The best dressed guest – the unspoken wedding outfit etiquette rules

Dressing to impress isn’t just important for the bride, groom and their wedding party. Wedding guests should go all out too. Being the best dressed guest on the wedding scene isn’t easy however, and whilst being daring with your ensemble will grab attention, it won’t necessarily score you points with the bride and groom. In this blog post, we explore the unspoken wedding outfit etiquette rules every guest should know so they can dress to impress without ruffling any feathers.

A dress and heels is a winning combo

Female guests will always look fabulous in the dress and high heels combination. Trouser suits may be the ‘in’ thing but can give off a formal vibe that leaves other guests confused about whether you’re a member of the wedding party or not. A trusty dress doesn’t have to be boring; there are a number of statement designs that look great at weddings. Patterned dresses and brighter coloured varieties – coral is the colour to wear at this season’s weddings – are becoming more popular, overtaking the neutral and pastel tones of yesteryear.

A dress is also an excellent way to flaunt your figure, but don’t go too short with your hemline. As a rule of thumb, longer hemlines are preferred and are considered to be more respectful to the bride. Despite their conservative nature, long and irregular hemlines can be sexy. A dress with a peekaboo design, for example, is a great investment to make just in time for wedding season. Your materials choice is another aspect that will add texture and make a wedding look stylish and interesting.

Monochrome isn’t out of bounds

There was a time when black and white were completely off limits to wedding guests. As fashion trends evolve, wedding dress codes are becoming more accepting. There are still a few rules that should be followed if you’re considering a monochrome number for an upcoming wedding. Royal butler Grant Harrold and bridal blogger Marina Licht reveal how to avoid a wedding wardrobe faux pas when wearing black and white:

“These days there is more acceptance to black or white outfits for ladies, but if you choose black or white make sure you accessorise with a bright colour i.e. dark dress or skirt with lighter coat. Never wear an all white full-length dress, (no upstaging the Bride), or wear just black as if going to a funeral. Remember full-length dresses are normally reserved for black or white tie events. A white accessory, when put with a strong coloured outfit is perfectly acceptable.”

If you don’t dare to wear white, it’s okay to wear black at weddings. Black ensembles aren’t all doom and gloom, they’re actually a stylish and sophisticated option that really works for formal occasions.

Choose accessories that ooze occasion

It’s not just what you wear that matters. Your choice of wedding day accessories will also help your outfit pop and sizzle. Go small and minimal with your accessories to keep things classy and chic. Swap the totes and shoulder bags you use in your everyday life for a micro bag or clutch. With other accessories, minimal is also best, particularly if you’re opting for a patterned dress or are covering up for a religious ceremony with a sleeved design. If you’ve set your heart on a short sleeved dress, a scarf or shawl is a beautiful addition.

Different couples have different standards when it comes to wedding outfit etiquette. If in doubt, ask the bride or groom what they feel is appropriate to ensure your wedding outfit is on-point.

Still unsure about what to wear for an upcoming wedding? Here’s 12 elegant wedding guest outfit ideas to get you started.

If you have any questions relating to having your wedding at Clearwell Castle, please don't hesitate to call Charlotte via the contact details below:


T: 01594 832 320

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