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Everyone wants their wedding to be incredibly special so they can remember it as one of the best days of their life. You can help make this come true by being an excellent guest and sticking to the dress code. Dress codes are there so that everyone not only looks fabulous and dressed to impress on the day, but so the bride and groom can look back on the pictures of the day with happiness. Wearing informal wear detracts from the occasion of the day and sends out a message that you couldn’t be bothered to put in any effort.

Flaunting the dress code can not only end up embarrassing and uncomfortable for you but also for the bride and groom. So for the uninitiated, here’s a few tips on what to do and what not to do when it comes to wedding dress etiquette.

What to Wear to a summer wedding

Image source: https://www.brides.com/gallery/what-to-wear-to-a-summer-wedding

Wedding guest dress: what not to wear

Some wedding invites will be very specific about dress code, which is very helpful if you’re unsure what to wear. However, many will not mention it at all and just assume you know what is appropriate. If you still aren’t sure, here is a list of things that you should definitely avoid.

  • Anything too revealing. Save the skimpy cocktail dress for a party and opt for a more conservative outfit. Dresses and skirts should be around knee length and cleavage should be covered. Wedding guest dress etiquette is all about not upstaging the bride, something you risk if you turn up with a plunging neckline.
  • Denim jeans. Even if the invite says the dress code is casual, jeans should be avoided and guests should choose some well-tailored trousers. Being overdressed is better than being underdressed.
  • Sheer or see-through material. Just something revealing, wearing something see-through will be embarrassing for both you and your hosts.
  • Flip-flops. Unless the wedding is on a beach, don’t wear flip-flops. If you’re going to a summer wedding and you’re concerned about having hot feet or don’t want to wear heels, choose a pair of stylish flats instead.
  • Animal print. Animal print or other loud patterns aren’t dressy enough for a wedding. If you love patterns, opt for something subtler like polka dots or stripes.
  • T-shirts with slogans. Whilst a new T-shirt might be appropriate wedding guest dress for very casual weddings, slogans don’t look good, especially if they feature words or images that people might find offensive.

Image source: https://www.weddingwire.ca/wedding-ideas/50-things-wedding-guests-should-never-do–c378

What colours to avoid wearing at a wedding

Unless otherwise specified, don’t be afraid to wear bold, bright colours to a wedding. They are celebratory and fun, and make the wedding photos look great. However, there are a few colours that should be avoided, starting with the most obvious…

  • White. Though the wearing of virginal white is largely symbolic these days, it is reserved just for the bride, so don’t be tempted to wear it. If white is your go-to for special occasions, try light pastels instead.
  • All black. Whilst some people don’t consider this a wedding guest dress faux pas, others do so avoid it just to be on the safe side. If you prefer dark colours try navy or dark green instead.
  • Black tuxedo. Just as the ladies don’t want to upstage the bride, men shouldn’t upstage the groom either. Your suit should be more casual than the grooms, whilst still being smart.
  • Sparkly. Over flashy metallic material or sequins can steal the spotlight from the bride. If you want a bit of sparkle, save it for your accessories.
  • Red. Red is the colour of passion which, in some people’s eyes, make it inappropriate for a wedding. If you aren’t confident that the bride and groom won’t mind it’s safest to avoid it.

Image source: https://metro.co.uk/2017/07/14/your-guide-to-being-a-great-wedding-guest-6778901/

Wedding guest dress rules you should always follow

There are a lot of things you should avoid wearing, so what should you wear? These basic guidelines will help you decide:

  • Dress up. Ultimately, you need to make sure you’re wearing something classier than you would in your day-to-day life, even if the dress code says casual. Jeans and trainers definitely won’t cut it.
  • Be comfortable. Your classy outfit needs to be comfortable enough for you to wear it all day. Make sure your clothes fit well and are suitable for dancing.
  • Think carefully about your shoes. If you know that your high heels will be hurting as the day wears on, bring a pair of flats you can discreetly slip into as the day wears on. Consider wearing flats all day if there might be a lot of walking or standing involved.
  • Keep warm. Even summer wedding can be chilly and there’s nothing worse than spending the time you have to be outside shivering. Bring a wrap or elegant cardigan.
  • Wear a hat. If the dress code is quite formal, take the opportunity to wear a stylish hat. How many other opportunities will you get?


Following these simple rules of wedding guest dress makes life easier for you and helps to make sure the bride and groom have a wonderful day. You’ll look the part and fit in with the other guests, whilst still having plenty of room for showing off your sartorial personality.

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