What to Wear: Wedding Guest Outfits

Dressing for a wedding can be tricky. You wear clothes that you wouldn’t usually wear out often, especially when the wedding has its own theme or dress code, and you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Instead of stressing over the different dress codes and finding the perfect outfit to go with it, we have put together a simple guide to help you decide what to wear  as a tad bit easier with 5 wedding guest outfits.


While many weddings tend to be fairly straightforward with a formal dress code, it is important to remember that unfortunately it is not absolute. Formal dressing can include both black and white tie, which can be costly and both equally confusing. And unless you’ve been to a white tie before, you might need to kit yourself with an actual ball-gown. Yet many times, the term is commonly used on invitations to events where the host wants their guests to turn up presentably dressed for their special occasion. So remember, if you are unsure, you might want to check with the host or organizer first.

Here’s our breakdown of the 5 most common wedding dress codes, wedding shoes suggestion and how to dress for them:

1. White Tie
2. Back Tie
3. Semiformal
4. Smart Casual
5. Garden

 1 Wedding Guest Outfits: White Tie

A white-tie wedding is the most formal of dress codes. If your invite has a white tie dress code, be prepared to dress up in your very best. This is as formal as it gets. A white tie dress code is more buttoned-up and conservative in general, so the subliminal message here is ‘prim and proper’. You may need to be in a floor-length gown so be prepared to spend slightly more than you normally would on a beautiful dress. Give the elaborate cutouts and sequins a definite miss. Remember, it is not the time to be scandalous or experimental.

White Tie Outfit - wedding guest outfits

Since this is a more conservative affair, opt for an elegant long dress or a gown with darker shades for a night reception and light or neutral shades like the Pastel Silk Gown from Badgley Mischka for a day reception. Round off the look with a simple clutch like the Black Leather Clutch from Hemyca and subtle jewellery like the Rose Gold Rectangluar Drop Earrings and Corner Bite Ring from Majdan Rocks to keep things elegant and modern. If you’re wearing a floor length gown, you’ll find that few people will see your feet. Never the less, heels have the power to make any girl feel glamorous, especially in a long gown. Complete your look with a classic pair of pumps like the Anna Stilettos from Mybluchers. A pair of strappy heels is a great alternative that gives you that touch of elegance and boost of confidence for the night.

2. Wedding Guest Outfits: Black Tie

Formal Weddings

A black-tie wedding is formal but still can be considered fun and relaxed. The reception usually starts after 6 pm, so you’re looking at a nighttime affair where guests will be drinking and partying it up. While a black tie wedding doesn’t necessarily require a long dress, floor-length gowns are completely acceptable, as is beading, bling, and more. Of course, if you’re going short, be sure it makes a statement, one that is fun yet still elegant.

Black Tie Outfit - Twedding guest outfits

As a dress code, black tie is the most common and easiest to understand. In short, wear something smart and appropriately glitzy. Select a dress that is equal parts sexy and elevated, like the Black Slip Dress with a contrasting pink rose print from Sarah Baadarani for example. A minimalistic coat like the Evon Coat from Emile Vidal Carr adds strength to the outfit making it edgy yet elegant. Minimalistic gold jewellery like the Large Bar Necklace and the Double Arrow Knuckle Cage Ring from Mei-Li Rose adds small detail to the outfit. Tie this all in with a pink shoulder bag like the Lovinni Leather Shoulder Bag from Victoria Lam to give the overall look a pop of colour.

3. Wedding Guest Outfits: Semiformal

Semi Formal Weddings

Semiformal dress codes are one of the more common ones and can be pretty straightforward. Think cocktail parties. A good rule for semiformal is no beading on anything long, and if it’s a short dress, it can have a little bling. Wear something you feel would be comfortable and easy to dance in. Keep all accessories and bags relatively simple and lightweight. A simple go-to outfit would be a formfitting leg-baring dress with a sleek blazer draped over the shoulders. The look doesn’t have to be too over-the-top. Think fancifully modest.

