What To Wear To a Wedding

Everyone panics – even if just a little – when a Wedding invitation arrives. For most of us questions arise, such as “What on earth am I going to wear?” Or “My hubby/partner is SO going to need a new suit!” So unless you have a wardrobe full of after-5 selections, check this ready-reckoner before you hit the shops!

It should answer most of your questions about Wedding dress code ettiquette so you’ll always feel confident knowing just what to wear, where and how!

Wedding Styles for Her

  • Informal Day : Short dress or suit (Did you know? You can even wear business attire for morning Weddings?)
  • Informal Evening: Cocktail dress – that means not long (but short does not mean skimpy/up under your bum/club-wear either!)
  • Semi-Formal Day : Short dress (see above for cocktail definition) or suit
  • Semi-formal Evening: Cocktail dress
  • Formal Day : Short dress or suit. Hats and gloves can be worn.
  • Formal Evening or Black-Tie: Long or quite dressy short cocktail (i.e. include beading, glam accessories, a wrap etc)
  • Ultra-formal or White Tie: Long gown, extra glitz (furs, diamonds, tiara/fascinators (eek!) etc.)

Do’s and Don’ts for Her

  • Don’t wear sequins or over-do the bling during the day.
  • Don’t worry if you turn up wearing the same colours as the Bridesmaids or Mum of the Bride. It’s impossible guarantee you’re not coordinating with everyone in the Wedding party.
  • Don’t wear head-to-toe white.  There are plenty of other choices if you want to wear light colours (which as you know, Style Counsel loves!) Try beige or silver-grey instead. Even if the Bride is wearing ivory, if you’re in a long white gown your outfit may still appear to be competing with hers.
  • Don’t ever wear opera-length (full-length gloves to top of arm) with anything but sleeveless or strapless gowns. If you do, always take off gloves to eat or drink.
  • Do play it safe. i.e. err on the side of conservative if the invitation doesn’t specify the formality of the Wedding.
  • Do wear a pastel suit, a simple sheath, or floral dress for daytime or a little black dress for evening (after 6 p.m.).  These classics will take you just about anywhere in style!
  • Do wear something feminine and appropriate. Club-wear and anything overtly sexy (super-short, strapless, see-through, etc) is never appropriate at a Wedding. If you have to ask if it’s appropriate, it probably isn’t.

Wedding Style for Him

  • Informal Day: Dress shirt and pants with a sports jacket.
  • Informal Evening: Suit
  • Semi-Formal Day: Suit
  • Semi-Formal Evening: Dark suit
  • Formal Day: Dark suit and tie
  • Formal Evening: Tuxedo if invitation states “black tie”. Otherwise wearing a dark suit is fine – especially if women (your partner, specifically) is wearing a short dress.
  • Ultra-formal Evening or White Tie: White tie, vest and shirt.

Do’s and Don’ts for Him

  • Don’t try to get trendy with a tux. It just looks trashy. Weddings are not the place for you to make a statement/stand out from the crowd. It’s not your day.  A black tux with white shirt and black bow tie is always the safest and most considerate bet.
  • Don’t wear a tux during the day, regardless of the formality of the Wedding.
  • Do wear a dark suit with a tie if the Wedding is after 6pm and the invitation doesn’t actually specify “Black Tie.”
  • Do wear a dark suit and tie if the invitation doesn’t specify the formality of the event.


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