What to Wear to a Wedding: 9 Outfit Ideas That Never Fail to Look Good

Philippa Morgan Walker
·6-min read

There's no denying the fact that COVID has completely turned the wedding industry on its head. Plenty of nuptials have been cancelled, re-scheduled or made incredibly low-key this year due to the new rules. While we don't know what's ahead for 2021, we very much hope that there'll be plenty of weddings going ahead. This also means, of course, that we'll have an excuse to dress up. But, seeing as we haven't done much of that of late, we need a few reminders of how to get dressed, especially for big events like a wedding.

We all have to walk that fine line when it comes to deciding what to wear to a wedding: You want to look striking, somewhat fun, but still appropriate. You want to be remembered for the right reasons, even if it isn't your day whatsoever. Well, there are some basic ground rules worth referencing before rushing to the big day in a floral-print panic. We've covered the official dressing dos and don'ts of formalwear so that you can be the best-dressed guest at all manner of nuptials and high-society soirées—with zero wardrobe stresses.

So whether you have a city wedding to attend, a religious ceremony to consider carefully or you just don't want to have a miffed bride on your hands (no white lace, okay?), this is a good place to start. We can all lose our heads when a swanky event comes a-knocking, but it's really just a case of being fully prepared for every eventuality—and learning from some of our own fashion faux pas. Those strappy stilettos looked great online, yes, but were they really cut out for a marquee reception in a field? Not so much. Click through to read the nine rules for what to wear to a wedding when you're just not sure.

#1: A dress is a safe go-to

if you're struggling to compile the perfect trousers, top and jacket combination with ease, then simply reach for one of your trusty statement dresses. Add heels or fancy flats, a few choice accessories and the makeup that makes you feel good. Perfection.

Rixo Ada Lace-Trimmed Floral-Print Crepe Midi Dress (£275)

& Other Stories Voluminous Ruffle Midi Dress (£95)

Ganni Floral-Print Puff-Sleeve Shirred Organza Dress (£275)

H&M A-Line Dress (£30)

#2: Avoid short hemlines

It's not only about respect for the bride, but it's also a lesser-known fact that longer hemlines are conservatively sexy—especially irregular hemlines that give a peekaboo flash of leg when the woman is in motion. Err on the classy side and go midi, midaxi or maxi.

Isabel Marant Venia Corduroy Midi Dress (£835)

ASOS Curve Curve Maxi Dress With Batwing Sleeve and Wrap Waist in Satin (£50)

Paco Rabanne Asymmetric Gathered Floral-Print Stretch-Jersey Dress (£620)

Kitri Lauren Green Floral Print Dress (£145)

#3: Dress for the theme or vibe

If you're at a city wedding it's likely you'll wear something different from a countryside do. Same goes for destination nuptials or something low-key that's designed to be more of a party.

Gucci Bee-Logo Faux-Straw Boater Hat (£285)

Roland Mouret Giza Knotted Polka-Dot Plissé-Chiffon Midi Dress (£678)

Simon Miller Ram Gold-Tone Beaded Hoop Earrings (£165)

Who What Wear Collection Perla Strappy Mid Heeled Sandals in Cream (£40)

#4: It's okay to wear black

The modern world has ushered in many wonderful changes: iPhones, Headspace, hashtags, Voga and the acceptance of wearing black at weddings and baptisms. Black once was the mark of doom and gloom, but now it's a tone for the chic urbanites. Wear it to weddings, and wear it with aplomb!

Raey Bust-Cup Silk Crepe De Chine Slip Dress (£180)

16 Arlington Fujiko Feather-Trimmed Leopard-Devoré Midi Dress (£895)

Zara Pleated Dress (£50)

& Other Stories Satin Side Knot Midi Dress (£47)

#5: Always carry a small bag for your essentials

Large tote bags and cumbersome shoulder bags don't ooze "special occasion." Rather, they make it look like you're going on a daylong trek across the urban jungle. Go minimal and head out to the wedding with a micro or clutch bag, cutting loose from your heavy accessories for a day. Think of it as a handbag detox.

Marques'Almeida Feather-Trimmed Leather Bag (£435)

Mango Rhinestone Baguette Purse - Women | Mango United Kingdom (£20)

Loeffler Randall Willa Metallic Suede Clutch (£215)

Cult Gaia Mina Knotted Pleated Satin Shoulder Bag (£145)

#6: Wear heels you can walk in ALL day

There's nothing worse than climbing into a pair of heels only to find that you are limping across the dance floor a mere few hours later. Find the comfy elevated shoes that will party harder than all your other footwear.

By Far Lana 65 Black Leather Mules (£340)

Prada Metallic Textured-Leather Platform Sandals (£515)

& Other Stories Strappy Leather Heeled Sandal (£85)

Gianvito Rossi Portofino 60 Suede Sandals (£525)

#7: Wear sleeves or bring a cover-up for religious ceremonies

There are lots of religious wedding ceremonies that may take place in sacred spaces that require a respectful covered-up dress code. Think royal enclosure at Ascot and wear thick straps and take a generous silk scarf to drape across your décolletage or wear sleeves to nail the issue in one.

Sies Marjan Terry Belted Wool-Twill Blazer ($334)

H&M Jacquard-Weave Jacket (£35)

Dries Van Noten Cropped Embellished Satin Jacket (£1125)

& Other Stories Asymmetric Structured Single Breasted Blazer (£95)

#8. Check with the bride if you're not sure.

If you're not sure about your outfit and there isn't a clear dress code, it's always a good idea to check with the bride. Pro tip: Make sure it's at least a couple weeks before the big day, as the bride will most likely have bigger things on her mind the days running up to the wedding and will not appreciate a text hours before she's about to walk down the aisle. And if you're still not sure, stick with a suit, jumpsuit or classic wedding-guest dress.

Rotate Birger Christensen Lily Studded Stretch-Velvet Midi Dress (£235)

Needle & Thread Floral-Print Silk-Satin Jumpsuit (£262)

Rixo Chrissie Nyc (£220)

Retrofeête Agnes Crystal-Embellished Velvet Gown (£770)

#9: It's still not okay to wear white

Despite the changes in formal dressing over the past few years, with many brides opting to go for non-white or cream wedding dresses. That doesn't necessarily mean you should turn up in a floor-length white number. Debrett's wedding guide still says it's a no-no. You can, however, choose white add-ons, opt for subtle shades of champagne, peach and nude or opt for a white dress with a noticeable print so that it is clearly different from what the bride could turn up in. Remember, as per point #8, you can always ask and check.

Zimmermann Lulu Belted Asymmetric Ruffled Striped Cotton-Voile Dress (£685)

Needle & Thread + Jasmine Hemsley Earth Garden Lace-Trimmed Embroidered Tulle Midi Dress (£142)

Ganni Ruched Floral-Print Stretch Silk-Satin Midi Dress (£453.05)

Stine Goya Damai Lilac Satin Midi Dress (£320)

Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2021 fashion trends to know.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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