What to Wear as a Wedding Guest


By Rachel Harris

Weddings are one of the most important days in a person’s life! The day is full of love, excitement, celebration, and memories. As a wedding guest, you want to look your best, be ready to party, and stay comfortable. That’s a lot to ask of one outfit or dress. Plus, there are so many options, it can be overwhelming! Not to worry, we’ve put together this list of tips for deciding what to wear as a wedding guest. 

Do your research.

The first thing you should consider is the couple and their plans for the wedding day. This will help you decide on an outfit that coordinates with everything else going on during the day. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do they have any particular style preferences? 
  • Are there any themes or color schemes involved? 
  • What kind of weather are they expecting? 
  • How formal or casual does this wedding seem like it’s going to be? 
  • What activities will take place?
  • How much walking, standing, sitting, or dancing can you expect?
  • Is there anything specific that guests aren’t allowed to wear? For example, black tie events often require men to wear suits with bow ties instead of regular ties. Some weddings also ban flip flops due to safety concerns. Walking across grassy fields or other uneven ground can be dangerous.

What time of year will the wedding take place?

The time of year is an important consideration because it will influence decisions on color, style, and material. If the wedding is in the spring or summer, you can go for light colors like cream, pastel, and bright shades. In winter weddings, dark, rich, jewel tones are perfect.

A sundress would be great during a summer wedding, but awkward for a winter wedding. Similarly, material like linen is great for warm climates, but would be much too thin for cold weather. 

Time of day can also be a factor. In some locations, evenings can get chilly, even after a warm day. And don’t forget to factor wind! Especially for an outdoor wedding. Skirts blowing up into the air only works for movies and celebrities. You don’t want to end up on America’s Funniest Home Video. 

Where is the venue?

The location of the wedding will strongly influence your wedding attire choices. Will the wedding be on the beach, in a ritzy hotel or in a backyard?

For a beach wedding: sandals and sundresses are perfect. They fit right in for this casual outdoor celebration. If a sundress isn’t your thing, try a feminine romper or maxi skirt instead. A bright-colored clutch will add some color to your look (and make sure you don’t forget your sunscreen). For men, consider light colored slacks and a bright button-down shirt. 

An upscale hotel ballroom calls for elegance and sophistication. Consider a gown, cocktail dress, or trendy pant-suit. Men can’t go wrong with a suit or tux.  A statement necklace adds some pizzazz without being too over-the-top for daytime attire. Consider wearing flats if you aren’t accustomed to heels. The amount of walking you’ll have to do and the time you’ll spend dancing are important factors.

Consider the personality of the couple. 

If you’re not sure what to wear, start by considering the personality of the couple. If they’re laid-back, chances are their wedding will be laid-back as well. If they turn every event or get-together into a 5 Star experience, you’ll want to step up your attire. 

Ask yourself:

  • Are the bride and groom formal, semi-formal or casual? 
  • Have they indicated the style of the wedding? 
  • What kind of ceremony will take place (religious or secular)? 
  • Who is hosting the wedding (parents or other family members)? 
  • What’s their theme and color scheme?

Don’t wear the same colors as the wedding party. 

You may feel tempted to coordinate with the colors of the wedding palette, but this can be tricky. The bride, groom, and wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) have all carefully selected their attire. You should not take attention away from the effort they’ve made. You also don’t want to be mistaken as a member of the wedding party. It’s a good idea to make sure you don’t clash, but don’t try to match them exactly. 

Can you wear black or white to a wedding?

Unless specifically asked to wear white to the wedding, DO NOT wear white to a wedding. You don’t need to try to upstage the bride. It’s tacky and petty. You will only make yourself look bad. 

Black can also be tricky. Black may appear as if you’re attending a funeral. Weddings are a party and a celebration! If you feel most comfortable in black, make sure the style of the dress or suit is playful. Add fun pops of color with your accessories. A statement necklace, jazzy bag, or colorful tie to balance out the black. 

Don’t get too crazy.

We all love the opportunity to get dressed up. It’s a chance to express our personality, try a new trend, and feel great about ourself. Remember, the focus of the wedding is on the bride and groom. This is not the time to be a stand-out or the center of attention. You want to look nice and put together, but you don’t want to draw all the attention away from the bride.

That means that anything too crazy or over-the-top will be distracting. Avoid sequins, animal prints (unless it’s a costume themed wedding), and anything costume looking. It’s also wise to err on the side of modesty. Save the super sexy outfits for girl’s night or date night. 

Consider comfort.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a wedding and forget about your feet. Chances are you’ll be dancing, standing, and walking for hours at a time. Heels may not be your best option, unless you feel VERY comfortable in them. If you do wear heels, make sure they’re low enough that you can still walk comfortably throughout the day (and night). And don’t wait until the wedding day to break in a new pair of shoes!

Most weddings last for hours, which means temperature can vary. Even summer weddings can be a chilly environment if the AC is set super low. Take time of day and weather into consideration and bring an extra layer. Don’t forget an umbrella. You don’t want to spend your hard earned time and money on the perfect outfit, only to have it ruined by rain. 

When in doubt, ask a friend.

Consult with close friends or family members. Bonus points if your friends or family members also know the bride or groom. It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion. You’ll feel more confident in your outfit choice when you know it looks amazing on you AND it complements the wedding. 

Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration. Get ideas on style, fit, and color combinations. Amazon has lots of deals and an easy return policy. Their customer review will help you sort through your options before you make a purchase. A formal gown or bridal shop is a good option as well. They’re full of dresses already approved by brides!


Now you know what to wear as a wedding guest! Have fun, let your personality shine, and don’t try to out-do the bride. As an added bonus, New Braunfels Wedding Guide has a list of gown shops to make your search easier. Check out our website for more help with bridal showers, proposal inspiration, wedding color palettes, and more. 

As an added bonus, New Braunfels Wedding Guide has a list of gown shops to make your search easier. Check out our website for more help with bridal showers, proposal inspiration, wedding color palettes, and more.