A Guide to Wedding Guest Attire

Figuring out what to wear to a wedding can feel challenging, especially if it’s your first time attending one. Ideally, you need something you can feel comfortable in all day and is in keeping with the overall theme of the wedding while still complimenting your personal style. 

If all of that still leaves you feeling perplexed, then not to worry: this comprehensive guide to wedding guest attire is all you need to help you look good and feel fabulous – but before we dive in, first some etiquette tips to help prevent any awkward sartorial blunders:

  1. Unless specifically stated, avoid turning up in anything overly casual, so no t-shirts, especially not ones with slogans, and definitely not anything potentially offensive. 
  2. Similarly, avoid anything too revealing or too loud, including distracting prints or brash colors (particularly red).
  3. Unless attending a city wedding, avoid all-black unless you want to look like you’re attending a funeral. All-white outfits are another thing to avoid, as these should be reserved for the bride. In some cultures, white is also the color of traditional funeral attire.
  4. Be weather-ready: if it’s a winter wedding, opt for a stylish faux-fur stole to keep out the chill. If wearing heels, consider stashing a pair of foldaway flats in your bag alongside your umbrella.
  5. Typically, guest apparel will be stated on the wedding invitation. If this calls for a specific dress code, try to stick to it. 

Dress Code

Some dress codes, such as casual or country, are self-explanatory, while other types such as white or black tie might not be, particularly if you haven’t attended formal weddings in the past. To help you decipher what they all mean, here are the main dress codes, decoded, from least to most formal.


For an outfit that looks dressed-up without being too polished, a pretty dress works perfectly, or if you’re more inclined to wear pants, a jumpsuit works. Wear with a pair of flats: not only do these keep the look from becoming too prim, they’re great for dancing the night away later on.


While this term can apply to weddings held in a variety of locations, destination weddings are commonly associated with beachfront ceremonies. This type of wedding might require lighter colors and beach-friendly shoes that won’t sink in the sand, but it all depends on where you are headed. 

Semi Formal or Cocktail

If you’re not sure what that means, the clue is in the name: a cocktail dress paired with heels, or alternatively, a chic pantsuit worn with a pretty top. Accessorize with a little sparkle: be it a pair of bling-tastic earrings or some diamante-studded shoes.

Creative Black Tie

This style of wedding gives your imagination a chance to run wild: statement pieces are the order of the day here. You could opt for art-inspired accessories as a more subtle nod to the theme of the wedding, but if you want to amp things up, a dress with quirky details such as an architectural cut or interesting sleeves.


This particular dress code can encompass a range of different styles, depending on which cultures the bride and groom are aligned with, so it’s important to be respectful of this. If in doubt, ask for advice from a bridesmaid or another guest on what to wear. For example, if you are attending an Indian wedding, avoid red as it’s traditionally worn by the bride.


Black or White Tie

These two separate dress codes are quite similar in nature, with the exception of a few key differences. Both require formal dress: typically a long gown or pants. The key difference between the two is that for black tie, something a little less formal, such as a cocktail dress, can also be worn. 


If you happen to be attending a city wedding, whether in another country or somewhere closer to home, city wedding attire resembles fashion-forward pieces mixed in with some more traditional looks. Cocktail dresses or tailored separates would all work equally well. If you’re suiting up, accessories, colors and fun patterns will keep you from looking like you just stepped out of the office.


In keeping with the trend for all things cottage core, country weddings are ever more popular amongst couples looking to escape the city in search of pastoral bliss. Be it in a barn or the great outdoors, floral prints are the way to go, but keep the look soft and opt for charming chintz and pretty pastels, rather than bright tropical patterns. 

If you’re looking for beautiful wedding attire, Dainty Jewells line of clothing features elegant, flowing cuts and ethereal, romantic designs that are perfect for the big day, whether you’re a guest, a bridesmaid or the bride.

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