What to Wear to a Wedding

When deciding what to wear to your son or daughter’s wedding, it can be difficult to balance personal style and flair with the demands of tradition, the needs of the bride or groom, and the overall aesthetic of the event. The best way to manage all of these factors and make sure you are looking your best, is to carefully consider all of your options.

What to wear to a wedding: Dresses

Dresses are a more formal option and are certainly very elegant. However, because they are often viewed as the more traditional choice, many wedding-goers feel boxed-in by the perceived rules and regulation of wedding attire. What they need to learn is that no rule is set in stone when it comes to fashion. You might hear that certain colors, such as black or bright red, are off limits to the mother of the bride or groom, but practice has proven that a long black gown or a snappy red tea-length dresses that show off some bright colors can be absolutely stunning as well as perfectly appropriate at weddings today. Black in particular has become quite popular for dresses, as it radiates both grace and style while remaining formal.

What to wear to a wedding: Pant suits

Pant suits are a great alternative for those who value practicality but don’t want to sacrifice style. The reasons for considering suits are practically endless, but their comfort and convenience are definitely a leading factor. Aside from having pockets, pants will save you time and energy with everything from dressing yourself to making a quick trip to the ladies’ room. At the same time, pants are a good way to distinguish yourself from the bridesmaids but still stand out with your own personal flair. Best of all, you can reuse them after the big day!

Don’t think you have to look for pant suits that are specifically tailored for a mother of the bride. Designer or other brand-name suits will often serve as perfectly acceptable options, as long as they are in harmony with the wishes of the bride.

What to wear to a wedding: Shoes and accessoires

Shoes and accessories cannot be forgotten and are absolutely essential when trying to tie together your outfit. A stylish hat can be a perfect complement to the rest of your attire, and a few pieces of jewelry can really make you stand out. The thing to remember is don’t overdo it. While it can be fun to mix and match different accessories, you don’t want to outshine the bride herself, and wearing too much jewelry runs the risk of doing just that! Pick a few special pieces that will be perfect for the occasion and your outfit’s simplicity while shine through brighter than ever.

For shoes, comfort is key, but that doesn’t mean style has to go out the window. The perfect pair of shoes may be one of the most important factors when deciding what to wear. It is not necessary to stress over finding a pair of shoes or sandals that perfectly match the color of the rest of your outfit, instead find some footwear that you think will complement your overall look. If there is any time to spend a little extra money, this is it. Well-made shoes will be more comfortable and look better, and while you’re wearing them you will be glad you made the choice to go the extra mile in quality.

Of course, not all weddings happen in the traditional chapel setting and the mother of the bride or groom needs to be fully prepared for just about any environment their child can dream up.

What to wear to an outdoor wedding?

An outdoor wedding, such as in a beach or countryside, can be a challenge as it forces the wedding guest to balance formality against the inevitable thread of dirt, sand, and weather. Keep in mind that an outdoor wedding frees you of some of your responsibility to dress-up, but it is always good to maintain your sense of style where you can. Sandals are the perfect option for a beach wedding, and a more casual shoe will do nicely for other outdoor environments. While rain can be a definite deal-breaker, the wind should not be underestimated either. Longer gowns are inadvisable if this is a concern.

As you will be buying your wedding-wear months ahead of time, you will need to keep the season in mind. Whether indoors or outdoors make sure to dress warmly enough if the event will be held in cooler months, so you’re not shivering as the bride and groom say their I-do’s. In summer, short sleeves or spaghetti straps on a cocktail or tea dress are good solutions, and sticking with lighter, brighter colors will be a good strategy to complement the season. Softer fabrics breathe better and will be more comfortable in hotter months as well, so choosing the right material is crucial.

Smaller ceremonies change the rules a bit too, as they will tend to be less formal and thus offer more wiggle room when choosing a suitable outfit. Try not to overdress, as any flashy jewelry or dresses will stand out even more in a small crowd. An additional benefit of the smaller ceremony is it will be easier to coordinate with the other attendees, so do not be afraid of calling around to coordinate ahead of time. As always, keeping it simple and sticking to what suits your own look is the best route to take.

Most of all, when trying to make the right choice for wedding apparel it is important to get the go-ahead from the bride herself. It is her day after all. If you’re still unsure about the proper guest attire, either phone the person who invited you or wear something that you would feel comfortable wearing to the best restaurant in town. This is very important, as there will be lots of photos and socializing and hence you’re going to want to look your best. When in doubt, it is better to overdress than to underdress.

Got more questions about what to wear to a wedding? Is there any other etiquette or clothing that you’d like tips and advice on? Please get in touch with us.


  1. Joanne G says:

    Where can I find appropriate wedding guest attire for a 1930’s themed wedding. Would it be best to try and create my own outfit? Any help would be great!

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