Wedding season is in full-swing, and if you're invited to a wedding (or five) this summer, it's likely that you have a specific dress code to follow. Whether it's a destination wedding, a garden party, or a black tie affair, you want to dress the part. Here are a few outfit ideas to help you figure out the difference between "daytime" and "garden party" weddings, and "formal" vs. "black tie" (who knew they were different?)...
Destination / Beach Wedding
Most destination weddings occur on the beach, so you want to be comfortable - read: no heels. Flats are a must, but depending on how laid-back the vibe of the wedding is, you could choose to forgo shoes altogether. Metallic flats keep you feeling fancy yet comfortable, while the floral maxi dress is breezy and perfect for a destination wedding. Finish off the look with summery accessories that pick up on colors in the dress, and bright, bright lipstick because it's summertime, and why not. The great thing about destination weddings is that you are also on vacation, so have fun, and dress accordingly!
Shop this look... dress (pattern sold out - similar here and here) / earrings / clutch / sandals / lipstick in "Funny Face"
Daytime weddings can range from a casual outdoor wedding in a field to a more traditional ceremony in a church. Do your research ahead of time to dress appropriately. If you happen to know the ceremony will be in a church, covering up your bare shoulders is recommended. Since daytime weddings start in the mid- to late-afternoon, heavy makeup and an over-the-top glitzy outfit usually won't cut it. Instead, wear a neutral shift and play up the dress with bold accessories like a colorful statement necklace and candy-colored heels. Take your outfit from day to night by adding bright coral lipstick after the ceremony is over. Lipstick = ready to party.
Garden Party Wedding
Garden party weddings are tough to decipher, as they usually aren't referred to as such on the invitation. Instead, look for clues (Is the invitation floral and botanical-inspired? Is the setting outdoors?) to help you determine what the wedding dress code is like. If all else fails, wear a cocktail dress and lace - you can never go wrong with lace. If you do know the dress code, go all out. Garden party weddings are ethereal, feminine, and typically lush with floral arrangements, though not overly stuffy and formal. A lace cocktail dress with a sheer overlay meets the ethereal requirement while the floral strappy sandals reinforce the garden theme. A classic neutral cross-body clutch, simple gold accessories, and a pinky-peach lipstick make the look garden party perfect. (One thing to consider for garden party weddings is to bring a second pair of shoes; either wedges or flats. Depending on the reception location you may be walking in grass, and ruining your shoes.)
Formal weddings are the most traditional, and the attire can range from cocktail to floor length dresses. If you can find that perfect floor length dress, go for it! This BCBG dress is a fun, bright shade of citron, and versatile enough to be dressed up or down. Mixing the metallics looks high-end yet minimal, and the pop of bright red lipstick is a classic touch.
Black Tie Wedding
Black tie weddings are not as common, though the dress code is likely the easiest to understand. Think fancy, fancy, fancy. This is the time and place for sequins, chiffon, and flowy floor-length gowns - yep, gowns! It's like playing dress up as an adult :) With a dress as ornate and formal as this, you want to keep the accessories to a minimum. Otherwise, you risk looking like a tacky disco ball. The fuchsia lipstick is summery and appropriate, while the rose gold metallic heels, simple studs, and a blush cross-body clutch keep the outfit looking classic and beautiful.
Hopefully this helps decipher the confusing world of wedding dress codes. If all else fails and you're clueless about what to wear to a white tie wedding that begins in the daytime and is outdoors, refer to Emily Post. You can never go wrong by heeding her advice.
Which look is your favorite? And, which kind of wedding is your favorite to attend? Selfishly, I have to say garden party weddings are my favorite (maaaaybe because my wedding was a garden party, but I'm not biased at all). The combination of ethereal lace, flowers, greenery, and an evening under the stars is oh so romantic.
Happy wedding season, all... cheers!