When I was 16 I got invited to my cousin Adrienne’s wedding. She was the coolest person I knew, and I was flattered to make the cut. Excited and a bit naive, I went to the mall to find the perfect dress for the event and came home with a strapless white sundress from American Eagle. My mom definitely regretted not coming with me but, despite her protests, I wore it to the March wedding, absolutely freezing the entire time, and oblivious to the fact that the bride and I were the only two people wearing white.
Since then, I have vowed to atone for the fashion mistakes I made on that day, and take dressing for a wedding very seriously.
Witnessing two people make the biggest commitment of their life is an honor. Even being invited is a big deal. It means they care about you enough to want you to experience their joy with them. But finding the perfect thing to wear, isn’t always so joyous. After all, aren’t there like a hundred rules about what to wear to a wedding? No black, no white, no cleavage, and should you get a hat? Is it the kind of wedding where you wear a hat?
Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts to make sure you look perfectly stylish and appropriate.
Wedding Fashion Do’s:
Consider the formality of the event
If the wedding is on a beach, versus, say, The Four Seasons, your dress code will be entirely different. A beach wedding calls for a more casual look- Think flowy, light-weight fabrics (Just not white). A wedding at a hotel, ballroom, or country club, on the other hand, may require a more formal look or even black-tie attire. Pay attention to the invitation, as it may provide details about the formality of the event: If not, try to read between the lines- is the invitation fancy or simple? where is it? when is it? Answering these questions and dressing accordingly will make sure you don’t feel out of place on the wedding day.
Dress for the weather
Be careful about what you wear to a wedding, since the entire event may not be in one place. The ceremony, the reception, the dinner, and other wedding festivities might be in different venues. Inside or outside or both, the weather can be unpredictable! This is especially true for any fall or spring weddings: Even if it’s inside, you may have to walk through rain or in the cold. Remember to wear layers, or at least bring a jacket or cardigan: Just make sure it matches your outfit and the mood of the event. Bringing an umbrella is always a good idea too.
Wear what you’re asked to wear
If you’re in the bridal party as a parent or bridesmaid, you may be asked to wear a specific color or dress. Regardless of how you feel about the said dress or color, be respectful and wear it. If you feel extremely uncomfortable, have an honest and kind conversation with the bride or groom. But ultimately – it is their day, and a fashion faux pas is better than hurt feelings.
Style your look
Just because you were asked to wear burnt orange or lime green, doesn’t mean your entire look is a lost cause. The right styling can make nearly any color or cut look great. Carefully consider your hairstyle, your accessories, your shoes. And if you need professional help, YBFF’s stylists are ready to help you elevate your look with our personal styling services.
Wedding Fashion Don’ts:
Don’t wear white
Unless there is explicitly a request for you to wear white, learn from my mistake and don’t wear it to the wedding! This color is reserved for the bride! Even shades of off-white or cream are off-limits. Black, however, is acceptable. While it used to be reserved for funerals, it is now considered appropriate for a wedding – particularly a more formal affair in the evening.
Don’t be too flashy
You can still make a statement. But anything too loud or bold could cause unnecessary attention not only the day of, but in the wedding photos. Aim to look classy and inject it with details that are unique to you. A great pair of heels, a bold lip color, or a cool pair of earrings can keep the focus on the happy couple, while still giving you the edge you seek.
Don’t forget to groom
Trim those loose ends, style your hair and makeup, and make yourself as presentable as possible. Chances are, you’ll be seeing some people for the first time in ages and you’ll want to look your best. This seems self-explanatory but it’s the fine details that need to be remembered sometimes. One more thing: For men, beards and mustaches are okay as long as they are neatly groomed.
Follow these simple rules and you will always know what to wear to a wedding. If you need a little more inspiration, check out these delightful dresses and don’t be afraid to reach out to one of our YBFF stylists. We’d love to help you style your look for the big day!