the wedding guest dilemma: what to wear for every dress code

8 March 2017

No matter how many weddings you attend every year, it never gets any easier to pick out something to wear. From navigating the dress code to keeping the potential weather in mind, choosing your outfit for a wedding is always a nightmare. This is made worse by the absence of a dress code on the invitation. While the bride might think she’s being free-spirited and breaking free of tradition, all she is really doing is adding to the stress and ensuring that half of her guests feel overdressed with the other half feel underdressed. Navigate the wedding dress code with these helpful hints:

wedding guest dress code dilemma

white tie
If you receive an invitation that states the dress code is white tie then congratulations, because you are probably going to a royal wedding or something! White tie means you have to wear a full-length ball gown, so don’t even think about reaching for that classy cocktail dress you love so much. Hair, makeup and accessories can all be wild and extravagant, so why not have fun?

black tie
Slightly less formal than white tie, you still need to pull out all the stops to make sure you look flawless. Your gown should still be formal, but you can look at varying lengths. Keep your silhouette simple with a mid-length, 50s style dress with a bardot neckline. If you aren’t sure if your outfit is formal enough, all a pair of classic loose diamond earrings to take the glamour up a level.

beach formal
Beach what now? If your idea of beach attire extends to a bikini and coverup, then you might want to take note before you turn up to your auntie’s wedding in a maxi dress after a dip in the sea. Beach formal means that, although it might be warm, it’s still a formal affair. You would do best in a formal tea dress or luxe maxi dress with flats, because seriously, who wants to try to walk on sand in heels?

cocktail or semi formal
This is slightly less formal, with more freedom about what you can wear. Ideally, you should wear a formal cocktail dress, or smart separates. If the wedding is taking place in the day, you might want to choose lighter colours or bright patterns while evening events will call for darker, more subdued hues.

casual
This is the dress code that wedding guests dread the most, as it means that the couple haven’t given any set dress code. You can basically wear what you like, but you should still be respectful of the occasion and make sure you look nice. You could wear trousers and a blouse, or a nice summer dress, and keep your hair and makeup a lot more natural. As with all of these styles, it’s always best to err on the side of overdressed, as this is far better than being underdressed.