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Wedding Guest Attire Guide

Wedding Guest Attire Guide

THML Dress (c/o Riffraff, Chambray version here ) | Seychelles Wedges (s/o, similar here) | Elaine Turner Clutch (steal or splurge) | OPI Cajun Shrimp Nail Polish | Kiel James Patrick Pearl Bracelet | Kendra Scott Earrings

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Having deep rooted southern colloquialisms, I get a lot of questions about wedding etiquette, because it is like second nature to me...how you address a wedding invitation, rules of inviting people, and so on. One of the hot topics is what to wear. This is probably what I am asked the most. Perhaps, because I have a strong opinion about it. So, yes, this is what I think, but anyone who has been schooled in it would agree with what I'm recommending. I will say I have a more modern take on it than an older person, but for the most part, it's consistent.

With that preface over with, let me begin my wedding guest attire guide, by stating that I wanted to title this post "If you wear white to my wedding, I'll punch you in the face", but my mom said that would be inappropriate. (side note - you have been warned ;) )

Anyway, the reason I wanted to write this post, is not just because my wedding is quickly approaching, but also because I'm sometimes appalled by people's outfit choices. I honestly think they don't know any better, though. In the wedding attire realm, ignorance is not bliss! And with that, let's get into it.

I wanted to start with some definitions of how people define wedding attire. This should be the basis of your outfit choice.


Black Tie: Tuxedos and long dresses are preferred.

Formal: Also known as black tie optional. You can wear a tuxedo, but don't have to. Short or long dresses are appropriate, but they should err on the nicer side.

Semi Formal: Looped in with cocktail or after 5 attire, this dress code is a lot of the time more vague than helpful.   I'd wear a short dress. Guys should wear a suit, but don't necessarily have to don a tie.

Semi Casual: In reality, this just means no jeans. I suppose if you are in Texas, you could actually pull off dark jeans, a sport coat, and boots; however, you better make it work, or disaster may strike. Safe bets are short dresses or maxi dresses and khakis and a button down.

Festive: This is a newer "theme", but honestly, it's just meant to fit the wedding. Is it at a garden or a rustic barn? Dress like the venue or specific theme the bride gives.

Beach: Not all beach weddings are equal. You have formal and casual - really the only thing different are the fabrics. I'd suggest long dresses, like chiffon, for a formal wedding, but more like cotton and short for a casual wedding. For guys, I'd stay in the khaki realm. A khaki cotton or linen suit would be perfect for formal, but you could easily get away without a jacket for casual. Also, tempting, but don't wear a white dress, girls. Guys, white shirts are good to go.

Casual: This doesn't mean sweat pants. I'd suggest a button down tucked into jeans or a nice, cotton dress or skirt combo.

White Tie: This is the most formal, but I listed it last, because none of us were invited to Kate Middleton's wedding and probably never will be invited to a wedding of such caliber. If you are attending one, chances are you're not reading this blog post. Tuxedos and ball gowns are expected.


Never Wear This:

-White. This should be a no brainer, but apparently it's not. You should  never ever wear white or white based look to a wedding. You can wear a white based print to shower (see here for reference), but please for the love of all things good, don't wear white to a wedding.

-Rompers. You can get away with a jumpsuit, but don't wear shorts to a wedding. It's inappropriate.

-All black (unless black tie). Black based patterns and prints are fine, but all black is just not wedding like, unless it is the theme or very formal. 

-Distracting clothes. This could be that your dress is too short or your pants are too tight...really anything that takes the spotlight off of the bride should be a no-no.


Outfit inspiration, by wedding type:

Spring Wedding:   

Summer Wedding:

Fall Wedding: 

Winter Wedding: 

Destination Wedding:


Still unsure? Questions to ask:

Are the bridesmaid dresses long or short?

Is it inside or outside?

Are the guys wearing tuxes?

What is the venue like?


For a real life example, my wedding is this October! It is in Texas, so the weather won't be too hot or too cold. Everything is inside; however, guests will be in the foyer or the patio area outside, while the venue is flipped from the ceremony to the reception. The venue is a castle. My bridesmaids are wearing long, wine colored dresses and the groomsmen are wearing tuxedos. It is considered black tie; however, my house party will be in champagne colored cocktail length dresses. Because of Texas weather, it doesn't matter if you wear a short or long dress, as long as it is closer to the formal side, than the casual side. Men attending do not have to wear a tuxedo, but they shouldn't wear jeans. A khaki suit would probably be okay; however, if you asked me, I'd say that is too springy for a fall wedding.

See what information you can gather just by knowing a little bit about the big day?

Oh and, the dress I'm wearing in this post...I'd wear to a wedding in the spring, summer, or fall, as long as it wasn't black tie/formal.

I hope this was helpful! Are there any tips you would have liked for me to go over or address? Do you disagree with me at all? I'd love to hear what you think!

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