Wedding Guest Etiquette: What to Wear and What to Avoid


Attending a wedding is always an exciting event, filled with love, joy, and celebration. As a wedding guest, it’s important to follow proper etiquette to ensure you’re dressed appropriately and show respect for the couple’s special day. In this article, we will discuss what to wear and what to avoid when attending a wedding.

1. Dress Code: Pay Attention to the Invitation

The first step in determining what to wear as a wedding guest is to carefully read the invitation. Many couples include a dress code on their invitations, such as “black tie,” “formal attire,” “cocktail attire,” or “casual.” The dress code will give you an idea of the level of formality expected for the event. It’s essential to adhere to the dress code to avoid being underdressed or overdressed.

2. Formal Weddings: Dress to Impress

For formal weddings, such as black-tie or white-tie events, it’s best to opt for a floor-length evening gown such as the ones at, or a chic, tailored suit. Women can choose elegant dresses in classic colors like black, navy, or deep jewel tones. Men should wear a tuxedo with a black bowtie for a black-tie event or a tailcoat for a white-tie affair. Remember to accessorize appropriately, such as with formal jewelry and polished shoes.

3. Semi-Formal Weddings: Strike a Balance


Semi-formal weddings typically call for more relaxed attire but still require some level of sophistication. Women can opt for a cocktail dress, a dressy skirt or trousers paired with a blouse, or a dressy jumpsuit. Men can wear a dark suit with a dress shirt and tie. It’s a good idea to choose outfits that are comfortable yet stylish for the occasion.

4. Casual Weddings: Keep it Relaxed but Appropriate

Casual weddings offer more flexibility in terms of attire, but it’s crucial to strike a balance between casual and respectful. Women can choose a sundress, a skirt or trousers with a nice top, or a flowy maxi dress. Men can opt for dress pants or chinos paired with a button-down shirt or a polo shirt. Avoid wearing jeans, shorts, or overly casual attire to maintain a level of formality befitting the occasion.

5. Colors and Patterns: Be Mindful

While it’s acceptable to wear a variety of colors and patterns to a wedding, it’s important to be mindful and considerate. Avoid wearing white, as it is traditionally reserved for the bride. Similarly, avoid wearing anything that may overshadow the couple or draw too much attention, such as overly bold patterns or extremely bright colors. Instead, opt for tasteful and complementary colors that will enhance the overall ambiance of the event.

6. Accessories and Footwear: Complete the Look


Accessories and footwear can elevate your outfit and add a finishing touch to your overall appearance. Women can choose elegant heels or dressy flats, and complement their attire with tasteful jewelry and a clutch or small handbag. Men should opt for dress shoes that coordinate with their outfits and consider adding a tie clip, cufflinks, or a pocket square to enhance their look. Remember to keep accessories and footwear appropriate for the chosen dress code.


Wedding guest etiquette can be a tricky subject, but it’s important to remember that ultimately the goal is to show respect for the couple and their special day. We hope our guide has helped you navigate the dos and don’ts of wedding attire so that you feel confident in what to wear and how to act as an invited guest. Remember, always dress your best and use common sense when deciding on your outfit; after all, they want you there looking as good as possible!