Deciphering wedding dress codes
Even if you’re well versed in wedding traditions, there’s a good chance that one bit of wedding etiquette gives you pause: exactly how to decipher wedding dress codes. After all, is it really a big deal if you wear black-tie clothing to a white-tie wedding? It’s all formal…but is ‘formal’ a different category altogether? And on a completely different note, how casual is casual? It’s enough to give anyone a headache, but don’t worry – this primer on proper wedding guest attire will tell you everything you need to know.
The first thing you should do to figure things out? Check your invitation. It will often tell you what type of wedding you’ll be attending. If not, or if the language is vague, check the couple’s website. While you can always fall back on classic dresses, some weddings do have strict dress codes that you’ll definitely want to follow.
What is the normal dress code for a wedding?
There isn’t one official dress code for every wedding, but you should always keep the following advice in mind when figuring out what to wear: “I want to look nice but not take away focus from the couple I’m celebrating,” says bridal stylist, Kennedy Bingham. That means sticking to styles and colours that aren’t too bold or too sexy – and certainly never wearing white.
Beyond that, if the invitation doesn’t specify a dress code, you should take into consideration the time of day the wedding is being held, along with the venue. “I think the later [in the day] the wedding is, the more formally it should be treated,” says Bingham. “A nice summer sundress might be fine for a breakfast wedding, but it would look out of place at a dinner party.” That line of thinking follows logically to the venue. For example, if a wedding is being held outdoors in a park or beach, you might want to opt for something a little more casual. While we’re on the subject, make sure you’re wearing comfortable wedding shoes that work for the setting.
What colours are not appropriate for a wedding?
The days of not being allowed to wear black to a wedding are over. In fact, bridal boutique manager, Ashley Grape, recommends wearing a classic little black dress (long or short) to black-tie weddings. However, unless specifically requested by the bride, there are a few colours that should never be worn by a wedding guest: white, cream, off-white, or ivory. You also shouldn’t wear a dress that looks even vaguely bridal. Other no-nos? Neon shades, bright red from head to toe, and anything overly sequined or bedazzled.