August 05, 2020 3 min read

Your friend or family member is about to get hitched. How exciting! You’re ready to party it up with your newly married loved ones, and of course you want to look beautiful while you celebrate. But there are some fashion guidelines for nearly every event, especially weddings.

While every wedding is different, there are a few unspoken rules that go along with most nuptials. If the bride or groom dictates that you're allowed — or even encouraged — to break these rules, then by all means do so! But when you're in doubt, it's best to stick to the safe side.

If you're figuring out what outfit to choose, it's also important that you know exactly what not to wear.

1. White

This pretty much goes without saying, but for those who need a refresher, it's never okay to wear white to a wedding. It upstages the bride, makes you look rude and is generally the furthest thing from tasteful. Unless you've been specifically instructed to wear white — probably for one of those trendy everybody-wears-white situations — don't even think of attempting this one.

2. Off-White

While it's not technically white, off-white is still way too close for comfort. Many brides can wear off-white for their dresses nowadays, so it's safe to avoid anything in the white family. Basically, if you can expect the bride to show up in anything close to it, save it for a garden party and not a wedding.

3. Crazy Accessories
teal dress

When it comes to hats, headpieces or any other wild accessories you might like to adorn yourself with, it's best to tackle the situation with discretion. Pay close attention to the dress code, the venue and the theme of the wedding itself. While there are situations where hats, for example, might be appropriate, it certainly isn't the default.

When it comes to high-class affairs or perhaps casual, sunny beach weddings where hats may be encouraged or appropriate, you can always go for a fun color to match the details of your dress or outfit. That way, you look put-together, fashionable and appropriate for the occasion.

4. Glitter

Leave all the eye-catching sparkle for the bride, please and thank you. Glitter is distracting, and you don't want to be the one to stick out in the crowd on somebody else's special day. Wear your sparkly dress to the bachelorette party or on a fun Saturday night spent partying with the girls, and then pick something a little more chill for the big day.

5. Anything Too Casual

Just like upstaging the bride is an absolute no-go, looking like you just rolled out of bed is also bound to draw the eye. No matter how much you love your denim cutoffs, flip flops, flannel shirts or bucket hats, it's best to leave them at home when you attend the next big matrimonial bash.

Unless the wedding you're attending is exceedingly casual, there's no reason to show up looking like you're ready for the gym or like you just woke up from a nap.

6. Anything Too Similar to the Bridesmaids

Matching the bridesmaids can't always be helped. However, if you happen to know the color and style of their dresses, you should probably do your best to avoid anything too similar. The bridesmaids are singled out for a reason — they hold a special place in the bride's life. They have extra status and responsibilities within the wedding, so it makes sense that their outfits reflect that to the rest of the guests present.

Showing up to realize the bridesmaids are in pink, while you're also in pink, isn't enough of a travesty to make you go home and change, but you might do well to avoid that pink dress in the first place if you know better. You can even ask one of the bridesmaids for the heads-up if you know her well — just don't bother the bride about it at the last minute. She probably has more than enough on her plate already.

Get Dolled Up

When it comes to wedding fashion, rules are not meant to be broken. You can still look fabulous without upstaging the bride, and you can still be comfortable and breezy without dressing down too much. It's all about balance. As long as you stick to a few specific guidelines, you'll be ready as ever to dress up, hit the open bar and party 'til dawn on the dance floor!