What to Wear to a Wedding: 15+ Pro Tips


Weddings are among the most festive occasions on anyone’s calendar, and they tend to be characterized by the statement, “I have nothing to wear.” Indeed, weddings can be as frustrating as they are exciting, mostly due to the wardrobe problem. Regardless of your relationship with the happy couple or role in the wedding, figuring out what to wear has got to be one of the toughest tasks ahead (at least, right before selecting a gift that hasn’t been brought by everyone else). Here are a few pointers to avoid committing a ghastly fashion faux pas at your best friend’s wedding.

What’s the wedding dress code?

The bride often lays out what she wants her guests to wear to her wedding to help you get an idea. The celebration can be a black-tie, semi-formal, casual, or even a costume affair. Remember the wedding is the bride’s big day, and therefore, her wishes for her guests are exceedingly vital.

Never wear white.

The biggest mistake you can make is to wear a white outfit for a wedding. Leave the white to the bride. By wearing a white dress, you take attention away from her, which is probably the worst thing you can do to a bride on her big day. You don’t want to keep being confused for the bride. Regardless of how lovely that white dress is and how great you look in it, you simply can’t wear it to a wedding! You also want to be extremely careful with shades of white, cream, or even shades of gold and tan. The bride may not be wearing white, but any one of these colors, and you can easily match the bride, making for an unpleasant occasion.

Don’t wear black.

On the other end of the spectrum is black, which again, has no business being in a wedding. Weddings are festive, and while some brides are even opting for black gowns, some more conservative and older folk from the families may find it wildly inappropriate. Black is associated with funerals, which is probably why you should think twice before donning that LBD to a wedding.

Don’t upstage the bride.

Shopping for a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding is fun, but don’t overdo it. A wedding isn’t the place to test your couture prowess, as you’ll turn everyone’s attention from the bride. Avoid shopping for a prom dress or gown with sequins, animal prints, patterns, and screaming colors. Leave those for the bride.

Accessories are everything.

Accessories can be your savior if you’re cash-strapped and can either not afford to go shopping or have to settle for something not too glamorous. A piece of jewelry from jewelry lab such as a nice pair of earrings, bracelets, statement neckpieces, or boho rings can transform your previously bland outfit to a head-turner without having to turn attention from the bride. Other accessories you can try include blazers, scarves, bags, hats, or a simple clutch. Such accessories will allow you to have a little fun with what you already have, enjoy sporting the latest trends, and of course, save some cash!

Avoid risqué outfits.

A wedding is a formal event. Even if the happy couple is the life of the party, you can’t afford to attend their wedding in see-through fabrics, sheer, plunging necklines coupled with miniskirts or crop-tops. You also want to avoid anything that borders on bizarre, such as neon-pink thigh-high boots. Remember that their parents and other distinguished family members and members of society may be present, and you don’t want to cause a scandal that could ruin the bride’s day. Even if you plan to enjoy the after-party, dress with the family of the couple and formality in mind first.

Don’t be too casual.

The next wedding fashion faux pas that borders on risqué would be excessive casualness. As stated earlier, a wedding is a formal event. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Wearing jeans and a checked shirt with flip flops is an absolute no-no. Dressing to a wedding like someone daring out into the sun at midday to grab coffee shows a lack of effort on your part, which may make the bride feel offended. Instead, use the wedding to show off a new outfit. If you don’t like dresses, then try on a fun pair of pants and a seamlessly-cut blazer to make a statement, yet a decent look. You can also try a simple dress with sandals to take a break from all the jeans.

Please put on some undergarments.

Strong winds often have no ‘manners’ and come when you least expect it. The slightest gust of wind at the wedding can make for a dreaded Marilyn Monroe moment that the bride might never forgive you for. Another culprit may be gravity. Yes, you might fall at the wedding, and your dress will come flying over your head. You can easily take it in your stride and have a good laugh. We shouldn’t have to say what will happen if you had a torn piece or nothing at all on.

If you have a well-fitting proper pair of undergarments, save it for occasions like these and put it on. By undergarments, we mean a proper, well-fitting bra and underwear. Also, make sure that straps and hemlines aren’t showing at the wedding. You can always try strapless bras if you want to wear an off-the-shoulder dress.

Don’t come over-prepared.

The wedding isn’t the place to bring your everyday tote while loaded with a water bottle, snacks, and the previous week’s work reports. Loosen up and shed the tote for a simple clutch or crossbody. Just bring the essentials, which would be cash, a business card or two, mints, and lipstick.

Consult the weather forecast.

What started as a brilliant day can quickly turn into a grey, cold, or even stormy affair. Ensure you dress for the weather, careful to bring with you an umbrella and closed shoes for sloshed pathways. Even worse would be a strong gust of wind at the beach, which will make you have to hold down your flowing sundress the entire day.

A better option would be to layer up to ensure that you’re covered for the chilly mornings and evenings, as well as the blazing sun in between. Put on a pretty cardigan, sweater, or cropped jacket over your outfit that you can easily slip off. If you opt to put on some leggings, ensure the dress you wear is long enough for when you take them off!

Take advantage of the summer cheer to wear colors.

Summer is the best time to show off the brightest pieces in your closets. Bring out the pinks, light purples, and blues, or whatever brilliant pastel you have hiding away. A wedding is a happy occasion; you don’t want to wear a charcoal-grey suit for one. Again, be sure to avoid wearing the same color as the bridesmaids, as you may end up being confused for one.

Consider the location.

Is the wedding being held in a barn, a beach, or a classy hotel? The attire, especially the shoes you wear, will determine the quality of time you have at the wedding, and there’s nothing more awkward than heels at the beach. You also need to consider if it will be a profoundly religious affair to ensure you bring a scarf for your hair and dress as per the laid regulations.

Stash some flats away in your bag.

Weddings are the perfect occasion to bring your highest heels out of hiding, but as time passes by, you’ll realize that walking in them hurts unbearably. To avoid turning the cheerful occasion into a disaster, put some strappy boho sandals or ballet flats in your bag to discreetly change into when your ankles get too painful. With your flats, you’ll also be able to dance away and have fun. After all, weddings are about celebration.

Wear false fur in the winter.

Weddings are all about glam and glitz, and there’s no better time to show off your false fur stole. You get to make a fashion statement while keeping warm at the same time.

Ask friends for their opinions.

If you’re confused about the appropriateness of a certain outfit for the wedding, then, by all means, ask a friend. Even better, ask someone who’s going. That way, you’ll have a partner in crime in case you commit a fashion faux pas.

Match your date.

If you’re allowed to bring a plus one, make an effort to match, especially if your plus one is your husband, boyfriend, or fiancé. You don’t have to go all out; just make some effort to coordinate your outfits formally.

Put on some light makeup.

Lastly, in addition to a great dress and comfortable shoes, put on some makeup. Weddings aren’t the place for layers and smoky eyes. Some sunscreen, a lip tint, and light eye makeup should do.

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.