.

What to Wear as a Guest to a Wedding

Guests at a wedding need to obey certain rules to ensure they look presentable and appropriate. The first of which is to choose clothing that is suitable for the occasion. Before shopping for the clothes to wear on that beautiful day, follow these tips.

1. Follow the Wedding Dress Code

The wedding dress code is a set of rules for brides and their guests. These rules are based on where the wedding is taking place. You must always follow the dress code being upheld at the site where you will be attending your nuptials. The custom of a wedding dress code has existed since so long ago and is a part of today’s society.

For instance, if the wedding is in a church, make sure your outfit is long and formal. If it’s extremely cold outside, you may want to consider wearing a heavy coat or wrap. However, a light dress or pantsuit would work best if it is warm. You can also wear dull attire if the wedding ceremony occurs during nighttime hours.

2. Be Consistent

Consistency is an important part of the wedding dress code. If the bride is wearing white, then all other women and men should be dressed in another color. It is suggested that everyone dress in the same attire, or at least close to it. You should also ensure that your attire matches who you will be standing next to. If you are married, make sure your clothing reflects this by wearing matching colors with your spouse.

Aside from these rules, there are also cultural customs such as women not wearing pants. If you are unsure what to wear for the day, then it may be best to call the bride and ask about what is appropriate.

3. Choose the Colors

This part of the dress code is one of the most important rules that guests should follow. A typical wedding consists of two colors: white and black or any single color that is not a shade of black, white, silver, or metallic. You can also wear two colors if you choose to do so. However, be sure to combine these two colors to make your ensemble look consistent with the wedding dress code.

For example, if the bridesmaids are wearing blush pink and baby blue dresses, the guest should wear something close to that. Also, make sure to wear clothing complementary to the color scheme.

4. The Length of the Dress

Another important part of the wedding dress code is how long the guest’s clothing should be. You should always follow this rule because it can help to make you look great. The length of your dress or pantsuit should fall just below the knee, and you can wear heels to fully complement it. It should be loose enough if you are wearing a jacket or blazer.

5. Shop by Seasonality

While it is not always important to adhere to the wedding’s dress code, it is helpful to shop by season. Men are usually dressed in a dark suit or tuxedo, depending on the style of the wedding. Even if the bride and groom have chosen to have a casual ceremony, guests should still wear appropriate attire according to the season. Here is some attire to wear according to seasons.

  • Summer Wedding

    For summer weddings, guests should wear light pastel colors. It is important to stick with shades of pink, blue, yellow, green, purple, and cream. Light blues and greens are especially fitting for such events as these colors can bring fresh feelings to the wedding. You can also wear neutral tones such as gray or white. These colors will make your skin look great in pictures and make you feel comfortable due to the warm weather. Also, ensure you choose light fabrics.
  • Fall Wedding

    Fall in the United States is a time to wear darker colors. Colors such as gray, slate blue, and brown work well for this season so long as the garments are not too revealing. If you are attending a fall wedding, it is also important that you avoid white clothing. If everyone in your family has been invited to the event, get them to follow this dress code to ensure that all of your guests have nice outfits.
  • Winter Wedding

    Winter weddings are pretty much the opposite of summer ones. When it is too cold to even think about wearing short sleeves, you should wear long-sleeved clothing and stick with darker colors to keep warm. Also, keep in mind that winter weddings are typically held indoors. You do not want to wear something too bulky and heavy because it can make you uncomfortable during the wedding.
  • Spring Wedding

    Spring weddings are about gathering together in warmer months to celebrate this special event. Therefore, you should wear warm colors and light pastels or neutrals that also reflect these colors. You can wear accessories such as earrings and necklaces to make your ensemble pop out.

5. Use the Wedding Venue as a Guide for What You Wear

You should consider the wedding venue before choosing the wedding attire.

