101 Tips For Deciding What To Wear To A Wedding

Summer K

When it comes to planning a wedding the easiest part falls somewhere in between “I now pronounce you Man and Wife” and cutting the cake.

It’s all the planning, fittings, coordinating and outfit preparations ahead of time that nearly sends the entire wedding party over the edge.

So in effort to help you get it together AND look together at the same time, we’ve compiled a 101 style tips from everyone from the bride to your favorite four-legged pal.

Wedding Tips for…

Guests and Attendees:

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  • Never wear white. It will look you’re trying to upstage the bride
  • Sleeveless isn’t considered OK for church weddings.
  • Sleeveless is also a no-no if you’re attending a conservative Jewish wedding.
  • Keep the cleavage for a cocktail or black-tie wedding only.
  • Consider location before you buy and outfit. Always bring a wrap to an outdoor wedding .
  • Sunny beach wedding? It’s perfectly fine to wear your shades during the ceremony.
  • Go with a wrinkle-proof material if you’re traveling to a destination wedding.
  • Steer away from non-organic fabrics if you’re attending on in a tropical or hot climate.
  • Buy two pairs of shoes: One for the ceremony and one for the reception in case you feel like hitting the dance floor.
  • Casual weddings only require a tie and dress pants, cocktail calls for suit and tie and formal demands a black tux.
  • A small purse or clutch is OK – your weekender bag is not.
  • Always pack extra clothes if you plan on hanging out with the bridal part post-reception.
  • Hats are only OK if it’s a formal daytime wedding and everyone around you is either speaking with a southern twang or British accent
  • You can also glam up a daytime look with lace gloves or a vintage brooch pinned to your dress.
  • It’s not required that you and your date color coordinate (it’s not prom after all), but you can avoid clashing by choosing outfits within the same color spectrum.


  • Never dress a child in white! If you must, change them immediately after the ceremony.
  • Try to go with an outfit they’ll be comfortable in.
  • Take the weather into consideration when planning their outfit and hair.
  • Always bring play clothes they can change into after all the pictures have been taken.
  • Do not put small children in heels!
  • Have stain remover wipes on hand in case they spill.
  • Choose a simple hairstyle that looks cute but won’t annoy them through the entire event.
  • Remove any pins from bouquets or boutonnieres so they don’t poke themselves.
  • While their style cue may be taken from the bridal party, allow them to bring a little bit of themselves into the mix.


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  • Know your pet’s limits. If they won’t wear an outfit at home they’re not going to on your wedding day.
  • If you do have your heart set on something, shop Etsy.com. Most vendors are willing to make custom-sized pieces based on weight and breed.
  • Ensure that the outfit you choose is comfortable for your pet.
  • Select a pet wrangler for the day to watch over your favorite four-legged friend.
  • Feel free to go all out with a haircut, bows and ye, even painted toenails.
  • Walk you pet down the aisle several times prior to the big event to ensure they’re comfortable with their role.
  • Remove all clothing following the ceremony and photos.

Mother of the Bride / Groom:

  • Don’t ever dress matronly if you’re not.
  • Choose a dress based on the wedding color palette.
  • Make sure to get it pre-approved by your son or daughter before purchase.
  • Short dresses aren’t exactly acceptable unless the bride and groom say otherwise.
  • Try out support garments with your dress to see if it improves your silhouette.
  • Go to the bride’s hair and make-up trials to get an overall look and feel for the bridal party’s style
  • Pick a pair of shoes that are stylish, but still comfortable.
  • Don’t use the wedding to debut a new “you.” This is your son or daughter’s moment, so no stealing the spotlight.
  • Do make it a point to talk out your outfit with the other mother in the mix. Ideally, your looks should mirror each other but don’t need to be exact replicas.


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  • Gather the girls in the bridal party together BEFORE the trip to the store and decide what you want to do. Will you all be matching? Do you want different dresses in the same color, do you have the freedom to pick anything that fit’s the wedding or color palette?
  • When shopping together, take note of not only looks best on the bride, but you as well.
  • Make sure you all pick something that works for the wedding. Is it easy to walk in? Can you dance in it? Does it work for the weather? Can you switch your shoes after the ceremony without it impacting the overall look?
  • If you plan on losing weight before the big day let your seamstress know ahead of time.
  • Following your first fitting, ask your wedding consultant what lingerie would work best with your dress.
  • The bride gets final call on your accessories so make sure to discuss in advance before purchasing.
  • Check with the bride on shoe choices too. While she may want you to wear what you feel most comfortable in, she could decide matchy-matchy feet are the way to go.
  • When it comes to hair, make sure the stylist understands your hair type. This is a major factor especially if the bride wants everyone to get blow-outs and then stand outside in 90 degree weather.
  • The same stands for make-up. If you have any hang-ups or allergies, let your make-up artist (and the bride) know in advance.
  • When getting your nails done, keep it basic. You’re not the star of the show, so wild nail art probably isn’t OK.
  • If you’re tanning or planning to go spray tanning, ensure that you last apt is a week before so you don’t look to red, dark or runny during the main event.
  • Keep extra samples of your makeup and the bride’s on hand during and after the ceremony so you can help with touch-ups in between pics.


