Dresses for Wedding Guests: What Is and Is Not Appropriate?

However informal you dress normally, dresses for wedding guests need to be proper. Standing out from the crowd is NOT the thing to do at a wedding

As we dress more and more informally for relaxation and enjoyment, it’s still a tradition to dress fairly formally when attending a friend or family wedding. 

Even women who aren’t usually seen in a dress or jacket might dust off a smart dress for this special occasion.

So, unless you want to discover you’ve been named as wearing one of the worst dresses for wedding guests ever seen, heed the following tips:-

Colors NOT to wear – Your wedding guest outfit should NEVER feature the same color as the bride.  Hence wearing white (or cream) is pretty much out, however much you may love your pretty little white dress. Basic wedding etiquette dictates that you do not outshine the bride.

Clothes NOT to wear – if you’re someone who’s glued into her jeans 365 days of the year, it’s time to pry yourself out of them and find something else to wear.   Also, you don’t want to wear any show stopping wedding outfits (see image above) that detracts attention from the happy couple.

To reveal or not to reveal – a wedding day is not the occasion to wear your revealing low cut top or your skirt slit right up the side.  Dresses for wedding guests are expected to be somewhat modest, as you want to allow the bride and groom to take their rightful place as the center of attention.Fascinator in wedding guests hair

Hats or fascinators – some weddings it’s only close family that wears hats, though it’s currently quite fashionable to wear a simple fascinator in your hair.

Wedding accessories – it’s fine to wear some jewelry, take a small clutch or handbag to hold all the necessaries of the day such as confetti, tissues, camera, phone, etc

The only real exceptions to this are when it’s a beach wedding, when many of the normal rules are relaxed due to the more informal setting.

If you’re in any doubt about what types of dresses for wedding guests are appropriate to wear, simply get in touch with the bride or groom (whichever invited you) and ask!

Mens Wedding Outfit etiquette

For gents, a smart (ironed) shirt, tie and a pair of smart trousers, teamed with shoes (no sneakers, however cool), is usually fine.  It’s a pretty straight forward wedding guest outfit by comparison!


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