Do’s and Don’ts of Being the Best Dressed Wedding Guest

Jonah Levine

Posted on May 17 2019

Dressing for weddings is different from dressing for any other occasion, when we normally want to look our best. At a wedding (unless it’s ours), we still want to look as good as possible, but we are afraid we might end up looking better than the bride herself, and we know that’s a big no-no. Here are a few do’s and don'ts we’ve put together to help you out.

Top 5 Do’s

1. Choose Your Dress Wisely

Ideally, pick a dress you could wear more than once. A full-length black dress can be worn multiple times, but a fuchsia ball gown can’t. Plus, the latter is too fancy for a wedding guest anyway.

2. Ask About the Dress Code

If the dress code isn’t specified on the wedding invitation, try to find out about it. Ask the girls in the wedding party. If you’re not close enough to them to call them, you can send them a message on Instagram or Twitter and they’ll let you know.

Does the couple have a wedding website? The dress code (white-tie, black-tie, casual) might be listed there. If not, they might have contact persons whom you could ask. If all else fails, contact the groom or bride themselves, well in advance, and ask about the code.

Sorry to harp on, but this is more important than you may imagine. You don’t want to show up at a casual outdoor wedding in a regal ball gown (although that’s happened to people and it’s not the end of the world).

At any rate, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed for an occasion like a wedding.

3. Do Go for Splashes of Color

This year, weddings will be more colorful than ever. According to wedding trend experts, guests at these lovely occasions will be moving from soft pastels to multiple and brighter colors, a tendency that will extend even to the bridesmaids. If you’re put off by the idea of wearing a solid color, you’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to! Just don’t be too extravagant so as not to steal the spotlight away from the bride.

4. Do Accessorize

Statement jewelry is a great way to show off at a wedding without being over-the-top. This includes heavy gold bracelets and attention-grabbing necklaces or hoop earrings that are (sadly) out of place at the office. A wedding is the perfect venue to display them.

5. Do Layer Up

Unless the spring is always hot where you live, you’d be wise to layer up, especially if the wedding is going to be in the evening. Take the weather and the AC into consideration and be prepared by bringing along a tailored blazer to protect yourself. If not, you might be stuck with your boyfriend or husband’s oversized jacket, and not only – he might start complaining he’s cold too and make the experience miserable for you both.

Top 5 Don’ts

1. Don’t Clash with the Bridesmaids

It’ll be awkward to show up wearing the same colors or dress style as the bridesmaids, to say the least, so think twice before wearing the same off the shoulder periwinkle gown you wore to your cousin’s wedding last spring. To avoid discomfort, ask what the color scheme is in advance. Looking like a bridesmaid is almost as bad as looking like the bride!

2. Don’t Wear White

And on that note…never wear white as a wedding guest. This goes for men as well. Have you noticed that not even the bridesmaids or maid of honor wear white? White is reserved for the bride. The only time this rule wouldn’t apply is if the bride herself didn’t opt for white.

3. Don’t Ignore the Invite

Normally, the invitation indicates what attire is suitable for the type of wedding that’s planned, so don’t start planning your outfit before reading it carefully. Follow the dress code guidelines – it’s one of the best ways to show the couple respect.

4. Don’t Steal the Spotlight

As we’ve noted, stealing the show from the bride is a big no-no. Mind you, wearing white is not the only way to steal the spotlight. Other, even more, cringe-worthy ways include showing too much skin, wearing a dress that is too short or tight, or wearing a short, flowy dress that billows out in the wind, revealing your undergarments to each and every wedding guest.

Garish makeup is another no-no. Last but not least, a person’s behavior can leave a much longer-lasting impression than their attire, so don’t kill the buffet or overindulge in complimentary alcoholic beverages.

5. Don’t Forgo Styling

You don’t want to steal the spotlight, but you do want to look nice, so we recommend having your hair done even if this is something you don’t usually do. This also goes for your nails. Put on some lipstick or lip gloss before the event. Take a medium-sized bag or clutch that is specifically structured to hold things you might need, such as cash, mints, and a pair of comfy flats to dance in.

Before you leave the party, don’t forget to congratulate the bride and groom on their special day and express your sincere thanks for being invited to their special event.

Finding the Right Wedding Guest Dress

It can be challenging to find the right wedding guest dress even after taking our tips into account. The search begins with considering your body type. A curvier guest would feel comfortable and draw gazes at a spring wedding in a floral patterned, loosely fitting dress, complemented by glittering gold or silver jewelry. Solid-color, tight-fitting dresses will not accentuate the right curves.

We recommend lighter colors for spring and summer weddings to guests who want to wear a single-color dress. Tall, thin women will shine in backless, floor-length gowns, but if you choose a backless gown, it shouldn’t be low-cut or have a high slit. Pair it with a stylish clutch and a pearl necklace for the best effect.

For more ideas on the perfect wedding attire, don’t hesitate to check out NewYorkDress’s collection of wedding guest dresses. Browse our high-end styles and designs, ranging from trendy and contemporary to classic and timeless.

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