You are about to travel to a stunning location to watch a precious friend or family member make the commitment of a lifetime, and you get to be a witness to this beautiful moment. And a beautiful moment deserves a beautiful outfit to match! Photos will be taken, memories will be made, and you definitely want to dress appropriately. Dresses are an excellent choice for a wedding. They are elegant yet can still be playful depending on your choices—perfect for the kind of celebration a wedding calls for. The thing is, you need to balance the kind of destination you are visiting with the requirements of the occasion. So what kind of dress should you wear to a destination wedding? Here are some ideas for finding the right special occasion dress for the upcoming event.
Maxi dresses strike an excellent balance of formal and informal. On the formal side, the length recalls the evening gown. If you are looking for one of those, a maxi dress is clearly your best choice. Opt for fancier materials, like silk or layers of chiffon. That should raise your degree of formality plenty, but you can also choose solid colors instead of prints and focus on ensuring your dress fits you properly if you feel you need a bit more elegance.
You are also free to lighten it up a little if it makes sense with the style of the wedding you are attending. This can depend on your destination's climate, whether the venue is indoor or outdoor, and the personal style of the wedding couple. If the wedding is being held outdoors in tropical summer weather, and you know the wedding couple is pretty chill, you can probably reduce the formality level of your maxi dress and have it remain a suitable outfit for the event. You can do this fairly easily: a few small adjustments will do. Let the maxi length be your nod to the formality of the occasion, but use prints and more casual fabrics to loosen things up. Floral patterns and other plant-type prints are usually nice options. Cotton is a light, informal fabric, perfect for hot climates and passionate dance floors.
Sometimes a full-length dress is not what you want to wear. Perhaps you just can't see it with the climate, or you don't prefer the formal look of the maxi skirt. If you aren't going to go long, your other option is to shorten your skirt. A shorter skirt tends to signify a less formal dress. However, this doesn't necessarily mean you can't wear it to your upcoming destination wedding. Just like you can make a maxi dress more casual by opting for informal fabrics, you can raise the degree of formality of a shorter dress by choosing fancier fabrics.
For some of those nicer fabrics, start by considering velvet. Velvet is a gorgeous and very fancy material. It can be very hot, but if your dress is on the shorter side with a strappy design on top, you may not mind it as much if it helps you fit in with the wedding setting. On the lighter side, solid-colored chiffon with some extra material in the skirt can look elegant and still be loose enough to create some airflow so you can stay cool. Another great fabric is lace. Lace is great for dressing up solid colors since the material has complex designs and creates the visual interest that some may feel is missing from a more simple solid-colored fabric. Having a lace overlay on your dress or even lace edging on the neckline and on your skirt's hemline will definitely increase the formality of your outfit, no matter the length.
Sometimes when trying to decide on a dress, we forget how jewelry and shoes can affect and change the impression of the outfit as a whole. The good news is jewelry and shoes cover relatively less surface area of your body than your dress. If you know you will need to wear a more casual dress to save you from the heat, focus on your jewelry and shoes to help make your outfit wedding-ready. Larger pieces of jewelry are usually more formal. This could be a chunky necklace, chandelier earrings, or some combination of both. These pieces are also very eye-catching, so make sure they don't clash with an overly complicated pattern. When there is too much going on, it can overwhelm the eye and make it hard to look at you. Choose focal points for the eye to rest on. Your jewelry can be one. Perhaps there can be some embellishments on your skirt's hemline like embroidery or lace to give the eye a mid-point, or you can skip the middle and opt for interesting shoes instead.
Use what you like and what works for you to put together an outfit you are excited to wear to both your destination and the wedding!