What Should I Wear to My Friend's or Relative's Wedding?

A group of people dressed and partying at a wedding
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When shopping for an outfit for a friend's or relative's wedding, the most important thing to remember is never to upstage the wedding couple. In keeping the bride and groom in mind, that means not wearing white and avoiding the temptation to dress more formal than you believe the couple will be dressed. In addition to the wedding, the "no white" rule applies to additional wedding activities such as the engagement party, rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. Another way to ensure you do not upstage the wedding couple is to not dress in a fashion that calls excessive attention to yourself (e.g., a super short miniskirt or a sequined tie.)

What to Wear at a Wedding Depending on the Time of Day

After ensuring your wedding outfit does not upstage the couple, try to dress appropriately for the time of day and the setting. A Sunday afternoon wedding generally means a coat and tie (perhaps with light-colored slacks) and flowing dresses. An evening wedding typically calls for a suit, or coat and tie with dark slacks. Unless the invitation specifically calls for it, never wear blue jeans, even if the invite says casual wear is appropriate. Casual attire, in this case, means your best casual, not your weekend-at-home casual. Discovering what to wear to a wedding is a simple task when you consider the details that vary depending on the time of day.

The Rule of Thumb Depending on the Season

Another consideration regarding the timeliness of a wedding includes the season the wedding is held in. In thinking of seasonal weddings, keep in mind the attire that will vary for fall, winter, spring and summer weddings so that you may dress for the right temperature and style. Fall weddings can often get weather that changes frequently, so dressing in layers in darker, muted tones will match the mood and allow you to keep your cool, or warmth, during the wedding ceremony. Winter weddings typically hold more festive and heavy fabrics that will keep you in style and warm at the same time. Spring and summer weddings are seasons where you can wear lighter fabrics and brighter colors that pop. Men can mix and match their suits according to the season as well.

Consider Affiliations Such As Religion for Wedding Attire

Another consideration for wedding attire depends on affiliations such as religion. For example, if you discover that the wedding will be held in a church, you may opt for more formal wear that covers more skin than usual, whether that be arms, legs or cleavage. Various religious affiliations may be overt in the wedding invitation or if you know the couple closely. If so, you may research some options that are appropriate for the setting. Of course, if you are close to the couple, you may politely ask them for their attire suggestions.