I’m off to a very important wedding, and I need your help Lifestylers to choose an outfit.
But seeing as I have had a lot more experience in choosing the wrong things to wear to weddings, I’m going to rephrase What to Wear to a Wedding with What Not To Wear to a Wedding, in an attempt to remind myself to be mindful in my outfit choice and maybe to give you some food for thought as well.
Hmm, as if you feisty females need any advice at all.
Back in my good old bad old days I have made terrible faux pas when it comes to dress correctly for an occasion. I cringe at the memories. Not that I ever truly intended to upset anyone, mind you, but I just did because I didn’t really think about the outcome.
Like the time I travelled from our more tropical home in South Africa to rainy England when I was much younger, and wore a bright pillar box red and electric royal blue outfit to my sister’s first wedding for no other reason than I like bright colours and that’s what I had in my wardrobe. But it was totally the wrong thing to wear because she is not ostentatious and she wore a delicate and demure cream wedding dress (and looked gorgeous) while mostly everyone else looked, well – toned down to suit her style and the English country garden style nuptuals.
Suffice to say, I stuck out like a daft peacock in the wedding photos and there are remarkably few of me on the mantelpiece. I don’t have to think very hard to wonder why.
What not to wear to a wedding
- The number one rule: Don’t wear white, or any shade of white unless the bride has told you it’s okay.
- Try to think about the bride’s style and complement that rather than contrast.
- If you know what the mother of the bride is wearing try not to wear the same style or colour. She is the second most important female of the day.
- Don’t show too much skin … plunging necklines are out at our age. So too is anything you might consider wearing to a disco (does anyone go to disco’s anymore?)
- It’s okay to accentuate one great asset but not all at once – low neck, cut-out back, short hemline for summer weddings – If you want to … pick just one but make it a little discreet.
- The wedding might seem like a theatrical event of Cirque du Soleil proportions but remember you are not the star. It’s the bride’s day – she is the one who must steal the show, so dress for the occasion but don’t dress to stand out.
What do you think of some of the outfits below?
Would you wear any of these styles to a wedding? I thought they all look smart and stylish, and are really well priced. Animal print dress $51 AUD – amazon.com Dana Kay flower dress $37 AUD – amazon.com Dana Kay floral dress $85 AUD – amazon.com Dana Kay red dress $31 AUD – amazon.com
- Don’t wear something too clingy, and don’t wear anything super short.
- Read the invitation carefully. If there are clues such as ‘semi-formal,’ ‘casual’, ‘formal,’ or ‘beach chic’ then read between the lines and dress appropriately. Even if it’s beach chic, you are probably not okay in shorts and flip flops and if it’s black tie, a long black-all-over dress is probably going to be too funereal.
- If you’re not one of the bridal party it might be better to opt for a print or floral design so that you don’t look like a bridesmaid, and by mistake wear the same block colour as they’re all trotting in. I’m reliably informed that popular block colours for bridesmaids are coral, pink, blue, grey and cream.
- Having said that, don’t wear a loud jungle print or anything super sparkly, which could be a talking point, detract from the bride and put you on the ‘Most Talked About Guest’ list.
Ultimately, dress according to the invitation but wear an outfit that suits you. Don’t be overtly flamboyant. Be well groomed. Dress to be yourself, and wear something you feel confident in and can stand around in for a long time.
So what do you think – are any of my in-wardrobe dresses suitable for the very special wedding I have coming up or should I go out and buy something else?
If you’ve enjoyed this post you might also like:
Do you have any tips for wedding attire – or any funny wedding stories? Do spill the beans in the comments 🙂
ive learnt over the years to carry/hide a pair of flats/thongs somewhere so i can change into them after the more formal part of the wedding is over.
That is such a great idea, Julie! Thanks for the tip.
First you look great in all 3 but I really like the one on the far right. I just discovered your blog and am enjoying it. I just started a website http://www.wearthisone.com and an app on IOS where you could post these pictures and our users will vote for you best look. I will come back to read more and have a great day.
Hello Laura, thank you, and ooh love the sound of your App 🙂
Love the colour of them all. Favourite is the first one, the shape is very flattering. Although they are all lovely, just think if the middle one was shortened it would show off your lovely legs. If you’ve got it flaunt it. I do agree though that it’s not wise to show off too many assets at once. Enjoy you wedding.
Thankz Lynne! And thanks for chipping in with your thoughts today 🙂
I really like the middle one, looks smart with the jacket, the dress has a nice flare (for dancing in) and I like the nude pumps too, defo something I would feel comfortable wearing
Thanks Alison! I think this is my winning dress 🙂
Left for me. Adore that dress! My mum always said, don’t wear white, don’t wear black, don’t match the bridesmaids, don’t show too much skin … and wear shoes you can dance in. My sister wasn’t listening obviously because when I got married she wore something white and extremely short with some bizarre fringing … then proceeded to make a complete tit of herself and fell over more than once. Sigh. LOL. Nothing like a wedding to bring out he best and worst of the family xx
Haha Cheryl, I can just imagine … sounds a bit like something I might do …. oops ;)! Good tips from your Mum, so true 🙂 Thanks for the heads up on my dress too x
I like the middle one. It looks lovely.
