If you're getting married soon or you have weddings to attend this season, you're going to have to consider wedding dress codes and what they mean. One way to find out what kinds of clothing to wear to a wedding is to ask others, possibly the mother of the bride or the bridesmaids, what they think is appropriate. You could also ask other guests what they are wearing, or as a last resort, ask the bridal couple themselves what they would like you to wear. There are clues you can use to find out for yourself what is appropriate to wear to a wedding. Here they are:
1. Check the invitation
There are clues everywhere in an invitation that will signal to you what is appropriate to wear to that wedding. Is the invitation on embossed linen with lots of big words in fancy script? That wedding is probably going to be on the formal side. Is it a colorful or simple wedding invitation welcoming you to come watch while they "get hitched"? That points to a more casual affair. If you can find out how many people will be attending the wedding, that will help you know if it is going to be a large, small, or intimate gathering. Intimate weddings can be more formal, but you'll want to check with the rest of the clues because they can also end up black-tie.
2. Consider the facts
Where is the wedding being held? Is it in a cathedral? At the justice of the peace? On a farm? On a beach? All of these will have their own wardrobe necessities. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes for an outside wedding, a hat or covering for a sunny beach wedding, and a wrap for a religious wedding: cover those bare shoulders! Also, consider the time of day. Daytime weddings before 6pm have different clothing requirements than those that happen in the evening. Also, consider the season. You'll wear different weights and colors of clothing in the summer than you will in the winter.
3. Use the clues in the wording
Often the invitation will tell you right out what kind of wedding attire to wear. For a daytime summer wedding, a woman will need a light, flowing, or short, "church" dress, a light-colored suit, or a light skirt and blouse. In the winter, she'll need a skirt and sweater set or light-colored suit. For a daytime summer wedding, a man will need a light-colored and lightweight suit, preferably linen, or a dress shirt and slacks, possibly with a light-colored blazer. In the winter, he'll need a wool suit or the dress shirt, slacks, and blazer. They should be light-colored unless the wedding is also formal. In that case, wear darker colors.
For an evening wedding, a woman should wear a short cocktail dress or a dressy suit in darker colors. Avoid sequins unless it is to a black-tie event. A man should wear a dark suit unless for a casual wedding. Then, refer to daytime wedding attire.
For black-tie optional, the woman's dress will become floor-length and the man may choose a dark suit or a tuxedo. For strictly black-tie, wear a formal, floor-length dress with formal jewelry and accessories. The only option for a man at a black-tie even is a tuxedo.
There are several things you should never wear to a wedding. Don't wear all white unless you are the bride. Don't wear all black to a daytime wedding. Don't wear anything sexy or revealing. Don't wear anything torn or dirty. And possibly the most important rule of wedding attire: never wear anything that will upstage the bride.