Not only are we planning for our own wedding, but it’s shaping up that we’ll also be attending many over the next few months. With that in mind, I’ve been on the hunt to find a few staple dresses that will work at multiple weddings and also be appropriate for other events throughout the year.
The key to a good wedding guest dress is one that’s versatile. One that you could pair a low block heeled sandal with for a more casual wedding and also put on a fun pair of pumps and sassy earrings for a more formal occasion. That being said, your backyard barbecue dress will be different from the one you wear to a black tie affair, but you can have one that overlaps with a cocktail or formal wedding.
A few rules to follow when picking out a dress:
- This one is obvious, but honestly not only have I heard of it, I’ve seen it- don’t wear white. Just don’t do it. No matter how “chill” the bride is, it’s not a good look. Don’t even wear a color that’s too close to white (if you’re questioning- is this too close to white? It’s likely too close- think really light pastel colors.) If it’s a pattern and there’s a little white on it, that’s fine, but try to avoid it if it’s the main color of the dress. That being said, if you’re attending the rehearsal dinner or other wedding events, you probably shouldn’t be wearing white to those either. Not matter how good you look in white, avoid it, especially on the big day, looking at you Kelly.
- How short is that dress you’re wearing? You wore it clubbing and have to pull it down every step you take? Maybe leave that one in your closet. If your grandparents would be horrified seeing you in it, probably best to go with a slightly more modest option for this particular event.
- If the wedding invitation had a really clear color theme to it, try to avoid those colors as it’s likely the bridesmaids will be in one of them. This one is a little more of a suggestion than a rule, because you can’t be expected to buy a new dress for every event just because the bridesmaids are in navy and your go-to dress for weddings is also navy. But certainly something to keep in mind when planning. If the wedding invite isn’t clear on the color scheme, that’s okay, just refer to rule 1 and you’ll be ok.
- While I’ve been told in the past to avoid bright colors, I think this is a rule you do not need to follow, especially for summer weddings. It’s a happy occasion, so if you want to express your happiness for the couple with a beautiful dress that happens to be a poppy color, I say, go for it. Certainly don’t wear something that might upstage the bride (a red ball gown to a casual wedding) but if it fits with the formality of the wedding, I say you do you.
- When the wedding invitation says black tie, that usually means gowns for girls and tuxedos for men. Formal is usually more of the “black tie optional” wording, typically this means gowns or fancy cocktail dresses for ladies and suites for men, although everyone has their own interpretation of this. Cocktail attire, cocktail dresses for the ladies and suites for the gentlemen. While much less common, white tie is the most formal, this is very formal gowns for ladies (think red carpet worthy) and full tails for men. Often times the wedding website will have the info of what is expected for the dress code, and if it’s far enough in advance, it’s okay to ask the bride or groom, just don’t wait until a week before- they’re busy enough!
I’ve linked to all of the dresses in the widget at the top to give you some great suggestions for possible go-to wedding guest dresses for this season. Stay tuned for the men’s wedding guest attire coming soon and be sure to follow along on instagram– I’m always sharing sneak peaks and extra tips!