Thank you Karen 🙂
Definitely one of life’s bigger sartorial challenges. I still cringe at the time I broke the number 1 rule and wore white. In my defence it was a casual beach wedding and I was eight months pregnant and had to cover a big bulge but still, major faux pas! The other challenge I always have at weddings and other events that tend to go for the whole day is what to wear when it cools down at the end of the day. I never seem to have the right jacket or coat and end up layering with a frumpy cardigan and scarf.
Haha, oh dear Nina, I sympathise with your faux pas! Yes, the layering thing is always a challenge for me too!
Love reading your blog & think you look good in anything. If I have to choose I prefer the middle outfit & think the lovely jacket makes it that bit special. Agree with an earlier comment re wearing darker shoes. Second option the dress on the left. Enjoy getting together with family at the wedding.
Hello Margaret, Thank you for your lovely words. And thank you for chiming in with your opinion about which dress. Yes, I feel the jacket adds a touch of ‘wedding’ without screaming ‘bride’! Thank you, yes I will 🙂
I love wrap around dresses. They are so flattering and feminine. I also love a jacket. But a big dress needs a small jacket and vice versa.
Hi Carol, thanks for the tip – yes, a large jacket on a big dress would swamp it 🙂
Now see – I am the only one who likes middle photo so far! The other two are lovely but for a wedding I like that one the best. What I like is the length, the flow and the jacket.The style is really flattering. I would probably wear darker shoes though. When I had my colours done (a lifetime ago) I was told never to wear shoes lighter than the hem of your dress/skirt/trousers. Something that has always stuck in my head.
I realised too that you were the only one going for the middle dress, Heike. Even though that one is probably the one I would go for too, because of the style and jacket. Your tip about never wearing shoes lighter than the hem of your dress/skirt/trousers is such a practical hint – thank you! 🙂
I was thinking the middle one, too, but (is this a terrible faux pas?) I would have gone for white shoes (pretty courts) to balance the white of the jacket.
Thanks Niquie and No! It’s not 😉 Yes courts in white would be better.
So agree with your comments on What to wear to a wedding, I prefer you in the maxi its a lovely length , the print, so it looks fresh and its flattering and elegant at the same time. I also love that it has a little white jacket so it can be removed if its too hot or cold, then your not caught out if the weather changes. Love reading your blog, thanks for the advice 🙂 Diane
So glad you enjoy reading Lifestyle Fifty, Diane! Thank you! Thanks for your vote of confidence re the maxi dress too. Your opinion really counts 🙂
I love the one on the right Jo, though I wonder whether black or possibly blue shoes would suit it better? Summer weddings are much easier to dress for than winter ones. I am going to a wedding late this afternoon ‘up the mountain’ from our place, and as it was 13 degrees here last night it is going to be a very cool evening up there. I managed to find a long-sleeved dress with a fully lined skirt, in a very similar shape around the waist to your dress on the left. It’s black with shots of colour through it, and whilst I would have loved to be in a bright spring outfit it’s just not worth shivering my way through the afternoon and evening.
I think you could be right about the shoes, Jo. I’m going to look out a pair and try them on with the dress. Oh your mountain wedding sounds rather lovely 🙂 Have fun and keep warm!
I went to my nieces wedding years ago and after checking what colour the Bridesmaids were wearing I turned up in the exact same shade dress. Everyone kept asking me if I was ‘trying’ to look like one of the bridesmaids, which was very embarrassing! I like the floral dress on you on the right and out of the dresses above that I like the ensemble on the left.
Haha Kathy, that is just the sort of thing I’d be likely to do. I bet it was embarassing 😉 However, I bet you looked lovely as ever. Thanks for your vote about which dress … it’s great to get another opinion.
I’ve gone for a floral thing that as it turns out, photographs much better than it looks in person. Shoes are the big issue as I suppose my thongs are out?
Haha Sue, yep, I think thongs are out even with a pretty floral! I’m also surprised sometimes at how florals photograph – very well.
Left photo is very flattering. You suit a v shape cut vs the round. Highlights your slim waist while the necklace holds eye contact to the right level. All the best at the wedding
Thanks Nikki – I enjoy wearing that dress and the blue necklace is eye catching as you say. And thanks, I think it will be wonderful 🙂
I thought your dress on the right was a great option. Some women wear pashmina’s instead of jackets which is a nice touch and doesn’t ruin the look of the dress either. Have fun at the wedding xx
Thanks Lisa. I was wondering what I could wear to keep warm with the dress on the right, but a pashmina would be just the ticket, I reckon. Thank you x
Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
I think either the first or third one. Always a good idea to find out the colour of the bridesmaids dresses. I very proudly wore a dress I’d made out of crushed dark green velvet, to a winter wedding, when I was 6 months pregnant. I felt gorgeous until I saw the bridesmaids were wearing the exact same colour … it felt like a bit of a fashion faux pas!
Thank you Janet 🙂 it’s so good to have other people’s thoughts. There I was thinking the middle one would be the fave 😉 Haha, I bet you did feel a bit obvious, resplendent there in your gorgeous ‘wannabe’ bridesmaid dress!! Impressed that you made the dress – bet it looked lovely.
I like the one on the right Jo….I think it is a good length and the ribbon belt helps accentuate your waistline:)
Thanks Melissa 🙂 It’s so great to have a second opinion, thanks for reading and thanks for your time 🙂