Master Guide: What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest (2024)

Get expert advice on choosing the perfect outfit for every type of wedding celebration.

1. Decoding the Wedding Dress Code

The first step in selecting your wedding guest outfit is understanding the dress code. Adhering to the dress code ensures you'll fit in seamlessly with the event's aesthetic. Here are common wedding dress codes and what they mean:

  • White Tie: The most formal dress code, requiring a full-length gown for women and a tailcoat, black trousers, wing-collared shirt, waistcoat, and bow tie for men.
  • Black Tie: Men should wear a tuxedo, while women can choose a floor-length gown or elegant co*cktail dress.
  • Black Tie Optional: This dress code allows for a tuxedo or a dark suit for men, and a floor-length gown or co*cktail dress for women.
  • co*cktail Attire: Women should wear a knee-length or midi dress, and men can opt for a dark suit with a dress shirt.
  • Semi-Formal: For daytime weddings, women can wear a knee-length or midi dress, while men can wear a lighter-colored suit. For evening events, opt for darker colors and more formal attire.
  • Dressy Casual: Women can wear a casual dress or separates, while men should wear dress pants with a collared shirt and blazer.

2. Seasonal Wedding Attire

Seasonal factors also play a role in choosing your outfit. Keep these guidelines in mind for each season:

  • Summer: Opt for light, breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen, and chiffon. Consider sundresses, midi dresses, or short-sleeved shirts with dress pants.
  • Fall: Embrace jewel tones and rich fabrics like velvet and silk. A jumpsuit, maxi dress, or knee-length co*cktail dress is appropriate, along with dark suits for men.
  • Winter: Choose formal attire, such as floor-length gowns or tuxedos. Consider adding a faux fur shawl or wrap for warmth.
  • Spring: Incorporate pastel colors and floral prints in your attire, with knee-length dresses, suits, and floral accents.

3. Choosing Outfits Based on Venue

The wedding venue can provide additional clues for selecting the perfect outfit. Consider the following tips:

  • For outdoor weddings, choose sturdy footwear and weather-appropriate attire.
  • For religious ceremonies, ensure your outfit is modest, with covered shoulders and no hats.
  • Research the venue in advance to understand its style and dress expectations.

4. Wedding Guest Attire Do's and Don'ts

Here are some key guidelines to follow:

  • Do follow the dress code and consider the season and venue.
  • Don't wear white, unless specifically requested.
  • Do opt for appropriate attire, avoiding overly casual or revealing outfits.

5. Accessorizing Your Wedding Guest Look

Enhance your outfit with thoughtful accessories:


Another fantastic option for finding stylish wedding guest attire is Lulus, an online retailer that offers a wide range of affordable and chic dresses, jumpsuits, and accessories. Whether you're attending a casual beach wedding or a formal black-tie affair, Lulus has options to suit every dress code and personal style. Plus, their user-friendly website makes it easy to filter by color, length, and style, so you can find the perfect outfit in no time.


ASOS is a go-to online destination for fashion-forward wedding guests seeking on-trend and affordable outfits. The e-commerce giant carries a vast selection of stylish dresses, suits, and accessories that cater to a wide range of sizes and styles. With an easy-to-use website, frequent sales, and a generous return policy, shopping for your next wedding guest outfit on ASOS is a breeze.


If you're looking for something a bit more upscale and unique, BHLDN is an excellent choice. Owned by Anthropologie, BHLDN specializes in wedding and special occasion attire, offering a carefully curated collection of sophisticated dresses, jumpsuits, and accessories. While their price points may be slightly higher, the quality and attention to detail make BHLDN a worthwhile investment for those special wedding events.

Rent the Runway

Why buy a new outfit for every wedding when you can rent one instead? Rent the Runway is a popular service that allows you to rent designer clothing and accessories for a fraction of the retail price. With an extensive selection of wedding guest attire, including dresses, jumpsuits, and accessories, you can find the perfect outfit without the commitment of purchasing it outright. Plus, the convenience of their rental and return process makes it an easy and sustainable choice for wedding season.

