10 Style Tips Every Wedding Guest Should Know

A flat lay of an outfit in nude hues including a dress, heels, and jewelry.

There’s nothing quite as fun as attending a wedding. Great food, great music, and a chance to see true love in action? I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But before you can enjoy the festivities, you have to answer that age-old question: what should I wear? Here are 10 rules to help you look appropriate (and awesome) at every wedding.

1. Stick with the Wedding Style

From the moment you see the save-the-date, you probably have a feeling for the wedding’s overall vibe. Maybe its rustic and relaxed, maybe it’s elegant and extravagant—but whatever it is, your style should match. Not only will this keep you from upstaging the bride and groom (a major faux pas), but it will save you from that awkward feeling of being overdressed.

2. If There’s a Theme, Go with It!

These days, many couples use their wedding day to give friends and family a glimpse into their unique personalities. Weddings are shifting from traditional to original, with themes modeled after their favorite TV shows, holidays, and everything in between. If your dear friends ask their wedding guests to get into the theme, you’d better play along! The couple will get a kick out of your thematic look, and you’ll probably have even more fun!

3. Don’t Show too Much

A couple taking a selfie at an outdoor wedding reception.

Weddings are a chance to celebrate love with the people who mean the most to you, and it’s no secret that everyone likes to look their best when they attend. But looking beautiful or handsome as a wedding guest does come with one stipulation: it’s wise to go with a conservative look. If you show too much skin, you risk distracting others from the guests of honor!

4. Guys, Wear a Blazer

Of course, wedding wardrobe rules aren’t just about the women. Gentlemen, this is your time to show off your suit style! The classic look for a male wedding guest would be the simple, yet chic suit and tie. However, feel free to update the look with your personal style: incorporate color, wear a bow tie, wear something that makes the look uniquely yours.

5. Bring Some Spare Shoes

Ladies, this one is for you. While those sultry heels you spent last week’s paycheck on may look incredible, they will be the death of you after a few bouts on the dance floor. Unless you want to be dancing barefoot (and let’s be honest, no one wants that), you should stash another pair of shoes in your purse. A simple pair of flats can keep you dancing the night away!

6. Bust out the Colors

Guests during cocktail hour at a wedding.

When you attend a wedding, the entire color wheel is at your disposal. Red, yellow, purple, green—you can wear anything! However, the time of the ceremony may shape your decision. Bright, vivid colors are best for daytime weddings, while deeper jewel jewel tones are better suited for evening events. Just be sure you avoid wearing black during the day, as it’s generally considered too “funeral” for the afternoon.

7. …Or at Least Don’t Wear White

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating. There should only be one person wearing all-white at a wedding, and that person is the bride. Wearing white (particularly a white dress) is a faux pas that will have many a guest whispering—and possibly have the bride fuming! The smartest move is to avoid the color altogether.

8. Listen to the Couple

You know what most folks say about rules: they were meant to be broken. And as I mentioned before, many couples these days are throwing tradition aside and make their big day something truly special. So, while these rules act as a set of guidelines for wedding wardrobe etiquette, the requests of the couple trump them all. (Invitation says “Don’t wear red”? You better not show up in a red dress!) If you’re ever in doubt, shooting a quick text or email to the couple is always a smart decision.

9. Accessorize Appropriately

A man and woman dancing at a wedding reception.

Although you don’t want to outshine the bride and groom, it is important to look polished and pretty when you show up to the wedding. This means chosing the right accessories to compliment your look. Try to stick with pieces that are classy and beautiful, but not too noisy (no one wants to hear your bracelet clanking around when you wipe your eyes during the “I do’s”).

10. Have Fun with Your Look

So far, I’ve talked a lot about what your should (and more often, what you shouldn’t) wear to a wedding. But with this last rule, I want to encourage you: get creative and have fun with your look! After all, weddings are about having a good time with people you care about, and you won’t be able to let loose if you feel like you’re wearing a costume. Find a look that suits your personal style but still looks appropriate, and then get to that wedding and have a ball!

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