Wedding Guest What to Wear Guide

Attending a wedding soon and are unsure of what to wear? Here is a guide to help make sure you are dressed your best!


Find Out the Formality

The invite is a good reference point to determine how formal the wedding dress should be. If the invite states that the wedding will be “Black Tie” or “White Tie,” the dress code is more strict. For men, a formal tux or suit in a darker color with matching dress shoes is the best option. For women, options are more open, but it is best to stick with a longer, formal gown or cocktail dress! If the invite does not state a specific dress code, the general rule is that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed! And don’t forget to check the wedding website if the couple has one!


Take into Account the Season

Another good place to start is with the season the wedding will take place in. A winter wedding is a great time to pull out your more formal options! Going for darker tones and fun heavier fabrics, like velvet, is a great way to look elegant while still staying warm! Men can go for a wool suit or stylish laying options, such as a wool or zip up sweater. A trendy velvet blazer is another awesome way to look classy and layer up for warmth!

For a summer wedding, stick with lighter fabrics and keep the layers to a minimum, especially for outdoor weddings. A light, floor-length flowy dress is a good option for women, but a shorter dress is also acceptable if the wedding is not a Black Tie event. For men, it is acceptable to skip the tie at more casual weddings and opt for a light linen blazer or sport coat. For color, go with something on the lighter side, but avoid wearing white.

The dress code for spring weddings is often very similar to summer weddings with slight changes due to the weather. Lighter colors and floral patterns are great for this season, but be aware of the heavy rains that come with a springtime wedding. Try to avoid thin heels that may sink into the damp grass, open toe shoes, or dresses that may drag and be ruined by potentially muddy areas.

For fall weddings, keep in mind the humidity (especially in the Columbia/Charleston area!). Keep layers to a minimum and be prepared for makeup and hair touch-ups if needed. Bring an extra layer for cooler fall nights and keep an eye on the weather leading up to the wedding!


Consider the Venue Location

Dressing for indoor weddings can be less challenging than for outdoor weddings, so be sure to look at the venue location ahead of time! Also keep in mind that if the ceremony takes place in a church or if the couple is more religious, try to be respectful and avoid anything too revealing. Another thing to consider is if the wedding will be a traditional ceremony. Always ask ahead and do prior research for cultural customs to ensure your attire is appropriate and respectful!


Check the Ceremony Time

The time of day that the ceremony occurs can also be a helpful indicator of dress code for guests. For a daytime wedding, stick with lighter colors and a less formal cocktail dress for women. For men, a dark suit with a blazer or sports jacket is recommended depending on how formal the wedding is. For evening events, women can wear something more dressy such as a formal evening gown or a nicer cocktail dress. For men, a dark suit is still the best option, unless the wedding is informal, in which case a lightweight blazer is acceptable.


What NOT to Wear

There are a few standard rules for wedding guest attire that are almost always unacceptable. Avoid denim and casual shoes. T-shirts, short sleeves, and any distressed clothing are not appropriate for wedding guests to wear. Definitely avoid wearing white unless otherwise stated and try to avoid black (although this has recently become more acceptable)!




Courtney Price Photography

Sarah Pascutti Photography

Kristi Taylor Photography

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