What to Wear to a Wedding

I’m at that age, or maybe it’s just that time of year, where wedding invites just keep on coming. I’ve got one as soon as next weekend which got me thinking, what do you wear to a wedding? Really, it all depends on the bride, location, time of day and how formal or not formal the couple tends to be. Here’s a few tips for navigating your way through all those “maybe” attire questions.

Daytime Spring/Summer Wedding

Daytime weddings that take place in the spring or summer are far more casual than an evening affair. They’re also highly likely to take place outdoors. A light summer dress or floaty skirt is your best bet here. If you are going to be outside, stray away from stilettos. You don’t want them sinking into the grass and anything over 4″ and that skinny will look too aggressive for the middle of the afternoon.



I’m loving the bright yellow on this Shoshanna dress from Neiman Marcus. Perfect for a sunny outdoor affair.


This Marc Bouwer dress has a casual feel to it too. Dresses in light, swingy materials are another thing to look for.

Evening Informal Wedding

If the invite doesn’t say “black-tie” you’re likely going to an informal evening wedding. Bust out the cocktail dress and heels for this one. A skirt and nice top would be nice as well. Note: If the wedding is in a church (and this is totally up to your discretion) consider bringing some sort of cardigan to cover up the shoulders.



This Tadashi bandage dress is a good evening choice. The cut and color are flattering while the silhouette is dressier than the light and loose looks above.


If you’re not into sleeveless, this Redux Charles Chang Lima is still a dressy cocktail number that covers the shoulders. And although the silhouette is flowy, the fabric still makes it a cocktail number.


For an evening affair, it’s also O.K. to sport a one-shouldered look like this Rachel Roy number.

Evening Formal or Black-Tie Wedding

Oh these are fun! Maybe it’s just cause I adore dressing up. Bust out a full-length dress for this one. You can wear a short cocktail dress as well as long as it’s super glitzy and glamorous. Think sequins and fun beading. Also, for an evening wedding it’s O.K. to wear black.



If you aren’t sure how fancy to go, something classic and basic like this Nicole Miller dress is always a safe bet.


For a spring/summer wedding, prints are a fun way to go too.


This Carmen Marc Valvo dress is another chic summer evening look too.

Rules of Thumb

Never wear all-white to a wedding. White skirt=O.K. Big white dress=quick way to make the bride your next enemy

Don’t wear black during the day

If you’re wearing gloves, don’t eat with them on. It’s just downright ridiculous. Not to mention totally hard to do.

It’s O.K. to wear black for an evening wedding

For beach wedding tips, check out my previous post here.

  1. I wish I had a wedding to go to now! Summer weddings are always so fun (well, unless it’s in the 115 degree arizona sun). But I would most definitely wear the yellow dress on top, love it!

  2. Good tip about the heels. I bought my bridesmaids kitten-heeled shoes because I didn’t want them sinking into the golf course I got married on.

  3. thanks for posting marlene! i seriously just had this coversation with my sister – – i needed a little wedding 101. your rules of thumb are perfect

  4. Theses dresses are so adorable. For some reason I always shy away from colors and stick with basic black for weddings, but this now changes everything. I may need to go shopping.

  5. all i have to say is dont wear white! one of my best friend wore an offwhite dress to my wedding, with the same type of beading and silk overlay. it was so rude. everybody noticed. as soon as i saw her, i even said, “wow, your dress looks a lot like mine.” people wont forget that. she wasnt being mean, she was just careless, and that is not acceptable at a wedding.

  6. i am in love with the first, yellow dress…Tadashi dress and Nicole Miller dress…will someone please invite me to a spring wedding, informal wedding, and black tie wedding….please????

  7. The worst is an outdoor wedding any later than April. Even as the sun is setting it’s hot standing there. Finding a sweat-proof dress is tough. At that point, I just want to kick the bride’s ass more than anything.

  8. Oh my goodness, I totally understand the weddings and friends! I will have gone to 4 by mid April of this year! These tips are great for dresses. Heaven knows I need to go shopping for another one soon!

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