Archive of ‘Wedding Basics’ category

What Not To Wear To A Wedding

When I started my blog I wanted to focus a lot on how to dress at weddings since it’s an event we all attend throughout life and also not the easiest to dress for. There are so many factors to weigh in when deciding what to wear such as; how formal will it be? are we outside for part of the wedding? is my outfit age appropriate? etc. With endless “rules” and options, wedding attire is tough to navigate.

Today I’m going over what NOT to wear to a wedding. This is an easy way to narrow down your wardrobe as to what’s appropriate and what’s not. Some of these are gray areas, so keep in mind these “rules” are only my opinion, however, rule #1 should never be broken.

  1. Don’t wear white. This shouldn’t be a hard rule to follow, yet I have not attended a wedding where the rule was followed by everyone. The only exception is a wedding where the bride requests you wear white, however, I have never heard of that happening except on TV shows (so I’m impressed if you have been to one!). There are a few gray areas I’d like to explain further….

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None of the above dresses are OK for a wedding. even if you wear a colored belt, shoes, clutch, etc., just avoid a solid white dress altogether. All white is reserved for the bride, and I’m sure you have at least one non-white dress in your closet.

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Some white dresses are OK to wear, however the above dresses are a huge gray area. They aren’t solid white, but the white to non-white ratio of the dress is pretty skewed. If you’re unsure, I would avoid dresses where the majority is white.

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If your white dress has a pattern on it, you are more than welcome to wear it! It’s not a solid white dress and does not look bridal so you are good to go.


2. Clutch vs. Purse  I am guilty of this one, so take what I say as a suggestion, but I am not a fan of bringing your whole purse to a wedding. If your purse is on the fancier side and smaller, you can get away with it. If your purse if your everyday purse that’s on the largest side and chock full of receipts, gum, etc., than leave it at home and opt for a clutch. We spend so much time looking presentable at weddings and then grab our everyday purse at the last minute, when it only takes a few moments to put the essentials into a clutch.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 12.54.27 PMPurchase a clutch in a neutral color that will go with several options for weddings. I had a small navy one that goes with practically everything, but recently got a straw clutch for outdoor summer weddings. Here’s a past post I did on “what’s in my clutch“.

3. Anything too loud. I love dressing up and standing out at weddings, but there is a fine line between dressing nicely and attracting too much attention. This would include anything revealing, outrageous shoes, and even neon. I don’t mind neon too much, but it may be harder for the photographer to saturate wedding photos later without making you look even brighter than your dress already is.

4. Anything too casual. Many weddings are becoming more and more casual, but I would rather be more dressed up than too casual. Flip flops, boots, denim (yes,even dark denim) are never acceptable unless told otherwise.

5. Avoid having bare feet! I know the day is long and your shoes are hard to dance in, but kicking them off and dancing barefoot is a little gross. Again, I’ve been guilty of this before, but since then have planned ahead and brought flats to keep in the car if I think my shoes will be uncomfortable.

Have you encountered any of these rules being broken? 


Wedding Guest Do’s & Don’ts

With wedding season in full swing, I’d like to share my top 10 “Do’s & Don’ts” of being a wedding guest. Many of these come from attending many (many) weddings along with being a bride myself. Here are my tips for being a much-appreciated, classy wedding guest.

Wedding Guest1. DO RSVP as soon as possible. I’m guilty of forgetting to RSVP and having to be hunted down by the bride for my answer, and it really just makes things difficult as the couple looks to finalize details. Now I RSVP as soon as I get an invitation to keep it organized for both myself and the bride.

2. DON’T bring a guest unless the invitation is addressed to the two of you, or you’ve been formally given a plus one in the invite. Do not ask to bring someone, or worse, just assume it’s OK and bring someone the day of the wedding. Wedding’s cost a lot per plate, and maybe that couple has a lot of people to invite. Be gracious with the situation and make some new friends that night.

