The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests (2023)

With peak wedding season just around the corner, invitations are beginning to roll in and wedding guests are eagerly planning their outfits for the summer nuptials ahead.

The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests (1)

Choosing what to wear, and what not to wear, can be a difficult task regardless of your role at the wedding or relationship with the happy couple. Emma Zamani-Hawke and Sam Hughes, founders of luxury wedding and event design company Hawke & Hughes, share their top tips on how best to avoid a wedding day fashion faux pas…

The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests (2)

Don’t wear white

The cardinal sin of weddings, wearing white is by far the biggest mistake that can be made by a wedding guest. No guest should steal the attention away from the bride; it is her special day after all. In a white dress, the possibility of being confused for the bride is all too great so no matter how good white looks on you, give it a miss – just for one day.

Don’t upstage the bride

Continue reading below…

Weddings are a great excuse for treating yourself to a fancy new dress, but avoid going too overboard. Prom dresses, maxi gowns with a train and multi-coloured sequins that scream look at me are best avoided.

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The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests (3)

Invest in accessories

Attending numerous weddings in succession can be costly, especially if each event requires a new outfit. A great way to avoid breaking the bank is to choose a couple of versatile dresses and update them for each wedding by wearing a different bag, hat, shoes and jewellery. Statement accessories are a great way of updating a look and incorporating the latest trends.

Don’t wear anything too skimpy

See-through fabrics, plunging necklines and cutaway dresses should be worn with caution. Weddings are family events and usually day to evening celebrations so steer clear of anything too daring or risqué.

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Don’t dress too casually

Regardless of the dress code wearing jeans is a complete and utter no-no at weddings. Remember that this is the bride and groom’s special day and if it were your wedding, you’d expect guests to make an effort. Use weddings as an opportunity to dress up and show off a new outfit. If dresses really aren’t your thing cigarette pants teamed with a well cut blazer make an ideal, smart and on-trend look.

Wear colour in summer

Summer is the perfect opportunity to wear bright colours or pretty pastels, especially if worn with sunkissed skin. However, be sure to check in advance what colour the bridesmaids are wearing – being mistaken for part of the bridal party is a big faux pas that can easily be avoided with some forward planning.

The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests (8)

Bring a pair of flats

Wearing skyscraper heels all day can take its toll on your feet so pack a pair of ballet pumps or summer sandals in your bag to change into later on in the evening. No one will notice and this pre-planning will ensure you can dance away into the small hours of the night.

Avoid wearing black

You’re going to a wedding not a funeral, so unless you have the perfect little black dress to wear, then try to avoid black. This rule is especially relevant for summer weddings when guests should embrace the celebratory vibe of the day and opt for bold colours and prints.

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The 10 top fashion rules for wedding guests (9)

Mother of the bride

Choosing what to wear as the mother-of-the-bride is a difficult task, it’s best to start with a dress that’s in keeping with the colour scheme of the wedding, doesn’t clash with the groom’s mother’s outfit and most importantly is comfortable. After all it’s a long day and you need to ensure you feel comfortable and relaxed.

Wear fur into winter

Winter weddings are the perfect opportunity to wear a luxurious faux-fur stole. Glamorous, on-trend and great for keeping you warm.


How do you answer is there a dress code wedding? ›

3. What should I wear?
  1. “The wedding is casual, so please feel free to wear whatever you'd feel best in!”
  2. “The wedding is semi-formal, so we encourage you to wear cocktail attire [for evening events] / Sunday best [for daytime events].”
  3. “The wedding is formal, so we encourage you to wear black tie attire.
Oct 2, 2019

What is the number one rule as a wedding guest? ›

Unbreakable Rule #1: RSVP Promptly

If you're one of the chosen few to be invited, make sure you respond promptly. Many wedding invitations will include a deadline to reply. Prompt RSVPs are important because wedding venues and vendors require a firm headcount ahead of time.

Is there a dress code wedding question? ›

Ladies should wear cocktail dresses, and the gentlemen should wear a suit and tie or a sports coat.” Tip: Wedding attire can be tricky, to avoid confusion in addition to the dress code, let the guests know specifically what they should wear, for example, a suit and tie, tux, formal gown, or floor-length dress.

