If you’re planning to attend a wedding this summer, there’s no need to stress over choosing the right outfit. We’ve put together some tips to help you dress appropriately, look stylish, and stay comfortable from the ceremony to the reception.
One of the most important things to factor in when shopping for a wedding guest outfit is the formality level. The wedding invitation should specify whether the event is formal, casual, or somewhere in between—if you’re not sure, it’s ok to ask.
If you’re attending a formal summer wedding, a simple short-sleeve sheath dress in a neutral color is a safe option. Alternatively, opt for a pencil skirt, dressy blouse, and medium-height heels for an outfit that’s classic and wedding-worthy. For an even dressier look, special occasion dresses are always a good choice. If you’d prefer to wear slacks, that’s fine too. Pair them with a dressy blouse and formal shoes, and you’re all set.
There are just as many fashion possibilities for a semi-formal wedding. Cotton dresses are a cool, comfortable option for warm-weather outdoor events. And they come in an array of styles, from flouncy fit-and-flare dresses to flowing maxi dresses. For indoor weddings in an air-conditioned building, bring along a lightweight cardigan or blazer to layer over your dress in case you get chilly.
Shirt dresses are a great option for a casual wedding ceremony. Wear a T-shirt dress with heeled sandals or opt for a button-front shirt dress, depending on your preferred style. Both work for casual weddings and come in summery styles, perfect for warm weather. Another idea is a lightweight knit top with a skort, which provides modest coverage and the fit of shorts with the look of a skirt.
There are just as many options for a destination wedding held on the beach. Sleeveless cotton dresses are a good choice, or you could wear a swimsuit under a cover-up dress if the event is ultra-casual and includes a reception on the beach. Some cover-up dresses are more formal than others; for example, long dresses with details like notched necklines are a bit dressier than shorter, simpler styles.
You can be comfortable and look elegant with the right fabric. As mentioned, cotton is a good fabric for summer wedding wear. When it comes to types of cotton, Supima is one of the finest. It’s grown in only a handful of states, and it has a long-staple fiber with superior durability. Plus, it’s soft and retains its shape through plenty of wear and washings. Cotton-modal blends are another possibility for wedding guest outfits, whether you choose a cardigan or a short-sleeve sweater dress.
Linen is another summer-ready fabric that you can wear to a wedding. There are even polyester blend fabrics in breathable knits that deliver UPF 50+ sun protection. Silk is excellent for formal weddings, and you can even wear lightweight cashmere for indoor ceremonies. Almost any fabric can be wedding-appropriate as long as it’s suitable for the season, comfortable to wear, and wrinkle-free.
Another thing to consider when choosing a wedding-guest outfit is what color to wear. As a general rule, it’s never good to upstage the couple getting married. Colors that are super-vibrant may be too much for a wedding, but you can use them in small doses when attending casual and/or beach weddings. Many people tend to avoid wearing white or black to weddings, which is simply a matter of personal tradition and preference. Neutral hues, muted colors, and pastels are all good choices for warm-weather weddings.
If you’re not sure which neutrals are best for summer, consider ivory or dove gray. Pastels can range from blush pink and robin’s egg blue to delicate yellow. For a soft, summery look, match a neutral color with a stronger color for a special-occasion look. For example, you could wear a soft pink blouse with a light gray midi skirt. Play around with different color combinations to find your favorites. If you know the wedding colors, you could even work them into your outfit in an understated way.
It’s easy to add a formal touch to casualwear with the right accessories. For example, a simple jersey-knit dress could be elevated with a gleaming gold necklace or a pair of chandelier earrings. When it comes to wearing accessories to a wedding—or anywhere else—remember less is more. If you’re wearing a bold piece, keep the rest of your jewelry minimal. Fashion scarves are another wedding guest accessory you can add to your outfit for dressy flair.
Try different looks before the event to find out what you feel most confident wearing. Once you’ve settled on an outfit, you’re ready to enjoy the day. Also, don’t forget to shop for a wedding gift—there are plenty of wedding gifts at various price points for every newlywed couple.