Large or small, a wedding is still a formal event. As a guest, you need to show respect, so please avoid these 15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited, you owe it to the couple to dress appropriately and look your very best. But your “very best” shouldn’t draw attention from the bride and groom.
The tricky part is that these days, weddings can be super-casual, and “casual” street clothes have a whole new meaning. However, even though it might feel like anything goes–but it doesn’t.
There can be exceptions if you’re in the wedding party, but attending as a guest in another thing. This short list of what not to wear will save you time and just might help you save face!
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding: Long Dress No-No’s
#1 White dress or white gown
Unless the bride has planned an all-white wedding and stated this on the invitations, do not wear a white dress, even if it’s short. Worse than “short & white” is a white gown—unless, again, it’s a grand “black and white ball” type wedding. (Not even Jane Fonda in “Monster-in-Law” could pull off a white dress!)
#2 Black Dress, Black Gown, Black Tuxedo
Again, unless the bride has clearly stated Black Tie, skip black outfits altogher, especially tuxedos or black pant suits. Your LBD may be the best little black dress ever, but don’t wear it to a non-ultra-formal wedding.
Exceptions for men: Black trousers with a contrasting jacket.
Acceptable for all: Black shoes.
Pantsuits may be in style, but even if you’ve got the hottest vintage outfit in town, don’t wear it to the wedding. Consider this little comment by one clever bride we know: “That’s why it’s called a dress code.”
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding: Short Dress No-No’s
#4 A Too-Short, Too Revealing Cocktail Dress
A lovely conservative off-the-shoulder dress is fine—providing you take a wrap of some kind to wear for the ceremony. There’s also nothing wrong with showing off your beautiful legs—in moderation.
An easy rule of thumb: No shorter than one inch above the knee.
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding
#5 Animal Prints
Never mind how quietly they “purr,” animal prints don’t go over well in wedding pictures.
Yes, We Know: If you search for “leopard wedding” on Pinterest you’ll get lots of hits but not for guest attire.
Tip: You can carry your cute little silk leopard print clutch—but not your canvas leopard hobo bag.
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding: Over-the-top
#6 Wild makeup
Yes! Wear your lovely siren-red lipstick. But for the rest of your makeup, less is more. Even for a formal black tie/cocktails wedding, don’t wear too much on your face.
Exception: Theme weddings like Halloween, Mardi Gras, a costume ball
#7 Clothes that look like costumes
This is a crazy example, but it gets the point across. The only place a dress like this belongs is at a Latin dance competition!
Please “respect your elders”: In addition to the bride & groom, dressing conservatively shows respect for the couple’s older relatives.
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding: Club attire
#8 Victoria’s Secret-style LBD’s
If the wedding is a super-formal cocktail party or ultra-high fashion event, you’ll know by the invitation. But some little l black dresses don’t fit anywhere but the club–or the bedroom.
No plunging necklines (a modest strapless dress is fine, though)
Take a wrap for the ceremony & formal photos
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding
#9 Lingerie reveal
Backless gowns are on-trend and are perfect for a wedding—with a wrap for the ceremony, and with everything else under wraps.
Tip: Do a Lingerie Check with an honest friend before you finalize your outfit.
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding: Casual street clothes
This shouldn’t even be on a list for not-to-wear’s, but sometime, somewhere, somebody showed up to a wedding in a hoodie. That makes us honor-bound to include this on the no-no list.
#11 Lounging attire
Even a beach wedding calls for at least a little decorum. A formal wedding or venue demands a dressy look.
Tip for beach & backyard weddings: Wear a long-sleeve (or roll-up sleeve) dress in linen, a linen-cotton blend, or bamboo.
Even if the wedding’s on the beach, or in the backyard, unless you’re told to, don’t wear jeans. Not even “dress” jeans ironed to a razor-sharp crease.
Super casual dress
Yes to these Comfy Alternatives:
Khakis (but not cargo pants or board shorts)
Button-up shirt (especially in a rich fabric like silk)
#14 Flip Flops
“No, no, NO!“ .. unless the bride specifies a Casual Beach Wedding.
Not even these Puma & Rihanna Flip Flop Heels
15 Things Not to Wear to a Wedding: Wild jewelry & Wear-it-again
This item is so obvious, it shouldn’t even be on the list.
No-no: Headbands that look too bridal or pageant
Yes-yes: A simple hair comb
#14 Re-purposed Prom or bridesmaids dress
A lot of thoughtful brides try to choose wear-again dresses for their ladies. But if you went to another friend’s wedding in the last few months and there’s a chance one of the other bridesmaids from that wedding might show up … choose a different dress, please.
- Exception to the No Prom/Long Bridesmaids Dress Rule: A goofy, fun, over-the-top costume-theme wedding.
Partial exceptions to the No Bridesmaids Dress Rule: You can (maybe) get away with re-purposing if the dress …
Has a short hemline
No outrageous colors
Bottom Line: Wedding Photos Are Forever
Respect that rule and you’re good to go. Also, weddings don’t happen every day so take a little time to think things through for your dear friend’s event of a lifetime.
Trite but true: To a certain extent, what you wear defines you. So define yourself as a respectful, respectable friend and dress to the nines but within these guidelines. Your soon-to-be happily married friends will love you all the more!
For the more great ideas for planning your wedding and adapting to circumstances that may have delayed your big day, Click HERE or on the image below for DaVinci Bridal blog:
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