What is the dress code when attending a wedding? ›

Women should wear a formal floor-length evening gown, no exceptions. Pair your dress with jewelry, heels, and an elegant clutch. Men are required to wear a tuxedo with tails, a formal white shirt, white vest and bow tie, white or gray gloves, and formal footwear, such as derby shoes or oxfords.

What is dress code answer? ›

The dress code of a place is the rules about what kind of clothes people are allowed to wear there.

How do I tell guests about dress code? ›

The simplest way to tell your guests what they're expected to wear is to put it on the invitation. There is a time-honored glossary of dress-code wording short enough to include on invitations, or on a card inserted with the invitation.

What should a female guest wear to a wedding? ›

Semi-formal might be the most common wedding dress code. Think date night at the nicest restaurant in your town. Men should definitely wear slacks and a dress shirt but they can choose if they'd like to wear a tie and sport jacket or not. Women should wear a nice dress, skirt, or pants.

What is the 30 5 rule wedding? ›

So what is the 30/5 rule? It's the rule that accounts for things that typically take 5 minutes in real life that will take 30 minutes on a wedding day. It also means that 30 minutes on a wedding day will feel like 5 minutes. You may have heard people say over and over that your wedding day will fly by.

What is the dress code for a 5 o'clock wedding? ›

A morning wedding typically calls for casual dress, while a ceremony after 5 p.m. generally calls for formal attire.

Can you tell wedding guests what to wear? ›

Mentioning a dress code ensures your event stays as formal or as casual as you want, and it's helpful for guests to know exactly what is expected of them for attire.

What is not appropriate to wear as a wedding guest? ›

Avoid sequined dresses and any clothing that will draw attention away from the bride. A wedding isn't the proper time to make a bold fashion statement. Ditch your everyday jeans and tee. Even if the wedding initiation says “casual”, wearing sneakers, t-shirts, shorts, and jeans are never appropriate for a wedding.

What is after 5 attire? ›

Although the phrase may seem mysterious when you see it on an invitation, "after five attire" is actually another way to say "semi-formal." To dress appropriately for after five events, you'll simply take your work-day style up a notch in formality.

What is smart casual dress for a wedding? ›

Smart casual: For the ladies, a summery midi/maxi dress or top and skirt combo are appropriate for a smart casual affair, with a more relaxed shoe style like wedges or even dressy flats. For the guys, a suit is definitely not required.

Do you have to put dress code on wedding invitation? ›

The general rule for dress code basically says not to include a dress code on your main invite. Your guests should be able to assume the level of formally based on the venue and time of day of your event.

What are the four dress codes? ›

Regardless of whether you are dressing for professional photos, a zoom call, or an actual meeting, it's important to understand the four main classifications of professional workplace attire: business formal, business professional, business casual, and casual.

What is not acceptable for dress code? ›

Never Acceptable

Dirty or wrinkled clothing. Tight-fitting or revealing clothing. Too casual, such as yoga pants, overalls, flip flops or shorts. T-shirts with inappropriate messages or offensive content.

What are the main types of dress codes? ›

What are the different kinds of dress codes? There are four dress codes for the workplace: business formal, business professional, business casual and casual.

What is fabulous dress code? ›

"Fabulous Attire"

It means you're not restricted to black-tie, but says you gotta look good. It gives guests more leeway than "formal", and lets women dress up with "no rules. She should wear- A dressy dress, cocktail dress, full length dress, anything that says you made an extra effort to dress up.

What is an example of an appropriate dress code? ›

For example, we may require employees to wear semi-formal attire for an event. Then, both male and female employees should wear suits, ties, white shirts and appropriate shoes. Our company may also introduce [dress-down Friday] when employees can wear more casual clothing like jeans, simple blouses and boots.

How do you talk about dress code? ›

How to ask about dress code
  1. Ask your point of contact. One way to ask about the dress code is to be direct. ...
  2. Network with employees. If you don't want to ask the hiring manager about the dress code, you can network with the company's current employees. ...
  3. Examine what people wear. ...
  4. Ask at the end of the interview.
Feb 3, 2023

What should a female guest not wear to a wedding? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire; jeans, T-Shirts, shorts, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally.

