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I'm a big fan of the no rules philosophy when it comes to fashion, however I think weddings are a bit more tricky. It's the most important day of someone else's life and when to be invited to be a part of the celebrations is an honor. With that in mind, it doesn't hurt to be respectful when choosing a look to wear to a wedding. It's the thoughtful thing to do. Everyone has their own opinions and rules they follow when it comes to wedding guest attire, but as we head into prime wedding season, I thought I'd share mine...
- On wearing white... In many circles it's considered disrespectful to wear white to a wedding and to be honest, I pretty much agree with this traditional rule. The bride may or may not choose to wear white, but if she does, it seems only appropriate that she be the only one - it is her day after all. If you are going to wear white, break it up with some color if you can. I'm not at all opposed to wearing a white dress with a floral pattern on it, but most of the time I try to steer clear of solid white, champagne, beige, cream or any hue that might be mistaken for a bridal gown color out of respect for the bride.
- On wearing black... I've heard it said before that black is for mourning and shouldn't be worn to a wedding. This one might be a little antiquated to be honest and I don't think most people outside of high society would blink an eye at a black dress at a wedding these days. If you are concerned about it, I personally think there's a major exception to this rule being a wedding with a black tie or cocktail dress code. In my opinion, the more formal the occasion or the later in the day it takes place, the more acceptable it is to wear black. If you're still on the fence about it, try accessorizing your look with a bit of color. I love a black gown with jewel toned jewelry such as emeralds or sapphires and a vibrant clutch! However, if the ceremony is in the morning or afternoon you may find you're the only person wearing a dark dress in a church full of florals and you'll stick out like Morticia Adams at the Kentucky Derby... It's just something to think about.
- Dress code... While you may role your eyes at the formality of a dress code for a wedding, what to wear has been specified for a reason and should be respected. There may be religious requirements for the venue such as head coverings or no bare shoulders or perhaps the reception venue has a strict dress code requiring jackets for men, no denim, etc. There's even the possibility that the bride and groom prefer for everyone to be evenly dressed for photos or the wedding may be themed... Whatever the reason, respect the dress code if you possibly can. Should the dress code be ambiguously describe such as Festive, try Google and when in doubt, wear something you would normally feel comfortable in at a wedding. Should the dress code be more along the lines of Black Tie Optional where a choice is given, I'd suggest going with your best available option, but no less formal than cocktail or semi-formal. Remember you can always jazz up a less formal dress with some sparkly jewelry if you need to!
- Shoes... Wedding days can be long and hopefully, there will be a lot of dancing. Don't be that girl who's hobbling around because she wore the most uncomfortable shoes she owns. There's nothing impressive about looking uncomfortable. If the wedding or reception is outdoors, be careful about wearing stilettos - you might sink into the grass all day and even worse, fall on your face after a few glasses of Champagne.
- Color story... Choosing a color to wear to a wedding can be a challenge. Some people believe that red is rude at a wedding because it draws too much attention while others are perfectly fine with guests wearing red. My rule for black above applies here as well... The later the hour or the more formal the occasion, the bolder you can be with the colors you choose. For an early wedding, I generally opt for soft colors or florals, but later or more formal weddings are a great chance to break out jewel tones and brighter colors or patterns. If you're simply not sure, when in doubt go for a pastel shade or print.
- Comfort is cute... Whatever you choose to wear, make sure you're comfortable in it and that it makes you feel pretty. Nobody wants to be at a wedding with old friends (and frenemies), family members and strangers feeling like they don't look their best or like themselves. If you're not into dresses, pick a pants suit or a jumpsuit that makes you feel fierce. If heels aren't something you'd normally wear, find a chic pair of flats. If you're being photographed at the wedding, you'll look better if you're comfortable and feel happy in what you're wearing. You'll also avoid the embarrassment of being that girl on the dance floor fidgeting with her dress all night underneath the disco ball...
- Don't wear something you'd be embarrassed to meet your grandmother in... From the very young to the very old, most wedding guest lists are a mix of all kinds of people. Your granny or parents might not be there, but someone else's will... If it's too short, too low-cut or in any way inappropriate or embarrassing to wear in front of children, members of the clergy or the elderly, perhaps choose something else to wear.
These are my tips for dressing to attend a wedding. Do you have any tips of your own? Leave a comment below - I'd love to hear them!