Daytime Wedding Dress For Guests

light colored dresses to wear to a wedding

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

After the excitement of receiving a wedding invitation, all kinds of wedding etiquette questions may pop into your mind, with one of them being what to wear. There are several factors to consider, including whether it's a daytime wedding or held in the evening.

First of all, you need to keep in mind what time of day the wedding will be held. Typically, an evening wedding is more formal, while a daytime wedding is semi-formal or casual.

Whether you're going to a morning or afternoon wedding, you'll want to look your best without being over or under-dressed. you'll want to wear something between formal and casual. The key to knowing where in that range your attire should fall depends on a number of things.

Factors to Consider

Some of the things you need to consider are location, style and attitude of the couple, and preference if it is stated on the invitation. Unfortunately, that's not always clear. 

You want to look your best (without outshining the bride(s) and/or groom(s), of course), so you need to spend some time choosing the right outfit. In general, if you are attending a church wedding, there is an assumed dress code to the church service versus a destination wedding on the beach in Bermuda. At either wedding, these tips will be helpful when you are deciding what to wear.

If you're unsure of how to dress based on the information in the wedding invitation, it's okay to ask the bride(s), groom(s), or someone else in the bridal party. They'll appreciate the fact that you care enough to bring it up.

Feminine Daytime Wedding Attire

For the daytime wedding, think dressy or semi-formal attire. This is the time to wear a nice colorful dress or suit. Wear pumps or dressy flats. If this is for a summer or late spring wedding, you may wear nice sandals but never flip flops, unless it's an ultra-casual beach wedding. If the wedding is outdoors, don't forget to bring a shawl, sweater, jacket, or wrap to keep your shoulders warm.

Masculine Daytime Wedding Attire

A daytime wedding means you may wear your suit with a bright tie and perhaps a color-coordinated shirt that matches or complements your jacket. If the wedding is less dressy or on the beach, a nice pair of trousers and sport coat are fine, unless the invitation states otherwise. Put your best foot forward, figuratively and literally. Psst, don't forget the shoes. Make sure you wear dress shoes that are polished and shined.

More Tips on Wedding Attire

When you are dressing for daytime weddings, remember these tips:

  • Only the bride wears white. The wedding day is considered the bride's time to shine, although many people now ignore many of the old-school etiquette rules. However, since you should never take the attention from the bride, it's still a good rule to follow. Even if your favorite, most flattering dress is white or off-white, save it for another time. You never want anyone to question who is getting married, so pick another color. There is bound to be something else you can wear to show off your gorgeous hair or skin tone. However, some couples are now choosing a monochromatic wedding and requesting that all of the guests wear white. If that's the case, go along with the bride and groom's wishes.
  • Complete the look. Go ahead and accessorize to your heart's content, but don't make the mistake of wearing anything that is blinding (rhinestones that sparkle so much that people mistake you for a disco ball), view blocking (humongous floppy hat with a gigantic gardenia on the rim), or noisy wrist-to-elbow stacked bangles that cling and clang with every movement. Unless this is a summer wedding, please wear skin-toned hose. 
  • Have a happy face. Like Little Orphan Annie has always said, you're never fully dressed without a smile. Attend the wedding with a positive attitude and be prepared to have a great time. Even if you don't approve of the wedding, you can at least be nice for the duration of the ceremony and reception. This is a celebration, not a time to express your negative thoughts or create drama.
  • Leave the monster-sized handbag at home. Many women carry all of their essentials everywhere they go. However, you don't want to take up extra seating in the venue, so opt for a smaller handbag that doesn't take up so much space. If you feel as though you really need your "stuff," drop a clutch with your essentials into a tote. When you get to the venue, carry the clutch and leave the tote in your locked car.

Key Points to Remember for What to Wear to a Daytime Wedding

There are several key points to keep in mind when attending a wedding during the day. Look for clues on the invitation and dress appropriately. Unless stated otherwise, you'll dress in more casual attire than you would for an evening wedding. And once you're arrive, smile and be gracious.


Edited by Debby Mayne