One of the style questions I get asked most often is what to wear to weddings, and seeing that we’re at the height of wedding season, I thought I would lay it all out for you!
The Cardinal Rule for Wedding Season
First, the cardinal rule: NEVER wear white. (That includes cream and ivory, and avoiding pale silver is also a safe bet.) There is just no excuse for this—let the bride have that color all to herself!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, take a close look at the invitation. This may seem obvious but trust me: I have learned from my own mistakes! I once turned up to a wedding in a barn setting in my highest heels. Thankfully, I’d brought a spare pair of flats, but it taught me to always check the location!
Ok, you say, I’m looking at the invitation, but what does “Festive Black Tie Optional” mean??? Ahh, good question. Setting aside the “festive” part for a moment, which really just means “fun with color and/or sequins,” let’s break down the most common dress codes below.
The Most Common Dress Codes for Weddings
Black tie: The one plus ultra of getting dressed up! I prefer to rent an unforgettable dress for this type of wedding, to save closet space and money for clothes I’ll wear more often. ByFashionaholic is definitely my favorite place to go to find the perfect look head-to-toe to dance the night away in.
Black Tie Optional: This is my favorite code to see on an invitation because it’s all the glamorous fun of Black Tie, but with a little edge to it. Think Met Ball rather than the Oscars. Choose a high-low dress or borrow from the boys and rock a satin tuxedo!
Cocktail: Here is where your beloved LBD can come out to play. But don’t be afraid to play with color—I love yellows and pinks for summer weddings and jewel tones in the fall. This is the dress code that you can definitely justify shopping for because unlike what the bride has promised her bridesmaids, you actually will wear your dress again!
Beach Wedding: If the invitation states “Beach Formal,” I recommend choosing a long dress with elevated accessories, but for any sandy ceremony, go with light, flowy fabrics and flats or wedge heels.
I’ve curated a collection of all my favorite dresses for wedding season below starting at just $50—click on your favorite to shop! And of course, I’m always available for personal styling one-on-one. Have other style questions? Drop me a comment below and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you never miss my advice!
Cheers to all the happy couples!
Black Tie/Black Tie Optional