Weddings are the perfect excuse to feel your absolute best and find an amazing outfit, wedding guest dilemmas averted. Whatever the dress code, and whatever your budget. Whether you’re dressing up for a formal black tie party, heading to a wedding in the countryside, or travelling to a destination wedding and looking for something more relaxed, this is your chance to break away from your everyday norm and feel fabulous (without upstaging the bride, of course!)
If you’re working out what to wear to a summer wedding or planning ahead and looking for winter wedding outfit ideas, there’s a lot of options to consider. When dress codes aren’t the most obvious – especially in that slightly ambiguous “smart casual” bracket and cocktail dress code – I know my WhatsApp group with the girls will be going off with outfit panic and what to wear (sound familiar?) No matter how outfit savvy you are, you’ll no doubt have faced a clothing dilemma or two over the years… And nobody wants to make a wedding fashion faux pas.
Can I wear black to a wedding?
Yes! But keep it light. It might sound like a strange oxymoron, but if you’d like to wear black to a wedding avoid any outfits that are too heavy (in terms of textures, fabrics and lace) and keep the tones lighter by a bit of shimmer, chiffon or soft draping.
Traditionally, black was always a no-go at weddings because of its associations with mourning, but there’s no denying it’s universal chicness, and nowadays it’s perfectly acceptable when worn the right way.
Add layers in lighter or brighter shades on top, or, wear it with print like these to keep everything lifted. Avoid white, ivory, and cream shades at all costs, as that’s strictly the reserve of the bride unless specified (even for hen do outfits!). Avoid the colour red if the dress code is traditional Indian.
What about flat shoes?
Yes! But make sure they’re smart. If you’ve got an early start, and the thought of a long day at a wedding wearing heels makes your feet squirm in fear, then flats are perfectly acceptable. It’s best to avoid trainers or anything too scruffy or clumpy, but a playful pump like these can still feel elevated enough for a smart wedding dress code. Otherwise, look to blocked heel mules that feel like slippers and are just as comfy!
How do I keep warm?
All year round you have to prepare for unpredictable weather, as nobody wants to be cold. From chilly churches to outside marquees with no heating, it’s a good idea to have an extra layer with you. A longline blazer, even when perched on shoulders, will work well draped over dresses. A shawl or pashmina might feel a bit dated, try a chic light cashmere, linen or silk scarf instead.
How do I keep dry?
You’ve looked at the weather app and you’ve got rain clouds from 11am to 11pm. There’s nothing you can do about that, but what you can do is buy a swanky umbrella like one of these.
I’m on a budget – what can I find for under £25? Or how can I update something I already own?
Here’s an edit of outfit options that won’t break the bank. But if you know you’ll wear a wedding guest outfit like this once and one time only, why not buy a statement blazer to layer over the top of a dress you already own. That way you can wear it again, styled into everyday outfits.
I get super bloated when I drink champagne or prosecco and am really conscious of it when I wear certain things. What should I buy so I don’t have to worry?
I admit, I’ve put this one in for me. You might think it’s best to steer clear of anything too clingy, but you don’t have to avoid figure-hugging shapes completely. There’s some great dresses that give you shape across your bust and then flow out in a forgiving A-line shape. Clever ruching and draping are also good details to look out for, normally helped by denser and natural fabrics, rather than thin and sticky silks and satins which can’t help but cling in unwanted places.
Another trick for slip style dresses, or straight up and down dresses, is to go for patterned fabrics, which I find are more flattering than block colours on extra bloated days.
What do I wear to a beach wedding when I don’t want to overheat?
There’s lots of dreamy dresses and jumpsuits for hotter destinations, but for a wedding you want to make sure your outfit is elevated above your normal holiday wardrobe.
Jewel tones would look stunning against a beach wedding backdrop, whether you’re looking for a dress, jumpsuit or flowing trouser suit.
I’m going to a wedding in Vegas and the dress code is way more “party” than normal – what do I wear?
You’ve been given the green light to go all out with this wedding guest look. But, understandably, the more far-out the dress-code, the riskier it feels to find the perfect outfit! I love these styles with their extra fringing and sequins, as they’d take you from daytime nuptials straight to a club in the evening. Or, if you’re into brights, a colour-pop dress would add extra sizzle to any wedding guest outfit.
Do you have a wedding guest outfit dilemma? Get in touch email@example.com and #AskEliza