3. DO bring a gift or money. The whole point of a wedding is to shower the couple as they start their life together. The couple is spending money on you being there, please reciprocate that with generosity. If you cannot afford a gift, then at the very least bring a card with kind wishes inside. This avoids the situation where the couple thinks they lost your gift or card because you brought nothing.

4. DON’T arrive late or on time. I’ve been to weddings that have started early, on time, and very late. Always arrive early to avoid ever walking in after the bride. If you happen to be late, stay way back and walk in after all attention is towards the front. Please do avoid this situation at all costs though.

5. DO sit close at the ceremony. Especially in larger venues, there will be rows for families in the front and then way too many empty rows behind them because everyone wants to sit in the back. Fill in the space and sit close. The upside is you’ll be dismissed quicker afterward.

6. DON’T take photos while the bride walks down the aisle. There are professional photographers there, so your iphone photo will not be needed. Bridal photos nowadays are ruined by everyone on the aisle seats trying to get their own phone photo. This is a beautiful moment for the professional photographers to capture as the bride walks down the aisle so instead of countless Apple logos let them see your beautiful smile.  These photos mean more to the bride than it ever will to you, so please wait to look at the professional photos later on. iPhone-aislesource

7. DO wear appropriate attire. It’s not a nightclub, so keep it classy, and always keep in mind the weather and venue at each wedding. Check out my wedding guest attire tips for more info.

8. DON’T wear white. I’ve never been to a wedding where everyone followed this rule, but I really believe people just don’t know. It’s the bride’s day to wear white so save your white dress for another occasion. No colored accessory makes it OK either. My only exception is a patterned dress that has mostly color on it because in that case it’s just a dress that contains white, not a white dress.

9. DO be gracious of the couple’s time. The whole day is a whirlwind of greeting guests, so no couple will have time for more than a few minutes of chatter before they need to greet other guests. That’s OK though, and you can talk all about the wedding at a later date.

10. DON’T be the first to dance. The couple, or mother/son daddy/daughter, should have the first dance, so it’s really not funny when someone decides to get out on the dance floor early. It’s their day, so respect the order of the reception.

Do you have any other wedding guest tips to add?

10 Items for Your Clutch

During wedding season it’s important to know what to pack in your clutch that will cover all your needs for the duration of the evening.  The clutch itself can either be a simple clutch or have a long strap attached to it, but it should be on the smaller side and more formal than your everyday purse. Invest in a clutch that will go with a good majority of the dresses you may wear to a wedding. I found a quality one at an antique store for $8 in navy blue and it has served me well for years. There are a few essentials to pack for the night:

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1. Breath freshener is a necessity since you’ll be talking to people and you may not know what’s for dinner. The wedding reception should have mints available in the restrooms, but you can’t count on that. I opt for Listerine strips because they are very tiny for packing purposes but also very strong.

2. A compact mirror is great for checking make-up without having to get up and go to the bathroom. It also is useful for seeing the back of your hair if you are using the bathroom mirror. My friend gave me this one from Paris and it has come in handy on many occasions.

3. You don’t need to bring your whole make-up bag but lipstick or concealer isn’t a bad idea. I always bring my lipstick to reapply it after awhile.

4. A tiny comb won’t take up a lot of space in your clutch but will be useful if you need to smooth any flyaways.

5. Oil blotting tissues are a lifesaver for long days, especially when part of the wedding is outdoors. Unless you have extremely dry skin, you will be grateful you packed this. I’ve used quite a few types and The Body Shop’s is the best I’ve come across.

6. A Q-Tip is small but handy, and can be used to fix eye make-up or any other small make-up fixes.

7. Bobbi pins should always be in your clutch, especially if you have your hair in an updo. You could use a few extra bobbi pins throughout the evening if strands come loose.

8. A hair tie should be in every clutch even if you don’t use it.  When it comes to the dance floor, you’ll be happy to have the hair off of your face.

