What To Wear To a Wedding: A Guide For First-Time Guests


Attending a wedding as a guest can be both exciting and stressful, especially if it’s your first time. If you’re part of the program—say you need to propose a toast to the newlywed—everyone’s eyes will be on you, so you need to look your best. On the other hand, you want to show respect to the celebrants and not draw too much attention to yourself. You don’t want to upstage the bride or groom or break dress code rules. 

Worry not since the fashion industry is going all out in helping guests cope with the rising number of weddings to attend. This is good news for guests having a dilemma about what to wear. Choosing the best dress for a wedding is crucial if you’re invited to this special occasion. To help you out, here are some tips for choosing the perfect outfit as a first-time guest. 

Consider The Dress Code 

The first thing you should do is check the invitation to see if the wedding has a dress code. It will give you a good idea of what level of formality to aim for. If not indicated in the invitation, it would be best to ask the couple or a member of the wedding organizers for clarification. The most common dress codes are: 

  • Black tie – This is the most formal dress code, typically reserved for evening weddings. Men should wear a tuxedo, and women should wear a formal evening gown or a long dress. 
  • White tie– This is even more formal than black and is rare. Men should wear a white tie and tails, and women should wear a long evening gown. 
  • Black tie optional – This means that you have the option of wearing a tuxedo or a formal evening gown, but it’s not required. In this case, you can still dress up, but you don’t have to go all out. 
  • Formal or semi-formal – You should wear a suit, tie, or formal dress. 
  • Cocktail Attire – This dress code is slightly less formal than black tie and is often used for afternoon or evening weddings. Men should wear a suit and tie, and women should wear a cocktail dress or a lovely skirt and top. 
  • Beach formal – This dress code is similar to semi-formal but is often used for beach weddings. Men should wear a suit or sports jacket and trousers in light-colored, linen fabrics, and women should wear a summer dress or a skirt and blouse. 
  • Casual – You can wear something more relaxed, such as a sundress, khakis, and a collared shirt.  

Choose Appropriate Colors And Styles 

Even if the invitation doesn’t specify a dress code, it’s essential to consider the color tone or theme of the wedding. For example, a beach or casual backyard wedding will likely be more relaxed, so you can choose something more laid-back. On the other hand, a formal church wedding will require a more formal outfit. 

It’s also important to consider the colors you wear. While you don’t want to wear the same color as the bridal party, it’s best to avoid wearing white or off-white, as these colors are typically reserved for the bride. Black is also too dramatic, somber, and eye-catching, but not in a good way. Instead, opt for colors that complement the wedding’s color scheme or the season. 

Accessorize Wisely 

The right accessories can make or break an outfit. Choose shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for the venue. For example, stilettos might not be best for a beach wedding. A clutch or small purse is a good choice for carrying essentials, but leave room for the wedding program and any other items the couple might provide. 

In addition, choose jewelry that will compliment your outfit. It will help you complete a striking look. Remember to pick ones that fit the theme of the wedding. You can even use jewelry with color accents according to the wedding motif.

Don’t Forget About The Weather 

It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast for the wedding day. If it’s going to be hot and sunny, you should opt for lighter fabrics and colors. If it’s going to be cold or rainy, bring a wrap or jacket in case you get chilly. 

Consider the Wedding’s Location 

The location of the wedding can also influence your outfit choices. For example, a destination wedding might require more casual attire, while a traditional church wedding will require something more formal. 


Don’t Upstage The Bride Or Groom

While you want to look your best, it’s important to remember that the focus of the wedding should be on the couple. Avoid wearing anything too flashy or attention-seeking. It’s best to err on the side of caution and choose an outfit that’s respectful and appropriate for the occasion.


Attending a wedding as a first-time guest can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it can also be stressful if you’re unsure what to wear. It’s essential to consider the wedding’s location, theme, and dress code, as well as your style and comfort level. Dressing appropriately for a wedding will show respect for the couple and help you feel confident and comfortable throughout the event. With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to find the perfect outfit for your first wedding invitation.

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.