Deciding what to wear to a wedding isn’t always easy, and while brides are our forté, we’re here to help wedding guests with our pick of the best wedding guest dresses and outfits. There’s just one rule to wedding guest fashion: never wear white to a wedding!
Best wedding guest dresses and outfits
So you’ve made the cut, you’ve secured the invite (an even bigger feat thanks to those pesky lockdown wedding rules). Now comes the tricky part: deciding what to wear to a wedding. Luckily for you, we know a thing or two about weddings, so we’ve picked out some of our favourite styles, trends and high street bargains for wedding guest dress and outfit inspiration.
Dresses to wear to a wedding
For a contemporary twist on formal dresses, we’re loving the Spirit & Grace Ready-to-Wear collection. Think slinky silhouettes and ethereal flowing dresses, perfect for both a romantic intimate wedding or a wedding outside this summer.
Maternity Dresses for Wedding Guests
Shopping for fashion-forward maternity wear can be difficult at the best of times, but when it comes to wedding guest outfits, there’s a whole other kind of pressure.
Whether you’re an evening guest or you’ve made the cut for the whole wedding, you and your bump are going to want an outfit that’s not only comfortable but oozing in style. We’re lovings ASOS’ wedding guest edit, and these maternity pieces certainly top the style stakes.
ASOS DESIGN Maternity tie waist maxi dress
Wedding Guest Outfit Etiquette
- Avoid white if possible.
- Remember: less is more when it comes to make-up, hair styling and accessories.
- Opt for nude nail varnish. It matches any outfit and is less noticeable when chipped.
- Take a shrug, structured blazer or pashmina so you can party on into the evening when the temperature drops.
- Don’t show too much skin: legs or chest, not both.
- Most important of all, don’t upstage the bride!
Can you wear white to a wedding?
The answer to the question whether you can wear a white dress to a wedding when you are not the bride no – it is still frowned upon. This is because the bride should always be the one to stand out on her wedding day and one of the ways she does just that is by being the only one in the room wearing white.
Are there exceptions to wearing white to a wedding?
There are exceptions to the rule if, for example, it’s a non-traditional wedding. Are your friends having a non-religious wedding? The bride may be happy with you wearing white – but make sure you check first. Just because the bride is wearing a different colour, doesn’t mean you can assume white is ok.
You may be able to wear white to a wedding if it’s a patterned dress with hints of white, according to bridal experts. Just steer clear of full-length gowns.
Can you wear off-white or cream to a wedding?
We’re afraid that if the bride is a traditionalist, then off-white is also off the cards.
What is she opts to wear ivory, cream or champagne herself, and you’re accidentally matching her hue?
Can you wear black to a wedding?
You really shouldn’t turn up to a wedding in a black dress – you’re not attending a funeral.
But in recent years, the old adage that forbids wearing black to weddings has changed with some brides even dressing their bridesmaids in black.
If you do choose to wear black to a wedding, make sure your look is in good taste. The key is to choose a black piece that’s festive, formal, and special enough to not be mistaken for funeral attire.
7 Things a Wedding Guest Should Never Wear to a Wedding
What colours are not If you’re a wedding guest, this one’s for you! The happy couple have made the effort to invite you to the best day of their life, so please make the effort and dress accordingly. Here are seven things that you should never wear to a wedding…
White or ivory
This is probably the most important rule. Do not, we repeat, do not wear a white or cream coloured dress to a wedding.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just come back from the Caribbean and have the most fabulous tan ever and the perfect white dress to show it off – this shade really is off limits. Instead, wear something in a colour and leave the whites to the bride.
You really shouldn’t turn up to a wedding in a black dress – you’re not attending a funeral. If you don’t suit pastels, then go for a number in a striking emerald or scarlet.
Wearing grey to a wedding is okay, or a dark navy but black really shouldn’t be worn to a wedding. It’s also considered unlucky and you wouldn’t want to be a bad omen, would you?
Anything too loud
The bride and groom should be the focus of attention on their big day. That’s not to say you shouldn’t look your best and dress up for the occasion but you need to blend in, so that means not turning up in anything loud and garish.
Tiaras or sparkly headpieces
If you’re married yourself, you may have a tiara carefully wrapped up in tissue paper somewhere that you’re just dying to wear again. Well, forget it and keep your sparkly headpiece for a Christmas party or ball. Have a great up-do instead if it’s an elegant evening event – you can always wear a sparkly diamante clip or accessory in the back of your hair.
Jeans and a nice top
Remember, you’re going to a wedding where the bride and groom will have invested a lot of time and money in getting the day just right. So don’t come in anything too informal.
Make an effort. So no jeans, trainers, tracksuits – no matter how comfortable you like to feel. The same also goes for children, too.
Dress for the occasion
On the other hand, you don’t want to be too formal either. If the wedding has a country-style theme and it’s in a barn where you’re going to be sitting on hay bales, then a silk coat dress with matching hat and Jimmy Choos is probably a bit too much. Match your outfit to the theme of the wedding.
Remember it’s a Wedding, not a night out
Even if you’ve spent the last six months in the gym, you’ve lost a ton of weight or you’ve got a great pair of legs and want to show them off, you really shouldn’t wear anything skimpy to a wedding. So no hot pants, no super-short minis and no bras on display.
Guests should dress for weddings in an outfit that’s going to add to the occasion in a positive way. If you’re wearing a dress, ideally you want something below the knee or just above.
More wedding guest outfit ideas for all seasons
Whether you’re a wedding guest at a country wedding or a wedding by the sea, Little Mistress & Paper Dolls share their top wedding guest dresses and outfits for 2019…
What to wear to a traditional country house wedding
Go for brightly coloured botanical blooms in placement prints, blush pinks and flattering A-line shapes. Little Mistress’ new collection features the perfect dresses for this type of summertime wedding, keep styles short and playful but upgrade your look with delicate embroidery.
What to wear to a wedding by the sea
There’s only one key detail everyone should wear for a beach wedding… crochet! Appearing in bright blocks, soft china blue patterns and lemon yellows, this delicate design is cool, on-trend but laid-back enough for being beside the sea.
Make sure your look is bright and fresh and if you want to stand out from the crowd then go for Paper Dolls’ bold lace colour block number.
What to wear to a rustic outdoor wedding
For the more rustic, natural outdoor wedding embrace these feminine florals. Classic petal prints in baby pinks, creamy beiges and soft greys give out the down-to-earth vibe.
Not feeling a dress? Choose the on-trend culotte jumpsuit for something a bit more unusual but bang-on trend.
What to wear to a vintage or retro wedding
There’s always one quirky vintage or retro wedding in the calendar so think Grease-inspired full, bright skirts, flattering shoulder-exposing necklines and multi-coloured florals in fit and flare shapes for that all-important fifties glam.
If the swinging sixties is more your era then pick Little Mistress’ simple navy shift featuring the classic high neckline and oversized lace detail.
What to wear to a city wedding
Demure is the dream for that upscale city wedding, pick a midi-length in shape, add an understated floral placement or sophisticated lace for cool city style.