9. (Not pictured) License and credit card should go with you everywhere, but you don’t need to bring your whole wallet. I find these are the only two cards I really need when I downsize to a clutch.

10. (Not pictured) Bring cash in smaller bills in case you need to tip a valet or coat check. You’ll be glad you thought ahead.

Wedding Guest Outfit Tips

It’s easy to overlook a few details when you’re planning an outfit. Please keep in mind these few tips when attending a wedding:

-1Never wear white. Most rules are subjective, but this one is across the board consistent with the exception if the bride instructs everyone to wear white (which I’m convinced only happens on TV and never in real life). It does not matter if you add a colorful accessory or belt, or if it’s off-white, or even if it doesn’t look bridal. This is the bride’s day to wear white and you can find a dress in a different color. Exceptions: white sweater/shoes/accessories as long as they don’t look bridal and the rest of the outfit isn’t white.

Find out the color scheme and/or the bridesmaids dresses. A growing trend is just choosing a color for the bridesmaids and they may chose their own dress as long as it’s that color. This is great for bridesmaids, however, if you are a guest and wear that color you can look like you’re a part of the bridal party. If it’s easy enough to check then consider doing so when planning an outfit. Remember you can look for clues on the invitation as to what the colors are. If you end up wearing the same color and look like one of the bridesmaids, it’s not  the end of the world – just grab a bouquet and stand on the outside of every photo.

Know your shoes. The day of the wedding is not the day to break in shoes so plan ahead what you’ll be wearing and make sure they are comfortable. If your shoes happen to be uncomfortable, bring flats to change into at the reception. You can throw them in the car and run out and grab them, or buy packable flats and slip them in your clutch. Please don’t go barefoot on the dance floor. You may not be grossed out, but who knows what other people have trekked in on their shoes.

Purse/clutch. You won’t need your everyday purse at the wedding, so bring either a small purse or a clutch.  Pack just what you’ll need for the night – mint, make up (oil blotting sheets), kleenex, extra bobby-pins, and a tide to-go pen. You may not use the tide pen, but you could save someone else. This will also keep your date from using your purse as a catch-all for their “accessories”.

Basic Decoding

You got the Save the Date, the invitation, sent in your RSVP, and now you’re left to decide what to wear. Before you plan any outfit, consider these big four clues that will help you decide what to wear to any wedding.


Location / Venue:  In terms of what to wear, there’s a big difference between a wedding set in a cathedral than in a barn. Pay close attention to the type of venue the wedding is set in to set the tone on how formal or informal you want to dress. If the venue is outdoors, it may be less informal than in a huge hall.

Time: Day wedding vs. evening wedding. If the wedding is before six o’clock pm, you aren’t going to dress as fancy as you would for an evening wedding. Many weddings have the ceremony take place in the daytime and the reception in the evening, so you may want to focus on an outfit that will transition well. I’ve seen people wear different dresses to the day ceremony and then change for the evening reception – I wouldn’t go that far (the day isn’t about you), however there are accessories you can change or add to make your outfit more evening appropriate. Personally I’d rather look appropriate for a day ceremony than be in evening wear to a day ceremony.

Language & Style of the Invitation: Some invitations will give you a dress code (i.e., black tie, semi-formal, casual), and others you can look for clues. After considering the location and time of the event, take a look at the invitation itself. Is it over-the-top fancy? Is it more casual? Most likely it is in-between, and that is how you should expect to dress.

Weather: I believe style and practicality should go hand and hand, and since I live in Michigan, I have learned this lesson the hard way. The weather changes here a lot, so any given day of the year can have unpredictable weather. If the wedding is in July, wear a summer fabric like cotton, linen, seersucker, etc., so you can fight any heat and humidity. Other times of the year, keep an umbrella in your car and consider layers in case the location of the reception is colder than you except. It may seem like common sense, but sometimes we might try to plan an outfit out months in advanced with no consideration of the weather.