Do you hear the wedding bells? I certainly do! Over the past 18 months, things have been well, interesting. One of the things I think we can all agree on is how hard it must be on those who had to cancel, push back or alter their wedding. On the bright side, those weddings that were put on pause are now on the calendar! With that being said, every weekend has now been filled with events with specific dress codes. I am here to help untangle the confusion of what the dress code means!
When you first start planning your outfit, there are a few things to consider and research. You first need to distinguish the location. Are you on a beach, outdoors, or at a traditional wedding? Keeping the location and the climate of the wedding you are attending in mind is essential! When considering the climate, remember the terrain you will be walking in also! Finally, you need to look at the attire specified on the invitation and do not go outside of them. The dress code is not a suggestion. Now, let’s get into what to wear!
As the weddings we are discussing are in the summer, the weather will most likely be warmer. If you are wearing a strapless or sleeveless dress, conder taking a shawl with you to cover your shoulders and protect you from the sun. I recommend a light cotton or linen material! If you will be walking on a beach or at an outdoor area, stick to block heels and elegant sandals. Absolutely no flip-flops! To stay cool and looking stylish in the season, stay away from dark, heavy fabrics. Search for a light and bright dress, jumpsuit, or pantsuit that will not stick to you and that is appropriate for the season. A great place to look for dresses is Rent the Runway! You can get a high-end dress for a fraction of the cost!
Alrighty, now where are we are headed? For a beach wedding, the attire can be pretty confusing, so I recommend doing your research first. Once you have determined if the ceremony is on the actual beach or on a rooftop or patio, you can then begin to plan out your outfit. If the wedding takes place on a rooftop or patio, you do not need to change what you are wearing. If the attire simply says beach attire, then assume the dress is semi-formal. Go for a maxi dress that is a fun print, breathable and flowy. However, be sure to avoid a loud pattern that distracts from the bride! Beach wedding vibes are fun, comfy, and casual so choose an outfit accordingly. Some great dress styles include wrap dresses, high low dresses, long dresses that just barely drag against the sand.
If the wedding takes place directly on the beach, it is essential you get the shoes correct! Do not wear pumps or stilettos! Go for a block heel or a dressy sandal. Short one-to-two-inch block heels are very on-trend this year and are perfect for not sinking into the sand. To dress up a sandal, go for a design such as a bow on the front or metallic color. A great brand to consider is Gianni Bini from Dillard’s. Additionally, when dressing for a beach wedding, pick fun accessories! Try a woven or beaded purse, and consider adding a braid to your hair! After all, you are at the beach!
If the wedding is outdoors, you have more wiggle room on what you can wear. Similar to a beach wedding, you will most likely have to do some walking on unsteady terrain. In preparation for this, make sure not to wear a tight or long dress. Slip dresses and midi dresses are great options. Also, a floral print brings in a nice pop that allows you to showcase your style without looking like you are battling for attention with the bride. To make sure you don’t break an ankle, find a block heel or a wedge to complete the look. This will give you more surface area to balance on!
So the wedding is downtown and they specify the dress code. No worries, let us break it down! Formal or Black Tie is the most dressed up a bride and groom will ask you to get. You are expected to show up in a long gown that does not show your ankles. If the venue and vibe of the wedding appears to be less sophisticated, a dressy cocktail dress may be appropriate. Long shimmery fabric is a great dress material to keep it formal yet cool. Make sure not to wear black or anything too sparkly. Heels are expected to be worn, but try a block heel or a small one-inch heel if you are not comfortable in them. This will still allow you to dress the part but remain confident as you walk around!
Black Tie optional is just barely a step down from black Tie. Gowns going below the ankle are not a requirement, and cocktail dresses are more acceptable, but do be sure to make sure they are dressy. Jumpsuits and high-low dresses are also great options. If you want to have fun, a wide-leg pantsuit set is a modern take on formal attire! Although more freedom is given to guests on what they can wear as far as fabrics and patterns, this can still be a tricky category to navigate. If you are unsure of what to wear, always dress on the nicer end! Heels are also still requiring and as said previously but they do not have to be tall!
Accessories can be a saver in a Black-Tie optional wedding. It is effortless to wear a neutral dress that could quickly go fancy or casual with earrings! If you are really struggling with how formal you should dress, put a backup pair of earrings in your purse and switch them out if you feel like you should be dressed differently. Cocktail rings and statement necklaces are also great additions to bring elegance to any outfit! Gold drop earrings with a bit of bling are always classic and chic!
A semi-formal wedding is the most straightforward, in my opinion. The length of the dress is not as important as long as the dress is classy. Remember, this is a wedding and not a night on the town. Cocktail dresses or midi dresses paired with a heel or wedge are right on par. Jumpsuits and pantsuits are also fantastic pieces to wear to spice up the attire! Fun jewelry and fun prints are acceptable for a semi-formal wedding. Especially since it is summer, yellow, orange, or pink bring a fun vibe! To complete the outfit, add a hoop earring and a purse!
Personally, I think that casual can seem intimidating but ultimately is the easiest to wear. As long as you don’t wear any denim or cotton, you are good! I love casual weddings because this is when you get to pull out all of those dresses that you have been saving for brunch with the girls and put them to good use! Floral and flowy are two standards to stick to. Sandals and flats are acceptable, as long as they are not flip-flops, and wedges would be highly encouraged. Looking light and bright is key for a casual wedding!
Here’s to dancing the night away at your next wedding!