  • If you’re not comfortable renting a suit or tux, ask the groom if you can option to purchase one instead. We love the chic options J.Crew offers, plus they do fittings at certain stores.
  • If you’re renting, and the wedding is on the weekend, make sure the store will be open the next day for drop-off (some aren’t and will charge you extra ).
  • Follow the groom’s lead when it comes to accessories like watches and cuff links.
  • Schedule a shave and a haircut at least one day prior to the event.
  • Make sure to buff and polish your shoes.
  • Keep deodorant, mouthwash and cologne on hand during the ceremony and reception.


  • Get your measurements done professionally.
  • If you’re renting a tux, make sure the cut and size works for all your groomsmen.
  • Make sure you know the difference between a day and evening suit.
  • Ascots work best with elegant daytime weddings, tuxedos for evening, and a suit and a tie for everything else in between.
  • Don’t wear a top hat – trust us, you won’t be able to pull it off.
  • Looking to save money? Pick up a designer suit at a discount store like TJ Maxx then splurge on a good tailor.
  • Don’t forget to purchase a pocket square and cuff links. Feel free to personalize via craft sites like Etsy.com.
  • Yes, you can wear Converse if your bride is cool with it. Better yet, get a one-of-kind pair made for you and your groomsmen on their site!
  • The time has come to get waxed, shaved, plucked and primped just like your bride. Schedule to have your eyebrows, ears and back waxed at least a week before the wedding and get a professional shave and haircut one to two days prior.
  • When thinking of groomsmen gifts, go the classy route. Beer or wine of the month club is much more thoughtful than a tacky flask.
  • What kind of undies do you wear? Why? Because depending on the fit and cut of your suit the whole wedding might be able to tell. Consult with your tailor beforehand.
  • Linen pants are ONLY acceptable for tropical destination weddings.
  • Jewelry is fine as long as it’s limited to a nice watch and your wedding band.
  • Don’t put your suit on until a least an hour before your wedding and ensure someone is there to help you. (Wrinkles are never a good thing!)
  • After the wedding and formal pictures, feel free to get comfortable. Ditch the suit jacket, loosen the tie and roll up your sleeves – nobody’s judging you!


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  • Know you wedding aesthetic before you go dress shopping.
  • Bring your color palette with you before you hit the store.
  • Bring support garments as well when trying on gowns.
  • Narrow your options down to three dresses then bring your friends in for help in making a final decision.
  • If you plan on losing weight before you big day, let your seamstress know in advance.
  • Keep in mind, the more lace, beading and detailing on a dress, the more expensive it is.
  • Cut corners by purchasing your veil, sash, garter or headgear on Etsy.com.
  • Also, your accessories need to be proportional to your dress. Simple gown? Go crazy. Extremely detailed? Keep it simple.
  • Try to incorporate heirlooms in the most sophisticated way possible.  Example: Pin a brooch to your bouquet or wrap it with a necklace.
  • Don’t scrimp on your lingerie. Go to a high-end department store or boutique for bra, panties, slips, and other delicates.
  • Make sure to match your veil to your hairstyle. Longer ones look more dramatic when hair is pulled up; short hair is set off by a sexy cage veil.
  • When picking a hairstyle, take into consideration, the venue, weather, reception, and what really speaks to you as far as who you are.
  • Your make-up should match the aesthetic of the event. For example, a smoky eye just won’t due if you’re having it in a barn.
  • Start your beauty regimen at least a month in advance of the big day. Collagen and fillers need at least a week to settle, any waxing should be done a few days in advance and your mani/pedi should ideally be done the morning of the wedding itself.
  • Don’t overcomplicate your make-up essentials. Get a matte foundation one shade darker then your skin tone, opt for fake eyelashes and opt for long-wearing mascara and lipstick.
  • Yes, you can have fun with your nails – but remember, your hands are being photographed so keep it classy.
  • Have your bridesmaids spot check you throughout the event to ensure you look your best at all times.
  • Keep emergency essentials like power, mints and floss in your bag at all times.
  • When picking statement shoes, go with something that pops and can be worn over and over again.
  • If you have it in your budget, but one dress for the ceremony and one for the reception to ensure your comfort throughout the event.
  • Yes, you can change shoes after the ceremony, but avoid anything tacky. Instead look to something simple and easy like a Tory Burch flat.
  • If you want to look extra skinny in your gown, double up on your Spanx and have a spay tanning technician create the illusion of a hollowed clavicle.

Last-Minute “Plus 1”:

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  • When it doubt, play it safe and wear black (a suit or dress work in a pinch)
  • If you’re not the familiar with the couple or their friends, cover all tattoos and remove body piercings if amenable.
  • Don’t do anything crazy with your hair, nails or makeup.
  • If it’s a theme wedding, ask your date for some fashion examples.
  • Keep all pops of color at a minimum. Remember, you’re just a guest and not the hosts.
  • Bring an extra pair of shoes in case the reception is super dance-heavy.

More Places to Get Wedding Tips:

Didn’t get your wedding tips fill yet? Check out these other resources for more wedding information and inspiration.

Share Your Tips!

Getting married? Make sure you share this with your friends so they know what to wear!

Think we missed a tip? Want to share your own? Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite wedding secrets!

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