Style Advice: What To Wear To A Wedding

With a slew of friends getting engaged and/or married, wedding season is definitely upon us! I was delighted with the response I received from commenters and readers on my post about Dummeow's wedding dress picks last week. Indeed, when I tweeted the link to the post, gorgeous Twitterer Jennifer_Lee tweeted in reply:

"I love weddings in the summer.. I have one to go to this August.. you should do an entry on what to wear to a wedding! :)"

Just as wedding ceremonies and receptions differ according to the couple's tastes and culture, there is no one right dress code for a wedding. What you wear to someone's wedding depends on a number of things:

  1. Does the invitation specify a dress code?
  2. If there's no specified dress code, what time of day are the reception and ceremony? For events happening during the day, more casual dress is acceptable.
  3. Where is it all happening? If you'll be outdoors in a park or on a beach, opt for flats or wedges instead of heels that will sink into lawns and sand.
Now, I have to say this for the benefit of the socks-with-sandals, casual-or-die crowd: Please do not wear jeans or casual garb to someone's wedding. There are so many everyday occasions where jeans are acceptable. Weddings are not everyday occasions. This is a very special day for the happy couple and for the friends and family members who love them. Show some respect for everyone involved and dress appropriately.

Alright, onto the fun part! I've whipped up some Polyvore sets to illustrate different outfits for different types of weddings; if you want more information about the featured items just click the links provided below. Enjoy!

afternoon wedding
Afternoon wedding: Save the sequins and skin-baring numbers for the raucous bachelorette party! Daytime weddings call for something more demure. This full-skirted colour block dress is bold yet classic and feminine; add a silver pendant and pearl stud earrings for some subtle polish without detracting from the impact of the dress. Black peep-toe flats walk the fine line between casual and dressy, while a cropped cardigan will keep bare shoulders warm. I added the Chanel purse because the textured cream-and-black tweed is so lovely.

beach wedding
Beach wedding: Lucky enough to be going to a destination wedding in a tropical paradise? Show off sun-kissed skin and keep cool with a short draped jersey dress in a bright hue. Flat metallic sandals make walking on sandy beaches a breeze and add glam shine, as do the pearly white polish, a moonstone cocktail ring, and moonstone earrings. Shield your eyes from the sun's rays with a straw fedora, then switch it for a white feathered headband for the evening festivities. Ooh and check out the nude Burberry leather wristlet with the ruffles down the front--cute!

formal wedding
Formal wedding: Formal weddings and evening receptions mean calling out all the stops. A one-shoulder dress is sassy without being too revealing; play up the warmth of its purple hue with gold-tinged accessories and a cream-coloured pashmina. I threw in this sky-high pair of Louboutins because they were too beautiful, but whatever shoes you go with, make sure you can dance in them comfortably!

Black and white wedding outfit
Wear black or white to a wedding? Ah, the age-old question of whether it's appropriate to wear black or white to someone's wedding. I think white is definitely a no-no out of respect for the bride, and while the little black dress is always a safe bet, the LBD can be a bit stale sometimes. Why not go for a patterned dress that combines the two? I love the bold slanted stripes on this frock, which I echoed in the slanted pleats of the clutch and the crisscross detailing of the pumps. A chunky coral necklace and turquoise bracelet provide a dose of much-needed colour.

Which Polyvore set is your favourite? Will you be attending a wedding sometime soon, and if so, any idea what you'll be wearing?


  1. Do people really think it's okay to wear white to someone else's wedding (unless that is the dress code)? Yikes! For some reason, I've worn this day-glo Versace to more than one summer wedding. It just seems festive, I guess:

  2. WendyB: Ooh that IS a festive frock! I think the question of whether it's okay to wear white depends on the cultural context. For example, Chinese brides traditionally wear red so you wouldn't be stealing the spotlight by wearing white. However, white is traditionally associated with mourning in Chinese culture AND a lot of modern Chinese brides mix Western and Chinese tradition and wear a white gown for the ceremony and a red qipao for the reception, so we're back to square one with white being unacceptable. :-)

  3. BLESS you for laying down the law about jeans. I've photographed enough weddings to know that people really do this. I'm always appalled.

    Love your gorgeous outfit suggestions!

  4. You give such perfect ideas! (: I do wish I had a wedding to go to sometime soon...

    La C.

  5. My favorite outfit is definitely from the Afternoon Wedding set. The dress is adorable! Awesome :)

  6. I can't believe anyone would ever, EVER think jeans is acceptable wedding attire! Horrors. All these sets are so amazing I cannot pick a favourite.

  7. oh man this blog post is PERFECT TIMING! i decided to respond to you on my blog.

    i sure will be going to a wedding soon and i have my outfit half planned out. TWO WEDDINGS to be exact.

  8. I can't pick a favorite...they are all so perfect. I had a friend ask me about wedding attire and I think you answered it perfectly, so I will definitely show her!

    And jeans!

  9. I know, it's always so hard! I would go for the black n white dress, it never fails!

  10. :) thanks for the advice!!! but now i need an advice of what to wear to a ex-high school reunion :s jajaja everybody will be there to gossip im sure! I´m going this saturday!


  11. The afternoon wedding set is definitely my favorite. . . but I would rock that with a pair of 6inch peep-toe black patent Louboutins instead of flats though! haha

  12. great post! I have several weddings to attend this summer!

  13. Awesome post! I adore the first clutch and the purple dress. It's fab!

  14. Nice blog.My favorite outfit is definitely from the Afternoon Wedding set.Thanks a lot.

  15. I am going to a wedding on September 18th. It is an afternoon wedding. What is appropriate to wear.? Please help me.

    Sandy T.

  16. Sandy, a variation on the afternoon wedding outfit I posted would be appropriate. All you need to do is make the outfit a bit more cold-weeather appropriate. Wear dark tights under the dress to prevent getting chills. (Just do a test run at home and make sure that the dress you're planning to wear doesn't stick to your tights. If they do, you might need a slip.) Wear close-toed shoes. If you get really chilly and simply wearing a cardigan won't suffice, add a structured, polished outerwear piece like a blazer or a belted trench on top.

  17. I like the afternoon wedding outfit especially the purse plus those lovely jewelries. Thank you for this outfit ideas. You might want to share this outfit ideas on Lifo, a fun site for girls that lets them share their beauty tips and fashion trends to others.

  18. Is it ok to wear dress capis to a friday outdoor ceremony

    1. I would say no. Try wearing a dress or skirt. You might be surprised at how comfortable they can be.


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