What to Wear at a Wedding: Wedding Guest Attire Etiquette

What’s appropriate — and what is not — when it comes to wedding attire?

Clothing sets the tone for a wedding — so much so that you can include the dress code right on the invitation. As a bride, it’s your privilege to guide the attire of your guests to keep in line with the kind of wedding you want.

A Hudson Valley bride asks: What’s appropriate (and not appropriate) for a guest to wear to a wedding?”

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The Wedding Guru says: Here are a few guidelines for guests attire:

For a casual outdoor summer or spring wedding:
Light colors, pastel prints, a sundress, or skirt and top are appropriate for ladies. Gentlemen should wear a suit and a shirt with a collar. A tie is optional, but preferred. If you’re having a formal garden wedding, make sure to include this on your invitation.

For a cocktail, after-five wedding: 
Ladies should wear a dress suit or cocktail dress. Men should wear a suit and tie.

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For a black tie wedding:
Men should wear a tux, bow-tie, or tie and the ladies can wear either a long gown or dressy cocktail-length dress.

Color etiquette:
Black is okay for after-five and formal weddings. White is a no-no, unless it’s a black-and-white wedding and/or when worn with other colors.

Major attire no-nos:
Shorts, crops, jeans, T-shirts, and thongs are unacceptable. If a guest is unsure of what to wear, a call to you will clarify any issues.

A good rule of thumb is for a guest to be respectful of your wishes, keeping in mind that you’ve made a lot of time and effort to have the kind of wedding you desire. If you feel some guests may need a tutorial, then ask one of your attendants to make a call and gently explain the attire guidelines.

For the complete lowdown on attire, check out HudsonValleyWeddings.com‘s article “A Guide for the Wedding Guest: What to Wear.”

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» More wedding attire questions
» More from The Wedding Guru
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2013

 

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