This is a question I keep being asked, continuously, how to dress properly to attend a wedding. In the present times, there are as many ways to marry as couples worldwide. The form of marriage today follows the concept of expressing the personality of the couple through a ceremony and / or a party. So, that is why we use to attend as guests in different scenarios, for example: a civil wedding, a wedding at the beach, a rustic wedding, or to a more traditional wedding in a church, or a wedding at any destination outside the country … even rare and daring scenarios, for example, a few weeks ago a friend of mine got married in a hot air balloon and broadcasted this event by Periscope. I found this form of marriage a super romantic idea, don’t you think?
There are tons of variables that influence our decision, indeed. I have summarized them in the 4 tips I put into practice to know how to dress for a wedding, and you will find them in this article. They will help you to decide how to dress, whatever your style is.
1. Talk to the couple
It is not the same going to a rustic wedding in the woods than attending an urban wedding in a big city, that’s a fact and you should take it into account; nonetheless, for me, “communication with the couple” is the key! So, go, talk to the bride and groom and take an interest in what they want to express with their wedding celebration. In addition to make them very excited to share with you the wedding preparations and their ideas to shape it, you will be collecting valuable information about the style that your dress needs for the occasion, an unforgettable day.
Is it a rustic wedding in the woods where only the closest friends will be invited and you will be spending a whole weekend doing activities in a cottage? If so, be advised against stilettos! And you’d better bring a suitcase with different clothes for the games (rest assured many games have been selected and prepared) and, finally, a cute evening dress for the party. Keep always looking for your authenticity, feel yourself, be yourself, there is no protocol at all here, in the rustic scenario celebration.
Or is it that, maybe, they have opted for an urban wedding, 200 guests in a room representative of the big City? If this is the case, then you will have to decant for a more formal look, now, in a more formal dress you will have less chances to show your uniqueness, as in the previous scenario that we just considered, and the reason is that this event will be very formal, meaning, there will be a longer protocol to follow in the event.
Take the following advises, they will give you practical ideas to carry on with your own style to show your best at the urban wedding.
Let me tell you, there are couples that prefer their guests to wear non conventional suits for the occasion, and they mean it, they are against them buying new suits and dresses. So, one golden rule to follow here, and please allow me to repeat it, is: communication! that is the key. So talk to the couple, but do not go to them asking: “how should I dress for your wedding?” as it is of a very bad taste asking something like that. But, as I was telling you before, authentically connect with them, getting involved in their wedding idea and preparation. What they explain you will give the key to start figuring out how to dress for their wedding.
2. Short Dress or Long Dress?
So you know what the protocol says, don’t you: “If the event is to be celebrated in the morning, wear a short dress, if the event is to be celebrated at night, wear a long dress”, well, let me tell you that’s an old fashioned saying, and it is so, precisely, due to the reasons that I was giving you in my first advice, in this article. I can tell you that many of my clients prefer to wear a long dress when attending to a morning wedding, they do it even for “morning rustic weddings” – something absolutely prohibited according to what the old fashion saying establishes – and the results are just spectacular! The key to such a success relays in wisely choosing the accessories that will get for your dress the appropriate look to the style you want to achieve. A long, vaporous or bohemian dress, with boho accessories, bracelets and necklaces of different colors or a wreath (which I deeply love!) and sandals can be ideal for this wedding day in a rural setting.
And, on the other hand, a short, tight black dress – or simply a dark-tone dress with lace or sequins, sort of Sophia Loren or Dolce and Gabanna style (style that I love so much!), is just a perfect styling for a sophisticated evening-night wedding.
So I reaffirm myself in that communication is the key of this matter, the success relays on knowing where and when the wedding will take place and especially what type of celebration have the couple decided it to be: will you be attending the nuptial ceremony or has it already taken place? Will there be family members or just friends? How will the bride and the groom be dressing themselves? One question that is a very revealing clue here, is, whether the groom will be wearing a conventional suit or if, conversely, he will be wearing more casual clothes.
