10 Guest Rules for Wedding Attire


“Oh, they say when you marry in June, You’re a bride all your life.
And the bridegroom who marries in June,Gets a sweetheart for a wife.
Winter weddings can be gay, Like a Christmas holiday.
But the June bride hears the song, Of the spring that lasts all summer long.
By the light of the silvery moon, Home you ride, side by side,
With the echo of Mendelssohn’s tune, In your hearts as you ride,
For they say when you marry in June,You will always be a

Who doesn’t love “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”? And who doesn’t love a wedding? Once Spring and Summer roll around, one thing you can count on is that you are inevitably going to be invited to at least one wedding.  Many of us then are asking ourselves the question, “What should I wear?” The question becomes more complicated as what is or is not appropriate changes and evolves with the years and depending on the time and type of wedding you are attending.

I have had several people already this season calling me with questions concerning ceremonies they would soon be attending, so it occurred to me that this would be a great topic to address here in one of our posts. I gathered information from multiple sources – what I was taught in my training, respected authorities such as Emily Post and The Knot, as well as some smaller sites. Though there were some variations of opinion, here are the hardened fast rules.

“Rules of Wedding Appropriate Guest Attire.”

  1. ALWAYS respect any religious/cultural beliefs or traditions. If the ceremony is held in a church or by a family that believes women should wear dresses, DON’T show up in a pantsuit. If they believe women should cover their heads, buy a cute hat. This is a special, serious ceremony. Show respect.
  2. It is okay to wear white to a wedding. The point is NOT to outshine the bride. ALWAYS keep your outfit low-key and not distracting or flashy. Attention should ALWAYS remain on the bride.
  3. “Formal” (Daytime) – Women: Cocktail/dressy afternoon dress    Men: Dark suit and tie
  4. “Formal” (Evening) – Women: Long evening/Dressy Cocktail (depending on local habits)    Men: Tuxedo (if states “Black Tie”), Dark suit and tie
  5. “Semi-formal” – (Daytime) – Women: Dressy afternoon dress or pantsuit      Men: Dark suit; Blazer & tie
  6. “Semi-formal” – (Evening) – Women: Cocktail or dressy pantsuit     Men: Dark suit
  7. “Informal” – (Daytime) – Women: Afternoon dress, dressy skirt or pants/blouse     Men: dress pants, button-down shirt or polo
  8. “Informal” – (Evening) – Women: Afternoon or cocktail dress     Men: blazer/slacks, tie optional
  9.  “Beach formal” Women: dressy summer sundress (tea/knee-length) w/flat sandals  Men: Summer suit (no tie required), linen shirt, sandals
  10. “Cocktail Attire” – Women: Cocktail dress, dressy suit or jumpsuit     Men: Suit and tie


Mr. T and I have only had one wedding this season. (I think it’s staying the only one.) That was my niece, Melanie’s wedding. It was a very cool wedding – Star Wars/Nerd/Geek themed. (I don’t say Nerd/Geek in a derogatory way. It’s simply meant as descriptive. I personally love a lot of the things she had there and thought it was very well done and a lot of fun!) Of course, they were married on May 4! Melanie walked down the aisle to one of the Star Wars themes and she and her new hubby, James, walked up the aisle as husband and wife to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” (How can you not love that?!)

In the reception hall, each table center piece was from a different “nerdy/geeky” love of Melanie and James… Harry Potter, Star Wars, Beauty and the Beast, etc. They were beautiful! Even the wedding cake incorporated Star Wars! Their first dance? Beauty and the Beast!


Melanie, my beautiful niece


Check out the cake toppers!


Harry Potter table centerpiece



I could have fussed and fretted, stressed and run to the store at the last-minute, probably over paying, for a dress to wear to this wedding. But, I did none of that. I actually knew what I was wearing before they were even engaged!

Ann Taylor dress, thrifted, Via Spiga nude heels, thrifted


Necklace, thrifted
Betsey Johnson earrings, Ross, clearance

I bought my dress, a lovely jersey, faux wrap Ann Taylor dress, probably six months before Melanie and James became engaged. I was doing a usual thrift shop run and came across this wonderful dress, my size, for only $5. Now, I easily could have said that it’s obviously an occasion or work/office dress. At the time I had need of neither. Additionally, we don’t even go to a church that requires that kind of dressing up anymore. It would have made sense to pass it up. But, here’s why I didn’t. I always try to keep at least one special occasion dress on hand in my closet – preferably one “unseen” one, but that’s not an absolute. There is always going to be some occasion that comes up. Someone is going to get married, graduate, have an 50th anniversary…something…and you’re going to need a nice dress. Now, instead of scrambling, I had a great dress, totally appropriate, and it only cost me $5! I highly recommend this, guys! If you don’t already keep a special occasion dress on hand, do it now! You’ll thank me later!


Until We Meet Again!



6 Replies to “10 Guest Rules for Wedding Attire”

    1. It was a fun theme! They had a box set up on one side with cos-play outfits so people could dress up and have their pictures taken! And instead of signing a guest book, you took a Polaroid of yourself with a life-size Yoda and attached it into their scrapbook! So fun!


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