What color dress do you wear to a wedding as a guest? ›

You may choose to wear any color except black or white. The guest's goal should be to blend in with the surroundings and let the bride shine. As her guest, you should avoid attire that could be considered informal or in bad taste. Pastels, jewel tones and earth tones are excellent choices, as are most primary colors.

What is dressy casual for a woman? ›

"This is where you're thinking more light colors and casual materials," she says, versus fancier fare like satin and sparkles. You can wear things that are a little more flowy, and even bold prints are acceptable. "That really cute sundress or maxi dress is a great example of dressy casual,” Swann says.

What is Rule 4 wedding crashers? ›

Rule #4: No one goes home alone. Rule #5: Never let a girl come between you and a fellow Crasher.

What is the 80 20 rule wedding? ›

80% of the savings come from 20% of the planning. Embrace this 20% of planning. Focus on it. In this economy, the 20% is what will truly dent the costs.

What is the no phone wedding rule? ›

An unplugged wedding ceremony is a ceremony in which the couple requests that guests put away cell phones, cameras, and any other devices in order for them to be present in the moment.

Can you wear black to a 4pm wedding? ›

"It is perfectly acceptable and chic to wear black to evening, black tie, and winter weddings."

Can I wear black to a 5 00 wedding? ›

Generally, wearing black to a wedding is appropriate. "Guests can absolutely wear black to a wedding," says Shawne Jacobs, President and Creative Director of Anne Barge. "In the past, black was a color typically worn for mourning.

Is a 4pm wedding formal? ›

A daytime celebration (typically less formal) is held before 6 p.m., while an evening wedding (typically more formal) is held after 6 p.m. or begins a bit before and continues well into the night.

Can I ask my guests to wear a certain color? ›

If you're going to request a certain dress code or color from your guests, be upfront about this from the beginning. That means notifying them of this on the invitation or even the save the date. This gives guests time to find an appropriate outfit or bow out if they're not able to follow it.

Can you wear the same dress as a wedding guest? ›

Most likely, no one else will notice that your dress is the same as another wedding guest's--unless of course it's lime green with a sequined train or something. And really, we're adults. Wearing the same outfit isn't such a big deal, so no need to let it ruin your night. Compliment her if it comes up.

What is a smart casual dress code? ›

Smart casual includes items like blazers, sports jackets, dresses, sweaters, trousers, khakis, skirts, blouses, button-down shirts, polos, dress shoes, boots, heels, flats, scarves and jewelry.

What colors Cannot be worn at weddings? ›

Steer clear of off-white, eggshell, beige, champagne, cream, or any other super light color that could be mistaken for white. There are so many dress options available in a variety of hues, so steering clear of these shades should not be a major issue.

Why can't you wear red to a wedding? ›

Why was red traditionally inappropriate for wedding guest attire? “Tradition dictates guests avoid wearing red out of fear that it could take attention away from the happy couple,” explains Hurwitz. “Visually, it's quite bold.

What guests don't care about at wedding? ›

Here are 6 things your wedding guests do NOT care about:
  • Professional Wedding Website. We are in favor of keeping it classy and professional, but when it comes to your wedding website, your guests aren't necessarily looking for something fancy. ...
  • Bouquet Toss or Garter Toss. ...
  • The Guest Book. ...
  • Wedding Favors. ...
  • Long Reception.
Jun 16, 2021

What is the most dress code? ›

Also known as “full evening dress”, white tie attire is considered the most formal of all dress codes.

What is the most common dress code? ›

The most common dress codes are black tie, cocktail, dressy casual, and business.

What are dress codes important? ›

Dress codes are used to communicate to employees what the organization considers appropriate work attire. A dress code or appearance policy allows an employer to set expectations regarding the image it wants the company to convey. Dress codes can be formal or informal and might include the use of uniforms.

What are the three levels of dress? ›

Classifications are divided into formal wear (full dress), semi-formal wear (half dress), and informal wear (undress).

What does after 6 attire mean? ›

If the event is held in the evening (after 6 p.m.), the semiformal guidelines lean more toward the formal than if it were held during the day. Semiformal attire is typically worn to weddings, holiday parties, and to fine restaurants.

What is dress code 6? ›

6) Casual. The most favourite dress code and the one that requires the least explanation is casual-wear.

