ALexa Ray

April 22, 2020

Style Guide:

What to Wear to a Wedding

Wedding season is upon us yet again and with it the potential stressor of what to wear. Dressing in your absolute best is one of the highest forms of respect, and a way to honor a bride and groom on their big day. But while it’s a chance to go all out and get dolled up for the occasion, in a world of endless style possibilities it can also get overwhelming fast - and we don't blame you. A wedding often tests one’s knowledge of many etiquettes: religious, tradition, time of day, cultural among others. While the invitation is the best place to start in getting clues on how to dress, we'll go through other ways on how to select the perfect outfit. Details such as time of day and location, among other styling tips to help you dress to the nines for the occasion.

What Not To Wear

A good place to start when selecting an outfit is knowing what NOT to wear. While some argue the whole "don't wear white to a wedding" is an old, outdated rule - we can assure you its not!  Remember while you're styling your outfit that the day is about the bride, so while you want to look your very best, avoid wearing anything that will steal the attention or upstage her on her big day.
  • 01

    White / Off White / Ivory

    While this may seem obvious, the number one thing you should never wear to a wedding is white. This color is reserved for the bride only! Exceptions to this rule are if the invitation specifically states it to be an 'all-white wedding' and thus encourages all wedding guests to wear all white , or if culturally the bride wears something other than white.

  • 02

    Avoid Lace

    While not a hard rule, avoiding a solid lace dress is a courtesy to the bride, as often the bride’s gown is lace. So, while small details of lace are okay, to eliminate any chance of competition, avoid wearing a solid lace gown.

  • 03

    Over the top outfits
    There is a fine line between looking your best and upstaging someone. Remember the day is to celebrate the bride. While you want to look your best, avoid outfits that are over the top and draw too much attention to yourself. Unless of course the invitation states 'White Tie Affair', in which case: go big or go home!

  • 04

    Club Attire
    While you might be dying to wear your go-to sexy number, keep in mind a wedding is often a family event with a good mix of children and grandparents who potentially are more traditional.

The Dress Codes :

Invitations will often let you know just how formal an event is. With so many dress codes for events, we've outlined some of the commonly used ones below, so you can easily identify how formal you should be dressing.

  • Casual

    Indicates you can wear whatever you feel most comfortable in: jeans, a stylish top, completely your choice - anything goes.

  • Business Casual

    A little dressier then casual but not entirely formal. Dress pants, a stylish top, a skirt or a knee length sheath dress are considered appropriate.

  • Semi-Formal

    There is a bit of wiggle room as semi-formal falls between business casual and a fully formal event dress. Pant suits, cocktail dresses, high-low skirts or jumpsuits are an appropriate choice.

  • Black Tie

    A formal occasion where evening wear is appropriate. Most weddings fall into this dress code category. Cocktail or a full-length evening gown is suitable.

  • White Tie

    One of the least common dress codes is the white tie event. A white tie dress code indicates wearing the utmost formal of attire. A full-length evening gown or ballgown is expected.

Time Of Day & Location

Another factor that will help narrow down what to wear is time of day and where your event is taking place. Traditionally the earlier in the day the event is, dictates the length of a woman's hem. Morning events would suggest a cocktail dress with a hem at the knee. Mid-day would fall into tea length hems, while an evening event would suggest a floor length skirt.

Location will also play a factor into selecting the right attire for the occasion. While you might want to wear a beautiful mermaid gown, if the wedding happens to be held in the afternoon outdoor, you may want to reconsider and find something that will be more comfortable to wear throughout the day.

When selecting your dress style, where time of day is more about etiquette, the location is more about being appropriate and comfortable. In fact, it’s not uncommon for guests to attend an event with two dresses. For example: one dress appropriate for an afternoon ceremony followed with another more a-tuned for an evening reception.

Conclusion: Wedding Guest Dress Ideas

Following the guidelines discussed earlier in this article, we've gone through our catalogue to find what we feel are the best styles to wear as a wedding guest attendee. Whatever your style: fun & flirtatious, chic & sexy, modest & elegant – at Stage 9 Secrets you’ll find a little bit of everything to your taste. We suggest simple silhouettes, solid colors, and chic yet modest cuts, which make for the best wedding guest outfits.

Floor length Styles:

Cocktail Styles:


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