With the wedding season starting in just a few weeks, I thought this would be a good time to share some tips and advice to help you put together some killer outfits for those joyful celebrations. As always with fashion, age plays a role in deciding what to wear … but you might be surprised how low on this list that consideration is.
FIRST CONSIDERATION: Dress Code or No Dress Code.
There are six dress codes a couple can choose for their wedding guests. To understand this, I use information that can be found on invitations on dawn’s website.
Dress codes – what to wear
1. Casual – casual clothing that matches the season
2. Cocktail clothing / Semi-Formal / Dressy Casual – cocktail dress
3. Themed clothing – Determined by the couple (see Vintage No. 5 below)
4. Formal wear / black tie Optional – floor length dress or evening pant suit
5. Black tie – evening dress
6. White tie – full length ball gown
When there is a dress code that limits your options but still leaves room for a lot of imagination! If there isn’t a dress code, then move on to the next consideration.
SECOND CONSIDERATION: Wedding theme or style
There are many themes / styles, but I’ll mention the eight most common. Understanding the theme / style can help you decide what to wear if the invitation does not include a dress code.
Theme / Style (classified most formal to most casual) – suggestions of what to wear
1. Classic or traditional – cocktail dress to long dress
2. Contemporary or elegant – cocktail dress or jumpsuit with wide legs
3. Romantic or backyard / vineyard – cocktail dress or wide-leg jumpsuit
4. Industrially inspired – any of the above
5. Vintage – Based on the era the couple chooses
6. Rustic or Country – Summer dresses, casual dresses or full length jeans and a lace blouse
7. Beach – summer dresses, full-length casual dresses, swimsuit with sarong
Your options are endless – use these suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
THIRD CONSIDERATION: Time of day
A general rule of thumb is that clothing should become a bit more formal as the day progresses through to the evening.
Now you can narrow it down even further and start thinking about the details of the clothes and putting together ideas for the accessories.
FOURTH CONSIDERATION: Adaptation to bad weather
Whichever outfit you choose, make sure you have a second choice ready in case the weather turns bad or you have a throw or scarf … even a sleek umbrella to help you weather the weather!
FIFTH CONSIDERATION: What are the wedding colors?
Knowing the colors the couple chose for their wedding can help you wear something that goes well with these. In general, if you are not part of the wedding reception, you don’t want to match the colors exactly. Something a few shades lighter or darker than one of the colors, or a simple pattern that includes one or more of the colors, are both good choices.
SIXTH CONSIDERATION: What Do You Look Best In?
This one is a bit tricky because while you want to look good, you must never bring the bride or bridesmaids on stage. This is the bride’s day to shine and her bridesmaids with her, so think about what looks best on you, then change it up a little. That could mean that instead of a bodycon and very short high-heeled dress, you choose either a bodycon dress just above the knee-length dress and heel, or a slightly looser-fitting dress that is short with killer high heels. Another example would be to wear a slightly higher neckline with a deep cut back instead of a low-cut, strapless overalls. The modifications are endless …
Do not skip this consideration. It will keep you from being the one everyone gossips about behind your back at the wedding and for weeks after.
SEVENTH CONSIDERATION: Age appropriate
This is not a good thing for my younger readers and a bad thing for the older ones. This is also about modifications. You want to look stylish while being age appropriate. Those of you younger have more options, although I would exhort ALL of you, regardless of your age, to study yourself carefully in a three-way mirror that is standing, sitting, walking and bending over! The word humble means to show grace to the viewer and that should be your goal when attending a wedding. You don’t want to distract other guests or people in the wedding reception. Those of us who are older need to spend even more time thinking and studying how we look in an outfit … no matter how stunning it may be on the hanger or the mannequin. As we get older, we can lose sight (or sometimes lose sight of) what our clothes look like on us from different angles and in different body positions. Show no mercy for an outfit that doesn’t look at its best in every angle and body position. Don’t wear anything that you will regret later on. Always err on the side of classical pieces.
A good rule of thumb for those of us old enough to be the couple’s parents:
Combine classic pieces with a trendy piece or two
EIGHTH CONSIDERATION: Your accessories
Accessories turn items of clothing into outfits. Never underestimate the performance of accessories. Here are some things to help you make good decisions.
1. Weddings are not the best place to wear oversized jewelry or colorful jewelry.
a. Choose earrings, bracelets, and necklaces that are more moderate
b. Pieces that are mostly made of metal with pops of color and bling are best
2. Make either your jewelry or your shoes / wallet / belt / outerwear your main focus … not all of the above.
3. Choose shoes that are suitable for standing and dancing for hours, OR bring another comfortable pair to dance with that goes with your outfit and is in great shape.
My husband and I have two weddings this summer. One is a rustic wedding and the other is traditional, so I can choose two very different outfits in different colors with different accessories … some of them I already have in my closet and others I have to buy. I’m already putting together ideas for what I’ll wear both days based on everything I’ve written here.
So now I leave you to your own creative juices. ENJOY!