Finding the proper wedding attire for guests of the bride or groom is often a fashion conundrum.
You want to be the envy of your stylish gaggle of girlfriends in the latest designer frock, but you do not want to upstage the blushing bride on her wedding day intentionally.
Here’s how to answer the dreaded and age-old question, “What should women wear to a wedding?”
If the wedding requires “Formal White Tie” wedding attire
Break out your ball gown and dust off your jewel-encrusted Giuseppe Zanottis; you are going to an evening wedding party. What is the wedding attire fashion code?
Think White House Dinner with the President and Mrs. O.
A woman should wear a gown that is floor length to formal evening wedding. No need to wear white gloves, (unless you are just fabulous) but your best accessories, smoky-eyed featured makeup and diamond jewelry should make an appearance at this formal wedding reception.
But remember: No tea length or short dresses allowed.
- What about the fellas? Men will wear tuxedos with white tie and often tails.
If the wedding requires “Black Tie” wedding attire
Black tie wedding attire indicates that the wedding will remain formal but Cinderella-ball gown dresses are not required.
A woman will have to wear a dress that grazes the floor or is at least mid-calf length.
Glitz and glamour is not optional at a black tie wedding, so pump up the volume with an amazing cocktail dress adorned with sparkle and shine and killer evening shoes.
If you need more clues as to what wedding attire is perfect for the Black Tie wedding, tune into the Oscars and Emmys for style hints.
- What about the fellas? Men will wear dark tuxedos with bow ties or standard-length ties with a Windsor knot.
If the wedding requires “Formal or Black Tie Optional” wedding attire
When you read the words ‘Formal or Black Tie Optional” the bride is telling you that the evening wedding is dressy but a floor-length sequined gown is optional.
Female wedding guests of the bride and groom should wear long dresses but choose a dress that is a step above your favorite “paint-the-town-red” cocktail dress.
- What about the fellas? Just like the Black Tie wedding attire mentioned above: Men will wear dark tuxedos with bow ties or standard-length ties with a Windsor knot.
If the wedding requires “Dressy Casual or Semiformal” wedding attire
Dressy casual or Semiformal wedding attire allows the wedding guest more sartorial options.
You can wear a riveting, but not too revealing, cocktail dress for an evening wedding or a bold floral strapless ensemble–paired with a magnificent colored straw dress hat–for a summer morning wedding.
No flat sandals or ballet flats allowed at a semiformal or dressy casual wedding reception (even if it lasts long into the wee hours) only your best shoes, strappy sandals and glam pumps will do.
- What about the fellas? Finally, men are released from the grasp of the boring dark tuxedo for their wedding attire. However, a suit and a tie are still required wedding wardrobe options for men.
If the wedding requires “Casual” wedding attire for women
Casual wedding attire gives the well-dress woman a plethora of fashion possibilities. To prevent wearing the wrong dress or pantsuit, ask yourself three questions:
- What would the bride wear if she were a wedding guest?
- What dress or outfit do I usually select for special events and weddings?
- What is the location and time of the event?
By answering these three questions, you will always be appropriate whether the wedding is on the beach in Jamaica or in the backyard of your Grandparents’ grand estate.
If you still need fashion tips, a simple knee-length black dress in a sumptuous fabric, or a classic linen shift or sheath in silk or wool crepe for spring or summer is always appropriate and elegant.
Still clueless? (Think first impression attire for a first date or the introductory meeting with your man’s parents.)
- What about the fellas? Casual wedding attire for men includes a pair of dress pants and a casual shirt or a dark or light colored suit without the tie.
Because wedding invitations have cryptic code words like” Black Tie Optional” and” Dressy Casual” the well-dressed woman needs a fashion cheat sheet to determine what to wear to a wedding.
Before you grab your plastic AMEX to shop for the perfect dress for wedding guests this season, use this wedding attire guide to get gorgeous…whether you are poised to catch the bridal bouquet or not.