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.


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