Final Thoughts on Wedding Guest Attire

In conclusion, knowing what to wear to a wedding as a guest can be a daunting task, but with the help of our expert tips and the right resources, you'll be able to choose the perfect outfit for any event. Keep in mind the dress code, season, and venue while selecting your attire, and don't forget the importance of accessories and alterations to make your ensemble stand out. Most importantly, enjoy the celebration and take pride in looking your best as you share in the couple's special day.

Q: What should I wear to a wedding if the dress code is not specified on the invitation?

A: If the dress code is not mentioned, opt for a semi-formal attire. Men can wear a suit and tie, while women can choose a knee-length or midi dress. You can also contact the couple or the wedding planner for clarification.

Q: Can I wear white to a wedding as a guest?

A: It is generally advised to avoid wearing white, as it is traditionally reserved for the bride. Choose other colors that complement the wedding theme or season.

Q: Is it appropriate to wear black to a wedding?

A: Yes, it is acceptable to wear black to a wedding, especially for evening events or more formal dress codes. However, avoid overly somber outfits and consider adding colorful accessories for a touch of brightness.

Q: What types of fabrics should I consider for a summer wedding?

A: For summer weddings, choose lightweight and breathable fabrics such as linen, cotton, or chiffon to stay comfortable in warmer temperatures.

Q: Can I wear jeans to a casual wedding?

A: While casual weddings allow for more relaxed attire, it is generally best to avoid jeans. Opt for dress pants or khakis for men, and a sundress or skirt and blouse for women.

Q: Are there any specific colors I should avoid wearing to a wedding?

A: Besides white, it's a good idea to avoid wearing the same color as the bridesmaids or any bold, attention-grabbing colors that might upstage the couple. Choose subdued and complementary colors instead.

Q: What is the appropriate length for a dress at a formal wedding?

A: For formal weddings, women should opt for full-length gowns. If the dress code is slightly less formal, like co*cktail attire, knee-length or midi dresses are acceptable.

Q: Can I wear open-toed shoes to a wedding?

A: Open-toed shoes are generally acceptable for weddings, especially during warmer months or for more casual events. Just make sure your footwear is clean and well-maintained, and consider getting a pedicure beforehand.

Q: Should I bring a gift to the wedding?

A: It is customary to bring a gift to a wedding, either by purchasing something from the couple's registry or offering a cash gift in a card. If you cannot attend the wedding, it is still polite to send a gift.

Q: How do I know what size hat or fascinator to wear to a wedding?

A: If you choose to wear a hat or fascinator, opt for one that complements your outfit and is proportional to your head and body size. Larger hats can make a statement, but ensure they don't obstruct the view of other guests during the ceremony.

Master Guide: What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest (2024)


Master Guide: What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest? ›

Women should embrace wrap dresses, midi dresses or elegant jumpsuits. For men, if it's a daytime wedding, a light sport jacket, button-down shirt and relaxed chinos fit the bill. In the evening, go for darker colors, as later weddings tend to be more formal.

What should I wear to a wedding as a guest? ›

Women should embrace wrap dresses, midi dresses or elegant jumpsuits. For men, if it's a daytime wedding, a light sport jacket, button-down shirt and relaxed chinos fit the bill. In the evening, go for darker colors, as later weddings tend to be more formal.

What is the dress code for a guest at a wedding? ›

1) Do Consider the Wedding Dress Code

Black Tie: floor length gowns, black ties, tuxedos. Formal: floor length gowns, tuxedos optional, black suits acceptable. Semi-Formal: below the knee dresses, dress shirts, slacks. Casual: sundresses, collared shirts, khakis.

What is not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire, jeans, T-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally. Sabatino suggests that men show up in a jacket and tie, even when the invitation says casual.

How to look good as a wedding guest? ›

Also, we've got you covered with more wedding guest dresses and jumpsuits here and here!
  1. Don't wear white. ...
  2. Try to avoid wearing the bridal party's colors. ...
  3. Consider the season. ...
  4. Don't go *too* casual. ...
  5. Dress up your pants. ...
  6. Cover your shoulders when applicable. ...
  7. Avoid going overboard. ...
  8. Don't go against the dress code.
Dec 15, 2023

Can I have bare legs at a wedding? ›

I have advised readers that while bare legs are fine even at the most formal events, hosiery also is perfectly acceptable as long as it's skin tone and sheer. I've just returned from a wedding where I wore my new bargain ($10!) black sequined mini and consignment store jeweled black shoes (also $10).

