Your invite has arrived in the mail, and it is so exciting. Then all of a sudden, all you can think about is what are you going to wear?? That is what I am here for. I will be sharing my 10 top tips that will make you prepared, completely relaxed and stress free when it comes to choosing the perfect outfit!
So firstly lets talk about the one basic that all guests need to know….. Can I wear white to a wedding? Yes, you can! If you are the BRIDE! Otherwise, it is a really nice big NO, you cannot wear white to a wedding! Now in saying that, your dress or outfit can have white in it, but pretty please, if your outfit is made up of mainly white, leave it in your wardrobe for this one day. It is amazing how many times I have heard, “oh but I really love it and really want to wear it”. And that is great that you love it, but the bride has also found herself a beautiful white dress, and it is her day, so please let her be the only one in white.
As I have quite a lot of tips, advice, and tricks to talk about, I am going to give you my top 10, because I could go on and on and on! Haha! All of these tips are here to help you feel comfortable with deciding on what to wear. Weddings are fun, and really, the whole lead up, including picking your outfit can be fun too!
1 - Don’t be afraid of the dress code on the invite. It is actually there to make you feel more comfortable with deciding what wear! It simply narrows down your options which is great! Below, I have listed the most popular dress codes for weddings and what they actually mean!
2 - Think about the location. This goes for the ceremony and also the reception. I like to think of it like this… The ceremony will determine my shoes, and the reception will determine my outfit! What is the surface that you will be standing on? Because if it is a lovely garden ceremony, I would suggest to wear a block heel or wedge, because if you put on your beautiful stilettos, all you will be doing is holding onto a friend and aerating the lawn! And, for where the reception is held and what type of venue it is, this will tell you a lot about the type of outfit that will suit, and also exactly how formal it will be.
Photography credit: Sleeping Grace
3 - Take a little time to think about who’s wedding you're attending! I know this sounds a little ridiculous, because of course you know who's wedding your going to, but I want you to think about what kind of style that they will have. Will it be vintage, boho, country, beachy, relaxed, black tie formal, an extravaganza etc. This is so important to know before you decide to either head to the shops for a new outfit, or dive into your wardrobe to find what you will wear, because knowing the style that they are, will really help you understand the kind of outfit to look for!
4 - Do I have to wear a dress? For some of you, you might be thinking, “please say no, please say no” and guess what? You're right! You do not have to wear a dress to a wedding! There are some old rules that people are gauging their outfit choices on, and this is certainly one rule that you don’t need to play by! If you still dress to the dress code, you could wear beautiful pants or a skirt and a top or even a jumpsuit. A dress isn’t always the best option, and honestly, the wedding couple have invited you to celebrate their day with them, you weren’t invited so they could see you in a dress. Be comfortable in yourself, dress to the dress code, and you will look beautiful!
5 - How much skin can I show? Okey dokie, this one really depends on the entire outfit, and also how much skin you're actually showing. A tip that helps, is to pick one of these to show off, your shoulders, back or legs. When you stick with simply showing off one, your outfit will look perfect, and wont look like you are revealing too much! Now, I didn’t mention cleavage because really, lets tuck them away for one night! Haha! Because in-your-face cleavage isn’t for a wedding, but nice and subtle cleavage can work perfectly.
6 - Picture perfect! This one is especially for the family of the bride and groom, but is also for guests too! Think about how your outfit will look in photos! For the family, more than likely, you are going to be hanging on their wall for the rest of their lives! So remember to choose something that will still look beautiful in the years to come. Also, when we think about having photos taken, be careful of the material you are wearing because the look of your outfit can really change in the photos! Especially if you are wanting to disguise certain areas of your body, because once that flash goes, or you're outside in natural light, the material can sometimes have the opposite effect to what you were hoping to achieve!
Photography credit: Sleeping Grace
7 - Does the couple have any cultural beliefs that can have an effect outfit choices? This one is incredibly important! You really need to know the couple who are tying the knot, to understand if there are certain colours, and even cuts of dresses/outfits that you need to be aware of. If you think that this might be the case and need more information about it, simply ask the bridal party, or a very close relative the to bride or groom. Because the couple have so much going on at this time.
8 - Are you a hot body, or cold body? This is especially important for if you are thinking of wearing a beautiful sleeved dress or you're going to be doing a speech, because if you tend to be a little nervous, you don’t want to get too hot! Wedding receptions can become very hot and humid, so keep that in mind when deciding on what to wear!
9 - Wear the appropriate underwear. This goes for the wedding day, but also the shopping day. I ask all of my clients that I take shopping for special events, to wear, or bring the underwear that they will be wearing on the day. The reason for this, is that you can actually see what the outfit will look like on. Not “oh if I have my big tummy suckers on, I might look like this” (as we stand there in the change room almost contorting ourselves to make us look like our stomach is flatter! Been there, done that! haha!) Or we are wearing a normal bra and tucking and hiding our straps away and pretending that its a strapless! Then we get home with this amazing dress, pop on our underwear, and it isn’t what we expected. For the sake of carrying it in your handbag for the few hours, it is well worth it in the end!
10 - Your accessories are your outfit too! Please don’t leave these till the last minute! Your shoes, clutch and jewellery is what finishes off your outfit, and they can make your outfit go from nice, to absolutely stunning! I always say that it is the smaller details that really count. Now, your shoes and clutch do not have to match, they just need to complement each other. For your jewellery, this really comes down to your outfit. Does your outfit really need a necklace? If you don’t think so, simply opt for some stunning larger earrings, and if you think it does, pop one on and wear a pair of understated studs or very small drop. And for some outfits, your dress can be really simple and choose a large statement necklace! This is why you need to think about the whole outfit, not just the dress!
Photography credit: Sleeping Grace
Wedding dress codes explained
Smart Casual - Sometimes these dress codes are for weddings held outdoors or on the beach, or if it is a very laid back style wedding. For your outfit, you could choose a skirt and top, maxi dress, day dress or pants and a dressy top. I like to think of it as though you could easily wear your outfit again, and also have the option to be able to dress it up, or down.
Semi-Formal - This one can really confuse people, but really, it is one of the best dress codes because it is exactly what it says, semi-formal! This is one that is important to check the location and time of the wedding. If it falls during the day, you could wear a lighter colour dress, and if it is in the evening, a more formal/darker/richer tones. Your outfit can sit right in the middle of Formal and smart casual. The other best thing about this dress code, is there will more than likely always be someone there who is dressier and also more casual than you, so you can fit nicely in the middle. Unless you want to be the dressiest, then go for it!!
Formal/Black tie optional - This one is just a little less formal than the black tie dress code. You can wear a long dress, dressy separates, or a cocktail dress.
Black tie - This is one of the most formal wedding dress codes. You can wear a floor-length gown, or a dressier cocktail dress. If you are unsure of the length though, please check with the wedding party or family to make sure a cocktail dress is appropriate.
Lastly, enjoy the day! You are there to celebrate two best friends, who are completely in love with each other, get married. Be comfortable, in your outfit, and also in yourself and simply, enjoy. You've got this, and you will look beautiful xx
This was created and written for the beautiful Holly at Something Special Photo Booth. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this with you Holly!
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