What to Wear to a Wedding : Women


What to Wear to a WeddingWeddings are a special moment in someone’s life. It’s the day they tie the knot with their future spouses. It’s a chance for the brides to wear gorgeous gowns in a beautiful setting of their choice. And for their friends to wear not-so-stunning colorful entourage dresses. A lot of planning usually goes into weddings: the food, the event, the colors, the fashion. You don’t want to spoil the newlywed couple’s special day, so you have to appear presentable.

We’ve all been there, it’s basically a staple on your yearly social calendar. It could be a relative, a friend, family friend, or friend’s friend, but it doesn’t matter who it is, you NEED to find something to wear. It’s a little daunting especially if you’re like me. I recieve an invitation at least a month before the wedding and I procrastinate until the last week/few days to find something suitable. I always end up jumping from one shop to another to find something suitable (and believe me, it’s quite difficult to find just the one!).

While I was scrambling from store to store with my family (who didn’t have anything to wear either), I quickly realize that didn’t have an idea of what I should wear to a wedding. If I did, I would have gone to fewer stores and focused on particular outfits. So to help the many women who don’t know what to wear–and those who decide they just want some change–I present to you my guide on what to wear to a wedding.

The most important rule I always tell my relatives and friends is to not overdress or draw too much attention to themselves. Remember: It’s someone’s special day–but it’s not yours. Dress well, but don’t wear any attention-grabbing or inappropriate clothes. That means, nothing too revealing, too short, too weird or too ugly. Case in point–when Rihanna was kicked out of a wedding for showing some sideboob.


Things you should know before choosing an outfit

What kind of wedding is it? The place where the wedding is held can usually give you a general idea of what you should wear.

What to Wear to a Wedding: Beach Wedding

Beach weddings usually lean more towards a casual or casual-semi-formal dress code. You can usually wear a sundress, day-dress, work dress or a simple cocktail dress for these events. If the ceremony is taking place on the beach itself, some couples ask their guests to wear open toed sandals or slippers that match their outfit so it’ll be easier for them to traverse through the sand. Don’t worry too much if you’re wearing heels though, you can always carry them along.

As for your hair, keep it simple, even slightly messy. I suggest to take advantage of the beach setting by slightly curling your tresses and leaving them free.

Garden weddings are slightly more dressy and elegant than beach weddings. Usually long gowns, detailed beading, or sequins will make you feel overdressed. Stick to something simple, light, elegant and classy. Work dresses, classy day dresses, and simple and semi-formal cocktail dresses work best. Avoid gaudy jewelry and keep your hairstyle simple and neat.

Church weddings (especially big church weddings) are often either semi-formal-formal and formal in attire attire. Evening gowns are usually asked for during church weddings (or at for their wedding receptions), especially if you’re very close to the family of either the bride or groom. If you’re not wearing a gown, go with cocktail dresses that are on the more formal side of the spectrum. Look for dresses that are made in fabrics like silk, satin, or chiffon.

Does it have a dress code? Is there a theme you have to adhere to? Being horribly overdressed or under dressed is not something you want to do (but being overdressed is better than being underdressed). If you’re unsure, it would be good to ask the bride/groom what the dress code is if it isn’t indicated in the invitation. I’ve attended two weddings just this past month. The first wedding was casual and all the guests were asked to “please please please wear white” to match their theme. The second wedding was a lot more formal. Guests were required to wear long evening gowns and tuxedos.

What kind of body shape do you have? The dress you pick should flatter your body type and body shape. DO NOT TRY TO SQUEEZE INTO A DRESS THAT DOES NOT FIT YOU. Often, it’ll result in you looking like a badly packed sausage.

Ex. If you have short legs, you should opt for dresses above the knees (click to read more on How to Dress Short Legs). If you have a narrow waist, opt for a full bodied skirt.

What are the beliefs of the bride and groom’s families? Many cultures have different beliefs on what you can and cannot wear to a wedding. For example, having attended many traditional Chinese weddings, i noticed that some Chinese families frown upon the color black when attending weddings because it’s a dark dreary colour that’s associated in many cultures with mourning. Even if the bride and/or the groom do not subscribe to the belief, if the family is there you should try your best to follow.


Outfit Suggestions

What to Wear to a WeddingPear Shaped Women

Look for dresses that mask your hips. Dresses with full bodied and a-line skirts don’t make your hips look smaller, but they mask it all the same by making the viewer assume your hips are smaller than they actually are.


What to Wear to a Wedding : Inverted TriangleInverted Triangle Shaped Women

Look for dresses that make your hips appear larger. Like how they mask the hips of Pear Shapes, dresses with full bodied and a-line skirts make your hips look bigger than they actually are. Empire cut dresses also give you a nice silhouette. But beware, some cuts can make you look pregnant.


What to Wear to a Wedding: HourglassHourglass Shaped Women

Given that the suggestions above are to help your body appear balanced, you’re quite the lucky one. Since you’re already visually balanced, call attention to your key feature–a small waist. Look for dresses that are fitted at the waist or dresses that highlight it.


What to Wear to a Wedding: RectangleRectangle Shaped Women

Lucky you! Rectangle shaped women is the ideal shape for most models. You can wear almost anything and look good in it. To give the impression of a small waist, look for dresses that have a belt-like cut or ruched in the waist area. Otherwise, opt for an empire cut dress.

Other Suggestions

  • First try on dresses with Empire Cuts, A-line Skirts, or Full Skirts. They work well on many body shapes and are usually quite slimming. There are definitely many styles that will look good on you, but those cuts are the ones you can fall back on if you can’t find anything.
  • Watch out for the color! That dress might look good on you but the color just clashes with your skintone.
  • Bring a friend along when you go shopping, one who you can trust to be honest with you.
  • You can hide your arms with a cardigan (less formal occasions) or a shawl.
  • Liven up a plain dress with a broach!
  • When choosing jewelry, the more formal the occasion, the simpler and classier your jewelry choices should be.


Remember! There are always exceptions to any rule. Everything I mentioned above are suggestions and tips I’ve gleaned from all the weddings I’ve attended.

I hope this helps you decide what to wear to a wedding!


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