Wedding Guest Etiquette #6 - Chooose the Right Dress

DO pay attention to the dress code

You don't want to be underdressed for the wedding, so dress appropriately. Even if it's a casual event, always wear a dress, skirt, or a suit. A wedding event is not a place to show skin, so make sure you are dressed accordingly for the event. Follow instructions from the bride and groom especially if the couple invites you to attend a themed wedding attire.

DON'T wear white

This should go without saying, but just in case this has to be repeated. Ask this question to yourself - "Who wants to be that girl?" Definitely not you! Under no circumstances should a guest have the right to upstage the bride and if a guest can't understand the reason to this then he/she should have been aware regarding this rule beforehand.

It's never a good idea to wear anything that could be mistaken for a wedding dress. Even if you look your best in white, you wouldn't care what color you're wedding especially when she's staring daggers into your eyes instead of saying, "I DO". There are a multitude of color combinations to choose from, so try to refrain from wearing white. Make sure to stay away from the light ivories too because that doesn't make any difference.

DON'T wear black

Well, you would see a lot of black or dark coats at any formal occasion, but traditionally black is not a good color at weddings especially for women.

We should be aware that a black dress connote mourning and death for many people. There's a huge difference when you show up to your best friend's wedding in a funeral attire from wearing a sleek, little black dress to an evening event. As long as the dress feels fun and light, regardless of how dark it is, you should be fine. For formal gatherings, sequins and black cocktail dresses work well. However, if there's even the slightest chance that the dress could fit into a procession for the deceased, put it back on your closet and slip into something more colourful.

DON'T wear something skimpy

Nothing screams "look at me" like a skimpy outfit. 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. Well, there's nothing wrong with showing off your legs or wearing a dress that has a low neckline every once in a while, but there's always a time and place for such things. It's just that weddings are not one of them, so no hot pants, no super short mini dresses, and no backless or bra on display. It is a turn off for a guest to wear anything in leather, leopard, and animal prints, neon, or transparent dresses.

You're not showing up the bride, but instead you are showing off your assets to surefire way to take away from her big day. Don't try to humiliate yourself or embarrass the couple for doing such things that would make you look like a laughing stock at the reception. It's not a Friday night out where you go to the club to party and hook up with someone else. Weddings are a formal occasion where two people celebrate their union of marriage. Getting invited to a wedding is an opportunity to dress up and look wonderful, so wear something appropriate.

DON'T wear jeans and a T-shirt

It doesn't matter how casual the wedding celebration is or how laid-back the bride is, but attending a wedding occasion in jeans and a T-shirt is not a good option. 

Whether it is on the beach, in your mom's backyard, or even if you don't know the couple very well - if you're bothering to show up on the occasion, at least you can wear a nice dress or a pair of khakis and a button-up shirt, assuming it's a casual ceremony. Just to be clear, don't even think about slipping on a pair flip-flops. Pumps, heels, flats, loafers, and sandals are a go, but plastic footwear is a huge wedding no-no. You may only wear them if the wedding invite explicitly states that it's a "flip-flop casual".

DON'T wear tuxedos

As a male guests, you should be aware that there's only one guy in a penguin suit here today, and it's not you (unless, the ceremony is a black-tie affair, in which case you, the groom, and every other male attending the occasion is wearing a bow tie).

Just as it's not right to upstage the bride, you shouldn't go out of your way to one-up the groom. Although, it's doubtful he'll run into a closet and weep or complain about you to all his friends it you show up looking better than he does, it's just not polite. Yes, we know you can't do anything to tone down you innate looks, but at least, all you can do is to dress down in a sport coat and leave the suit to the many saying, "I DO".

DON'T wear bell bottoms and dated attire

Bell bottoms may definitely work for a stylish night out in town or a costume party, but try sporting these wide-legged pants at your college roommate's wedding, and you might as well shake, shake your booty back to your place to change an outfit. Disco isn't cool when people are saying, "I DO".

It doesn't mean that you can't invoke other styles and eras with your guest attire. A 1960's pencil skirt will allow you to turn heads without causing a distraction, and a dress with an empire waist and cap sleeves will invoke the 1940's without making you look like a person got stuck in the olden times. Just remember to adhere to the style of the wedding and it is well-established that bell bottoms won't fit into even the most casual ceremonies, but a vintage sundress won't do at a black tie affair, either.

DON'T wear a prom dress

Prom is like a pre-wedding for teenage girls. There's food, drink, dancing, and after-parties... Well, we don't have to go further. Also, like weddings, it's not out of the ordinary for a well-to-do young lady to drop a huge amount of cash or more on a dress she'll wear only once - many of these prom dresses look suspiciously as nuptial-ready.

If you still have your prom dress and it's not out of style or maybe too juvenile, slipping it on again for a formal affair might be tempting, even if you're a decade or already out of high school. As a female guest at weddings, you have to be careful because there are fine lines between donning a vibrantly colored formal evening gown and a white, champagne, or blush dress that will make you look like much of a bride. Use discretion and stay on the safe side, so that you won't make any mistakes. If you're all unsure, wear something nice and elegant which really suits for the occasion and leave the flashy dress for high school kids.

DON'T wear a business suit

You're going to a wedding not a meeting at the office. Drop the business persona and show your style in a skirt, dress, or any kind of clothing that would look out of place with a coffee stain. A wedding is a celebration of two people choosing to unite their lives together forever, so the least you can do is find something that isn't overly, stuffy, and business-like to wear. We're not just talking about your standard black or charcoal suit. This rule also applies to pretty pastel-jacket combination. They might work for a dinner event, but they just set the wrong tone for weddings.

Yes, there are very powerful woman who frequently wear pantsuits, but they try to wear a vibrant dress on formal occasion such as weddings, if she can do it, why can't you?

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