  • Outdoor or Indoor Wedding

    If you are attending an outdoor wedding, it is unnecessary to dress in formal attire such as a tuxedo. However, if you are attending an indoor ceremony, it is highly recommended that you wear one. It will help to show respect to the site where this special day will take place.
  • Beach Wedding

    Wedding on beach
    If you want to feel comfortable and look beautiful on the wedding day, consider wearing shorts and a summer blouse or dress. The dress should be sleeveless, preferably with a scooped neckline. Wearing a hat will add extra flair, and your hair can be curled or worn down.
  • Garden Wedding

    Garden Wedding
    If you are attending a garden wedding, you should do the same as at a beach wedding. Do not wear a suit and tie unless the bride and groom have requested it. Instead, wear something casual and see if you have other accessories such as a hat or necklace that will complement your ensemble.
  • Evening Wedding

    If the wedding is happening at night, you should consider wearing more formal clothing to ensure that you look great in pictures. Women should ensure they wear a dress with a scooped neckline and use some accessories such as a belt.
  • Church Wedding

    Weddings held in a church or other religious location require you to wear a dress or suit. In the United States, it is customary to wear something that is long-sleeved and black and white.

6. Choose Shoes that Work

You should buy some shoes that look great with the wedding dress code before you attend the ceremony. You can wear various types of shoes with different outfits. For example, you can wear heels with a formal outfit and sandals with a casual one. Also, you should know the right shoes to wear based on the season. For winter weddings, you might consider wearing boots to keep your feet warm while going from place to place. On the other hand, for summer weddings on the beach, sandals are perfect because they allow your toes to breathe freely in hot weather.

7. Avoid Wearing All Black

If you attend a black-themed wedding, you should avoid wearing all black. Instead, choose an outfit with thin straps or a low-cut dress with a long necklace. Ensure you are well-informed about the dress code for the wedding you are attending. Black is known to symbolize death, so you want to be careful not to wear it at all.

8. Avoid Wearing See-through Clothes

If you are attending a more formal wedding, it is best to avoid wearing see-through clothing. For example, if the bride and groom have chosen to wear a gown or tuxedo, it may be inappropriate for guests to wear short skirts or dresses that do not cover the chest area. In any case, this type of attire is inappropriate for most weddings. Those who wear such clothing may have difficulty navigating through the party.

9. Remember to Check Your Accessories

Many wedding dresses are now made with accessories such as belts and headbands. These are usually purchased separately from the dress. It is important to check them before you wear them to a wedding. The accessories should match your clothing and complement it. You can also buy silver or golden necklaces and earrings. These can help you in completing your outfit and making a statement.

10. Avoid Wearing All White

If you are attending a wedding that features white, ivory, or beige colors, you should avoid wearing all white. You should wear something that complements the colors of the wedding and makes your outfit stand out without being overbearing. Also, wearing the same color as the bride or groom is considered inappropriate.

11. Know Whether to Wear a White Tie or Black Tie

Traditionally, men wear a black suit with a white shirt with a black tie, and women wear dresses, skirts, or pants with stockings or closed-toe shoes. However, most couples would like their wedding ceremony to be more casual. Therefore, wedding guests may wear a white button-down shirt, a suit, and a black tie.

12. Understand What to Wear to a Reception

Most couples have a choice between formal and informal receptions. For example, the bride may wear a cocktail dress or a full-length evening gown, while the groom can wear a tuxedo or a black suit. The type of reception will determine what guests should wear to complement the bride and groom’s attire.

  • If the wedding is a cocktail party, you do not need to wear semi-formal attire. You can simply wear casual clothing.
  • If the reception is a dinner, you should consider wearing semi-formal attire. For example, if the bride wears a floor-length gown with a black velvet jacket and veil and tuxedo, you should wear pants or slacks that fit you perfectly.
  • If the reception is an intimate dinner party, you should wear semi-formal attire such as a cocktail dress or prom gown.


Follow this article’s recommendations to help dress for a formal wedding. If you want to look great and feel comfortable on such an important day, you should consider wearing appropriate attire for the ceremony and receptions. If you want to wear a cocktail dress or short skirt, ensure there is no religious component to the service.