If you've been invited to a wedding in the past 10 years I bet you've asked yourself "Ugh! What am I supposed to be wear to this?" In recent years weddings have taken on a wide variety of popular themes and locations....gone are the days of getting married in a banquet hall and having signature colors like blush and bashful or as Sally Field would say "pink and pink" (for all of you Steel Magnolia fans.) Weddings are in libraries, in barns, at bars and on rooftops and have themes like rockabilly, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the all too popular "rustic elegance"....none of which is helpful if you are a guest standing in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear.
So I'm here to help, a little....let's start with basic dress code which you hope to god they've printed somewhere on their invitation suite, in the event the bride and groom haven't...ask. I'll tell you as an invitation designer if they don't print it on the invite the location, the style of invitation and the time of day should be an indication but are not always. So today let's cover the basics of traditional wedding attire...next week....everything else.
The most formal...only an evening gown will do and an evening gown means floor length, no cocktail or tea length dresses. Your fanciest of jewelery is more than appropriate. The bottom line ladies is this like getting ready for the Oscars, go big or go home. And who doesn't love the idea of that?
An evening gown or cocktail dress is acceptable (and the same is true if you see Black tie optional or Black tie invited.) However if you are going with a cocktail dress you should accessorize with more formal jewelry, bag and shoes and formal fabrics are important as well. Sparkle and glamor are on the menu so do it up.
Cocktail or floor length dresses are fine but if the invitation calls for Formal attire in this modern age you can absolutely wear a dressy pant suit...key is DRESSY, not something you'd wear to the the office. I LOVE a tuxedo for women. It can make you stand out in a sea of dresses with out stealing the attention from the happy couple. You can also wear dressy separates here so going with a structured top in a formal fabric paired with a ball gown style skirt is so on trend right now.
I've also heard this called "dressy casual" which is about the most annoying oxymoron ever...a cocktail dress or coordinated separates, will do. Your LBD is perfect here and leaves the accessories wide open for you....they can be more casual when the invitation calls for "semi-formal" attire but it's ok to add a little glam here with something shiny, just don't over do it Zsa Zsa, less is more.
See how I tackle beach formal, casual (scary) and a few other creatively themed weddings here. May the force be with you.