What to wear to a 4pm wedding? ›

The staff suggests that if a wedding is taking place at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., you should wear something that easily transitions from day to night; any ceremony after 6 p.m. should be strictly co*cktail.

What colors to wear to a wedding as a guest? ›

If you're looking for something classic and timeless, dark colors like navy blue or black are always appropriate. For a more glamorous look, pastels such as lavender, light pink, or pale blue will add a touch of elegance to your outfit.

Can a guest wear black to a wedding? ›

"It is perfectly acceptable and chic to wear black to evening, black tie, and winter weddings." Ryncarz agreed that it is wise to gauge the attire of the wedding attendants. "When wearing black to a wedding, keep the outfit in line with the dressiness of the bridal party and wedding as a whole," she said.

Can I wear a black dress to a wedding? ›

Since nuptials are celebratory occasions, the dark hue was labeled off-limits for attendees in the past. However, in today's modern-day age, wearing black to a wedding is completely acceptable, and in many cases, it's even encouraged.

Why can't you wear red to a wedding? ›

"Tradition dictates guests avoid wearing red out of fear that it could take attention away from the happy couple,” explains Hurwitz. “Visually, it's quite bold. In a photo, your eye is immediately drawn to the color, especially if it's next to neutrals like white, black, gray, or beige.”

What to wear to a 5 pm wedding? ›

A morning wedding typically calls for casual dress, while a ceremony after 5 p.m. generally calls for formal attire.

Can you be overdressed for a wedding? ›

As the old saying goes, it's better to be overdressed than underdressed. Despite weddings today being overall less traditional and formal than that of older generations—black-tie is optional these days, as is wearing a tuxedo or dark suit—no one wants to arrive to the venue in sneakers to see everyone else in heels.

What should a 60 year old woman wear to a wedding? ›

Fit-and-flare Wedding Guest Dresses For Women Over 60

Fit-and-flare dresses whether knee-length or longer are chic and flattering. It has a defined waistline and fits closer to the body but is not too tight which makes it uncomfortable. This forgiving silhouette fits every body type.

How to look elegant and classy at a wedding? ›

Pick light, pretty colors but don't wear white, being mistaken for the bride is awkward. Light blue, beige, peach, sunset orange, and lavender are good colors. Wear a tuxedo or a suit, depending on how formal the wedding is. If it's a small, outdoor wedding, wear a smart suit.

Should you wear makeup as a wedding guest? ›

The trick is to keep things minimal so that you don't outshine the bride in any way. While many enjoy wearing makeup, especially for a special event, it's not a requirement. If you don't like wearing makeup, it's totally okay to reach for a light-tinted moisturizer and tinted lip balm and leave it at that.

Is it okay to wear black to a wedding? ›

Since nuptials are celebratory occasions, the dark hue was labeled off-limits for attendees in the past. However, in today's modern-day age, wearing black to a wedding is completely acceptable, and in many cases, it's even encouraged.

What to wear when you don't know the dress code? ›

A blazer is dressier than a cardigan. A shaped knit top is dressier than a plain t-shirt. For those days that jeans don't feel appropriate, it's time to transition to actual pants (here are my picks for casual pants that aren't blue jeans). But other than that, the outfit formula doesn't change much.

What is the dress code for smart casual? ›

Smart casual is an approach to dressing professionally that mixes trendier pieces in with classic staples. The goal is an appearance that's clean and professional but doesn't look too formal. You want to look pulled together but a bit interesting and approachable.

What to wear to a summer wedding female guest? ›

Casual Summer Wedding Attire

But don't forget this is an important event. Showing up in shorts and a T-shirt is not a good idea. For women, think pretty, flowy dresses paired with sandals; an open-collared shirt, chinos and boat shoes are great for men.

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