3. What Color Should I Wear?
Another classic answer to this question we all are use to, undoubtedly, establish that: if you will go to a morning wedding, you must always choose light colors and for late-evening wedding, only darker colors. It is also recommended to avoid wearing in black at weddings, because of the fact that the black color is associated with mourning. I can not disagree more with this position, for me the black color is entirely appropriate for a wedding because it truly is one of the most elegant colors.
It is true that, in our society, from long time in the past until the present time, the black color has been considered, and hence worn, for mourning, while the white color has always been associated with the virtue of purity, but this rigid conception is not the worldwide rule. As a matter of fact, in ancient Egypt, as well as in the Roman Empire, the color representing mourning was red, because it is the color of blood. In many Buddhist countries, however, the color associated with death is white, not black.
So, I would never ever consider wearing black as an issue, in fact, I chose myself- and in all my senses – to wear a black dress for my sister’s wedding, it was all made of sequins and tulle insets, and let me tell you it was simply spec-ta-cu-lar!
A different matter is dressing in white, I mean, dressing in white for a wedding is a very delicate decision. I f you appreciate your life enough like not to die under the bride’s killing eyes, then I warn you against wearing in white, or in ecru tones, to her wedding, specially if you have already chosen a long dress to show yourself before her!
Nonetheless, it is also true that not all the brides in the wide world long for a white dress to rule for the most magic of their days. Many do not even care if some of their guests dared to choose the white color to attend their wedding. So, if despite of all my advice against wearing white, finally, you decant for this color, I encourage you to go and talk to the bride before buying, just for you to know how she will take this decision of yours. But please keep in mind that, if she gets hurt when listening to your white decision, you should be generous, it is her day and her groom’s day, and they both deserve to have all the attention and love of the world, is their Big Day, their great day.
Finally, the colors that I love deeply for the bride or groom’s sisters (who also are very special stars for that day and are pretty much involved in the preparation of the wedding, as well) are red and orchid color. It’s for these special stars that these strong and bold colors exist. Because if you are the sister of one of the couple, you also have the mission to highlight, so go and be that beauty at her/his side.
4. Your Accessories
As I previously advanced in tip number 2, accessories that you select constitute the touch that will bring to your style a real unique and personal look. Because accessories are usually what shape your style and give to your look the final character that will define your personal style to go to such an important event as a wedding is.
In all honesty, just as much as I dislike brides wearing necklaces or wristwatches (please not watches at all, no no!) I deeply love a pair of those antique grandma’s earrings, or your mother’s earrings combining in perfect match with a crown of flowers, or some delicate flower arrangement to dress your hair, such are the accessories that I like the most for a boho bride, yes, the touch of bohemian style. For a more classic bride, it will depend on the type of flowers and flower-arrangement she decants for, her style may change greatly.
And for rustic weddings, weddings at the beach, bohemian and original weddings, for all these non conventional scenarios – no doubt for me! – I totally fall for flower crowns and flower accessories like bracelets, earrings and ethnic collars or handmade accessories. I also love the old brooches and vintage accessories made of precious stones style.
You can also decant for another type of arrangement like, for example, you can superimpose a layer of tulle over your dress, or lace it up to give it an original touch and modernize a simple basic dress you may like pretty much. This is a good way to recycle a valuable piece of clothing that is lying there in the bottom of your closet, also this method allows you to save some money not having to go and buy a new dress.
I hope you found these advises of mine very useful, they have the purpose to help you go and take the correct decision about how to dress for a wedding. And as for you, what advise can you give to me? How do you come to define your stylish to attend to a wedding? I would love to read your comment, you can place it right bellow this section, rest assured I read and answer them all!
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Big hug, I’ll be with you next week!
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Hi! I'm Mireia, creator of Mimètik Bcn and designer of women’s dresses for bohemian weddings. As you can see on my website, I am in love with the bohemian, feminine and natural style. And with the lace! Here I share real weddings of our brides and tips and inspiration for your rustic wedding and event. Have a look at my new bridal collection and bridesmaid and evening dresses.