Updated: Sep 23, 2018
What are you supposed to wear. The etiquette for proper wedding guest attire can vary greatly depending on the style of the wedding. You'll have to become a little bit of a detective, but fear not. There are clues everywhere.
Start off with the invitation. Is it in flowing engraved black script on a heavy cream paper with formal language? Odds are the wedding will be similarly formal. Does it cheekily ask you to come see them get hitched? Wedding guests should look for a nice casual outfit. And of course, it may tell you directly on the invitation - black tie, casual attire etc.
Think about where the wedding is set – if it's outdoors avoid anything that will get caught in the wind – you won't want a battle of wills between the wind and your modesty! Also, avoid high heeled shoes that will sink in the sand or in the grass. If it's in a hot location avoid the suit and go for a breezy dress to help you keep your cool. Indoors at the country club or fancy restaurant? Make your outfit slightly more tailored and dressy.
a fun floral dress a skirt and a sweater set with slingback shoes. (H&M has some surprisingly affordable and stylish skirts right now that will work for a daytime wedding) a light coloured suit – try to stay away from black, navy or anything that looks like you're going to the office. a beautiful hat that coordinates with your outfit.
In the summertime, a light-coloured suit, especially linen or seersucker. Winter weddings call for warmer clothing, including wool suits, a navy blazer with charcoal pants, and perhaps a sweater and tie underneath a blazer. A dress shirt, tie and dress pants is acceptable, but dress it up with a blazer if you can. If the invitation says formal, wear a dark suit. Tuxedoes are not appropriate before 6 pm.
dress as you would if you were going out to the theater or to dinner. a cocktail dress – nothing too sexy but something fun to dance in. Black is fine. a dressy suit or a cocktail suit wear darker colors and look for something sophisticated avoid beads or sequins unless the invitation specifically says black tie
a dark suit is always appropriate If the invitation says casual or semi-formal, you can wear a blazer and slacks with a nice tie.
A cocktail dress, perhaps to the floor
If you have a tuxedo, or just like wearing one, by all means do so Otherwise, wear a dark suit. Dress as formally as you can.
a formal dress, usually to the floor bring out those beaded purses, fancy wraps and formal jewelry that's been waiting for an occasion such as this black tie weddings almost always involve dancing, so don't wear anything too constricting
a tuxedo is the only appropriate thing to wear. If it says creative black tie, he should still wear a tuxedo, perhaps with a black shirt or collarless white shirt.
White. (This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some cream colored clothing. Just be careful not to upstage the bride.)
Black to a daytime wedding
Anything too sexy or revealing
Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small for you!
Anything sleeveless or strapless to a religious wedding. Bring a wrap to cover your shoulders.
Wedding Guest Style for Her Informal Daytime: Short dress or suit (business attire OK for morning weddings) Informal Evening: Cocktail dress Semi-Formal Daytime: Short dress or suit Semi-formal Evening: Cocktail dress Formal Daytime: Short dress or suit. Hats and gloves optional. Formal Evening or Black-Tie: Long or dressy short cocktail (beading, glam accessories, wrap) Ultra-formal or White Tie: Long gown, extra glitz (furs, diamonds, etc.)
Do's and Don'ts for Her Don't wear white because it competes with the bride. There are plenty of other colors available. Don't wear black or sequins during the daytime. Don't worry about wearing the same colors as the bridesmaids or mothers. You can't possibly coordinate with everyone in the wedding party. Do wear something feminine and appropriate, out of respect for your hosts. Clubwear, overtly sexy clothing (strapless, see-through, etc) doesn't belong at a wedding. If you have to ask if it's appropriate, it probably isn't. Don't wear opera-length gloves (to top of arm) with anything but sleeveless or strapless gowns. Do take off gloves to eat or drink. Do use good judgment if the invitation doesn't specify the formality of the event. A pastel suit or soft floral dress for daytime or a little black dress for evening (after 6 p.m.) will take you almost anywhere.
Wedding Style for Him Informal Daytime: Dress shirt and pants, preferably a sports jacket. Informal Evening: Suit Semi-Formal Daytime: Suit Semi-Formal Evening: Dark suit Formal Daytime: Dark suit and tie Formal Evening: Tuxedo (if invitation states "black tie") or dark suits if women wear short dresses. Ultra-formal Evening or White Tie: White tie, vest and shirt.
Do's and Don'ts for Him Don't try to get cute with a tuxedo. A black tux with white shirt and black bow tie is the best way to go. If "Creative Black Tie" or "Texas Formal" or some sort of other vague formal description is used, then going with a tux and black shirt, no tie, might be acceptable. Also, trendier cities like Sydney and Melbourne might be more accepting of breaking with tradition.
Do wear a dark suit, with a tie if the wedding is after 6 PM, and doesn't say "Black Tie."
Don't wear a tuxedo during the day time, regardless of how formal the wedding. Do use good judgment if the invitation doesn't specify the formality of the event. A dark suit and conservative tie will take you just about anywhere.