What is a good casual outfit to wear to a wedding? ›

"When it says casual, men could show up in pants and a blazer with no tie—or maybe not a jacket at all—but just a nice shirt and a pair of slacks. Women can wear a nice sundress or dress, a jumpsuit or a two-piece outfit," says Julie Sabatino, a bridal stylist and founder of The Stylish Bride.

What is smart dress code for ladies? ›

A smart casual dress code for women includes combining a polished piece with something more laid back. Some examples are a day dress paired with heels or a shirt dress styled with trainers and a stylish shoulder bag. Depending on the office setting, jewellery and accessories should be kept to a minimum if you prefer.

What is too casual for a wedding? ›

Avoid jeans, shorts, tank tops, and tennis shoes, unless the invitation specifically says otherwise. Sandals are tricky, as some might consider them too casual for an event like a wedding, while others say sandals are the obvious choice for casual beach nuptials.

What does M mean on an RSVP? ›

Many response cards will include an "M" followed immediately by a line. In keeping with more formal wedding tradition, the line is here as a way to kickstart your reply. The "M" stands for the first letter of the title you prefer to go by, be it Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss.

What is a dress to impress dress code? ›

Dress to impress, also known as festive dress code is a relatively recent phenomenon, and can be a lot of fun to dress for. The key tenet is that the happy couple wants their guests to have fun with their looks. You'll still want to wear a suit, but you can play with the look by wearing a fun accessories.

What should not be included in a wedding invitation? ›

Phrases like "no children" or "adults only" should not be included on the invitation card; who is invited will be implied by the names on the envelope. You should also leave off registry information—family and members of the wedding party can spread the word when asked about it, or you can provide it on your website.

How do you ask wedding guests not to wear a certain color? ›

Be Clear and Concise

If you want them to stay within a certain color palette, be sure to list out the acceptable colors and even provide a picture of them! If you want them to avoid certain colors, for example, the bridal colors, so guests don't end up looking like accidental bridesmaids, be clear about that as well.

How do you ask if there is a dress code for a party? ›

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Do you need a dress code for a wedding? ›

Although it's rare, some weddings simply have no dress code at all. If you choose not to have a dress code at your wedding, expect your guests to turn up wearing a mixture of different styles and looks. Most guests will err on the side of caution, and wear something smart.

How do you tell someone they can't bring a plus one? ›

Be sure your tone isn't going to make her defensive — delivery is everything. Politely say, “Unfortunately, your desire to bring a guest can't be accommodated this time, but I am looking forward to seeing you at the event.”

What means something you should never wear as a wedding guest? ›

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire; jeans, T-Shirts, shorts, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally.

How do you say dress code on an invitation? ›

Use straightforward wording to get your point across.

Wording for dress codes might be: Black tie (tuxedos and formal gowns) Formal, black tie optional (suit and tie and dresses) Semi-formal (suit and tie and cocktail dresses)

What to wear at a wedding that doesn t have a dress code? ›

Your best bet is cocktail attire. Sure, you might be overdressed if it ends up being a more relaxed affair, but you'll fit right in at a cocktail attire party, and (with the right accessories) can easily dress up for something on the more formal side. Women should opt for a dress in a luxe fabric, such as silk.

Do you have to wear wedding colors as a guest? ›

The wedding colours are for the wedding party, not guests

The colour scheme, when it comes to what to wear, is designed for the bridal party i.e. the groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, pageboys etc. Unless you're in that bridal party, you'd be best to steer clear of trying to match them.

Is it rude to not allow plus ones? ›

Choosing not to invite any long-term partners can be seen as an etiquette faux pas, so keep this in mind as you begin creating your wedding guest list. It's also considered common courtesy to extend a plus-one to any members of your wedding party.

What to say when someone asks why they weren t invited? ›

If someone asks you why they were not invited to your party, you might explain those limitations if they are indeed the case. If you had other reasons for not inviting this particular person, I don't think it is polite to point them out. A simple “I am sorry, but I was limited as to my guest list” should suffice.

What is the rule of thumb for plus one? ›

The basic rule of thumb when deciding who should get a plus-one is that everyone over the age of 18 should. While there are exceptions (see below), all guests should be allowed to bring someone in case they don't know anyone else attending.


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