How to dress for a Wedding?
The wedding season has started and the most important question is rising in a lot of people’s minds: “How do I dress for a wedding?”
A good friend of mine asked me to write this article. She wanted to get a dress that really shone when it was her turn for the Charlottesville wedding photographer to take pictures of her with the couple. At the same time, she didn’t want to upstage the bride or wear something inappropriate. She didn’t really know where to start. Hopefully this article will give her and anyone reading it some leads to follow up on.
Let’s start with the amazing moment: You just received your wedding invitation!
From the official invitation up to the wedding normally there are just two months in which to get ready. This seems like a lot of time, however, to find the perfect dress is not that easy at all! It can be even worse, if you’re working full time and have responsibilities happening after work or on the weekend. I love helping people organize their weddings, choosing table and chair covers and decorations for the event and making it special.
So I’d suggest to go over the general dressing-rules:
There is only one white dress in the room!
This might make things complicated if the wedding is in summer, I know – we all have those beautiful white or beige dresses in our closets – BUT trust me, this is an absolute no-go and you will have several people vilifying you if you show up as an off-brand bride, so don’t risk it!
Don’t show too much skin or curves!
A wedding is an elegant occasion and calls for elegance. It is not the same as a nightclub. If it is a summer wedding then, of course, you don’t have to wear a long dress, and you don’t necessarily have to cover your shoulder or back. However choose one of the named styles and stick with it, don’t overdo it with showing too much skin and don’t wear a too-tight dress either. This might look sexy in a club, at a wedding it looks cheap!
Don’t over do it!
If you have lots of beautiful jewellery at home and think THIS is finally the occasion to wear it? Great, but don’t wear it all at once! If your earrings and necklace don’t match or coordinate then don’t wear them together. Nothing looks less elegant than too much jewellery, especially if it doesn’t match! Think about completing your outfit with a simple yet chic gold choker necklace and maybe some matching gold studs to go with it.
Coco Chanel’s rule can be the key to perfecting your accessory look: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory!”
The same goes for palettes and other applied pearls or similar.
Know the location and dress code!
If the day starts in the church and you are having this shoulder free dress, remember to bring something to put over! If the venue is a ballroom, normally dress code is related, if you’re a country restaurant, probably you can go with casual chic.
Keep it crisp!
Creases will ruin any outfit and make it look like you threw everything together from your dirty laundry. If your outfit creases easily after washing it, consider using a professional laundry service to keep it looking fresh before the big day.
Better over than under dressed!
If you’re not sure if you should go with the long or cocktail dress, go with the long one, it is always better to slightly overdo the effort, than to not put enough.
This is definitely the right occasion to use some of your best perfume, but don’t use too much! People have got to sit and stand next to you for the duration of the ceremony, and they don’t want to come away smelling like a Lush store. Consider a natural smelling scent, or maybe even female pheromones if you’re looking to meet someone special. Just remember, you might want to smell nice, but you don’t need to smell like the bouquet.
Black is the limit!
So we spoke about that white is a no-go and here comes the next problem, black might be too! This depends a bit on the culture and could be an absolute no-go, or a grey area. If you’re not sure, then try to avoid it. I can tell you in Germany full-black on a wedding shows that you don’t approve of the wedding!
Never go without a bra!
We spoke about the “elegance is a must” going without a bra does in most cases brake that rule, so try to avoid it! And if you’re wearing this beautiful open-back dress, there are self-adhesive silicon bras that help you out perfectly.
The wedding types
This type of wedding is usually done in a garden or country house. A short cocktail dress or a blouse and skirt works best. Don’t forget to always be elegant, so don’t use too much strass or to lively prints.
A summerly floral print dress or a light skirt up till the knees are perfect for a summer wedding, in winter I would go with a long-armed dress up till the knees or slightly over them, same works perfectly with a shirt and skirt together with an elegant wool jacket.
Heels are very welcome, however are not a must. There are plenty of elegant flat shoes that could work perfectly for the occasion.
Semi formal is the most used style in weddings. This means it is nearly expected of you to wear a dress or elegant skirt. It can still be a cocktail dress, as long as it is not really short on you. I already mentioned before that it is important to not show too much skin!
If cocktail or floor-lenght, the dress needs to be special and elegant. Lace or silk are the perfect fabric examples, but it could easily be anything else as long as it doesn’t look cheap. My outfit of the day fits perfectly the semi-formal outfit. You could wear it in summer as well as in winter with a light jacket over it. The white shirt is not the main part of the outfit , so it doesn’t break the rule I gave you before, however if you prefer to change it, the skirt looks great with nearly any type of colour, if strong or pastel. If you go for a pastel colour this outfit could easily be worn also in a formal wedding, but the skirt is too much in any case for an informal wedding.
The shirt is from Zara and is half wool, half thin neoprene, I payed circa 30 euro for it. The skirt is from Menchen Tomas, a Spanish brand that takes part in the 080 Fashion Week. I love their clothing because the quality is amazing and every piece you buy looks like it was hand-made for you. The skirt with it’s golden implements has a cost of nearly 500 €. If this is out of your budget for a wedding, you can find a lot of volume maxi dresses over the internet.
I would always choose a heel for a wedding that is semi-formal or formal. For who of you is afraid to not be able to dance till dawn with these, just sneak a couple of flat ballerinas in your handbag 😉
The formal wedding type is for the very classic ones. Especially during winter time chosen more often than during summer. This stands for black-tie. Women should be wearing a floor length dress. Skirts are possible, but only if they are really elegant and don’t show a more summer-floor-lenght style as it is fashion since a couple of year.
Black tie really means, do it all: Wear that elegant dress, put heels, wear jewellery and wear your hair up, or at least in a more elegant and not day-to-day wear way. Here is where you can live your princess dreams all-over again, however don’t forget the rules above, these do still apply.
Here you can find quite some nice dress inspiration from ASOS.
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Here you can find all my Outfit of the Week posts.