The I Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Attire

The I Dos and Don’ts of wedding attire

Weddington Way

Wedding etiquette, even for the guests, is a minefield, and one of the easiest places to get into difficulties is in deciding what to wear for the special occasion. In British society especially there are dozens of unwritten rules that have been passed down the years, and which hold fast to this day. Here’s a rough guide to some of the key things to remember if you have a wedding to attend soon…

For Men

Do Dress Appropriately –  Men generally tend to have an easier time when it comes to dressing for a wedding than women. A lot depends of course on the type of wedding it is. If it’s a grand affair, then ideally you should be wearing a morning suit, with all the necessary accoutrements such as one of these Dobell men’s waistcoats (usually black to match the coat), black Oxford shoes and a patterned or plain pocket square. If you don’t own a morning suit and can’t afford to buy or hire one, then the best suit you have will do, preferably not one you wear regularly to the office though.

Do Be Presentable – Historically tuxedos are rarely seen at daytime weddings, but in recent years it is becoming more common. Whatever you choose, your suit should be well fitted and clean. Visit a tailor and dry-cleaner if necessary.

Don’t Turn Up With A Bunch Of Flowers – If you’re planning to wear a boutonniere in your lapel, as many men do, then remember that less is more. A simple white carnation is all that’s required. Too flowery and you’ll be fighting off bees rather than bridesmaids.

For Women

Don’t Wear White – The best-known and requisite point to keep in mind is, never wear white, or anything that even halfway resembles a wedding dress. This is the bride’s day, and on this day, only she may wear white. That also generally applies to any pre-wedding bashes, by the way.

Do Be Careful With Black – Similarly, while some would argue against this, in general all black is never a good idea, unless you’re attending a wedding with a Gothic theme and that colour is particularly invited. Black can easily be broken up, though, with a floral print. That said, if the wedding ceremony is being held in the afternoon and the reception is likely to go into the early hours, you may want to consider changing into a classic LBD later on.

Don’t Show Too Much Flesh – Wedding outfits should be discreet. Wearing something overtly sexual can imply attention-seeking, never a good idea at a wedding when you’re taking it away from the bride, and it can take the sheen off the photos too. This is especially a consideration if it is a religious wedding.

Don’t Go Too Informal – Even if it’s marked as a casual do, there are limits to what is acceptable – ripped jeans, bedhead or baseball caps are just not suitable wedding attire. At the other end, don’t go too jazzy – a dress suitable for a cocktail party won’t necessarily go over at a formal wedding.

Do Phone Around In The Weeks Before – Find out what your friends will be wearing well ahead of time to ensure that you don’t clash.

Do Wear Suitable Footwear – If you’re wearing heels, then stash a pair of flats too for the evening dancing. This is also vital if it’s a reception being held outside on grass or sand where your points are going to sink in. Heel protectors are a cunning invention that are doing the rounds right now.

Do Wear Headgear – A hat, or a fascinator, is a great look whether you’re at the races or a wedding. Going to a country wedding? Why not try a few pretty wildflowers in your hair?

For any wedding, always stick to the guidelines printed on your invitation. If it tells you to wear a morning dress, morning dress or a smart suit it is. Always over-dress rather than under-dress, as it’s much better to look too smart than too scruffy. And dress for the season. If it’s cold, guys will want a tweed or wool suit, ladies will need to consider an overcoat or a pashmina shawl.

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into perfecting her morning brew.