Wedding guest style – do ya or don’t ya

Wedding guests

Wedding season is underway! I love it because I love to dress up. Dressing for a wedding can be tricky so I thought I’d put together a quick cheat sheet of dos and don’ts and some of my favorites to wear. I enlisted Aldo’s help for the men.

Do pay attention to the dress code if there is one. If a couple goes to the trouble of putting one on their invitation or website, follow it. If no dress code is listed, you can usually tell how dressy a wedding will be from the venue and your knowledge of the couple. Beach weddings are usually cocktail attire or dressy casual, while hotel weddings tend to be more formal.

Do dress comfortably. You want to look put together and stylish, but you also want to be able to enjoy yourself. For ladies, this includes shoes! Make sure that whatever shoes wear are the perfect mix of style and comfort. Wedges, mid-height heels, and dressy sandals or ballet flats are good options. If you really want to wear super-high heels, I suggest bringing a pair of flats in your bag for later.

Don’t wear white, unless the dress code calls for it. I have attended weddings where women have been in white, and it did upset the bride. Let the bride stand out on her day. You can shine as bright as you want any other day of the year.


Wedding attire – let the bride stand out

Don’t wear anything with holes or rips. This should be an easy one, but it happens. Even if you know the bride and groom wouldn’t care, it’s usually a good idea to stay away from it, even if it’s trendy. If it’s something that has ripped, find something else to wear.

Don’t wear anything that doesn’t fit you well. Ill-fitting suits, shirts, pants, dresses or jumpsuits don’t just look like sloppy; they’re also uncomfortable. You’ll be adjusting and tugging at your outfit all night. Also, if you wear anything too tight, you may be afraid to eat!

mens fit

Bad fit and good fit

Don’t wear anything overly revealing. Weddings are usually family celebrations, so if it’s not something you would wear in front of your grandparents, don’t dress that way in front of someone else’s.

Those are my wedding dress code rules. Here are a few looks to wear to a wedding this summer. The photos below are from our event fashion Q&A post. These are the outfits of choice, and it did take hours to put the pictures together the first time so I needed to dust them off one more time!

Black tie

These weddings require gowns and tuxedos.


Black Tie Gowns

For this, I shop around to find the right gown. They tend to be more expensive than other dresses so I look for classic styles that I can buy off-season at better prices, and I can wear more than once like the dresses shown in the picture. Lulus has gowns at reasonable prices, or you can rent them from a site like I’ve also bought from and an eBay store. I usually accessorize with a bracelet and large crystal Swarovski earrings


Black Tie Men

The standard is a black tuxedo, bow tie, and cummerbund or vest, and shoes like the ones from the Jared Lang shown in the picture. I rent tuxes when I’ve had to wear one. I use Baldwin Formals in New York. This year navy and white are trending for tuxes so that helps relax the code a little. Topman started selling tuxes in the latest trends.

Black tie optional / Formal

For men a dark suit and tie or a tuxedo, and for women, a long dress or jumpsuit.


Formal Men

I go with a navy or grey suit and tie, or I’ll wear a bowtie with the suit. I like my suits trim or extra trim fit, so I prefer British designers like Ted Baker or Topman, but it all comes down to personal taste and what works for you. Double breasted suits and plaid are in now. Nordstrom has an excellent guide for picking the right fit and style for suits and tuxes. Topman has good prices for suits, especially when they have sales.


Formal Gowns

I wear pretty much the same thing as I would for black tie because I love gowns! If you’re not into long dresses, or you love showing your legs, you can opt for a long one with a slit, like my blue BCBGMaxazria gown above, or go with an elaborate midi-length dress.

Semi-formal or cocktail event

For women cocktail dresses and men, a suit, and tie


Cocktail Dresses

I stick to jumpsuits or casual long dresses, but have forced myself to wear short dresses on a few occasions! I’m seriously surprisingly lazy with getting ready, so I will just wear my Swarovski earrings and maybe a bracelet or a statement watch.


I pretty much wear the same thing I wear for formal except for a tie. Like Sam, I also wear a statement watch, which is big this year. I wear one with everything.

Outdoor or beach

Light colored suits or jacket and pants for men, and summer dresses for women.


Outdoor or beach look

Maxi dresses are more my style, but short summer dresses and two piece outfits work really well here. So do jumpsuits without embellishment. I have mentioned my love for ballet flats, and Topshop has this great combination lace-up ballet flat.


outdoor beach for men

I wear a shirt and pants. I wear slim fit Calvin Klein Infinite shirts because they don’t wrinkle. I bought my first light colored suit, so I will see how much use I get out of it after the one event. I usually stick to driving shoes like these from Ugg, or slipons.

Casual / Informal

You can dress however you like but stay away from anything with holes.


You can allow your personal style to show through. I wear the same thing I would to an outdoor wedding.


I also wear what I would to an outdoor wedding but with smaller earrings and more casual hair.

These are some dos and don’ts and some style inspiration for weddings. What are yours?

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