Semiformal Outfit - wedding guest outfits

During the wedding season, you may end up being invited to one too many weddings to count. For most, it’s worth taking an efficient approach and making your money go a little further by investing in outfits that will work for more than one occasion. Be it a night out with the girls a couple weeks down or a date night, a two-piece outfit is a great investment. Opt for a printed long full skirt like the Elora Skirt from Emile Vidal Carr to add colour and fun into the outfit. To match, a black bodice like the Erin Top from Emile Vidal Carr or a lace fitted crop top will create that fit and flare look, giving your outfit shape while highlighting that printed skirt. A short jacket like the Black Ribbed Biker Jacket from Stefanie Renoma rather than a long heavy coat is the perfect piece to emphasise the fit and flare silhouette and give your outfit a little edge. A pair of black strappy heels rather than pumps like the Bagatelle Crystal Heels from Janiko is a perfect way to elongate your legs in a midi length skirt. A black shoulder bag or clutch such as the Lovinni Leather Shoulder Bag from Victoria Lam and small subtle jewellery like the Gold Square Hoops from Mei-Li Rose and Rour Onyx Gold Fair Ring from Solomeina are a good way to keep things simple and compliment the outfit.

4. Wedding Guest Outfits: Smart Casual

Smart Casual Weddings

Smart Casual dress codes, although more laid back, are one of the most confusing, mainly because of the word “casual” which people usually interpret as just another way of saying that you can wear whatever you like. However, smart casual dress codes have certain rules you need to take into consideration when choosing, especially to weddings. The time of day will dictate the appropriate outfit for this particular dress code. For evenings, opt for darker colours with interesting textures or a cocktail dress. However, a daytime affair allows for bright colors and prints. An easy rule to remember when you’re stuck is to mix your casuals with your tailored.

Smart Casual Wedding Outfit

Although dresses are the ultimate go-to for each occasion, there are some great tailored pieces available that can easily be chic, sophisticated and yet still feminine. Remember, ladies, you have options if dresses aren’t your thing. Go for a fairly solid, versatile colour and fabric for your tailored pieces like the Tapered Wool Trousers with Gold Piping from Plakinger and the Perfect Black Tuxedo Jacket from Stefanie Renoma. With such versatile pieces, you’ll easily be able to wear them to a variety of different events be it a meeting at work or even a more formal black tie event. Keep your outfit more relaxed and laid back by pairing your tailored pieces with a basic T-shirt or vest like the White Anya Vest from Eugene Lin. Pair this off with a pair of killer heels like the Colour Instinct Elegant Pumps in black from Janiko. The splash of paint adds colour and fun to the overall look, perfect for a semi formal wedding. Tie in the look with a neutral shade clutch like the Dromeda Clutch from Aevha London. Subtle jewellery like the Mini Finger Top Claaci Ring from Mies Nobis and Beluga Infinity Gold Necklace from Talia Naomi are a great way to keep the look elegant yet edgy.

5. Wedding Guest Outfits: Garden

Garden Weddings

Garden weddings are always an amazing event! They are less formal than indoor weddings and the vibe is often traditional but without feeling overly fancy. Dressing for a garden wedding can be somewhat tricky for reasons including having to tailor to weather conditions, as well as wanting to balance the elegant look with the more casual feel of an outdoor event. Though garden weddings usually take place during spring and summer, it’s a good idea to still check the weather forecast on the day to make sure your beautiful summer ensemble doesn’t let you down on that fluky windy day. Floral prints are the ultimate go-to this season as they match the mood of the occasion. However, if obvious floral prints are not for you, opt for seasonable bright or pastel colours. Think fun, feminine and flirty. Neutrals like beige or taupe are a perfect alternative to bright colours for a more elegant look.

Garden Wedding Outfit

1. Pleated V Neck Maxi Dress, Halston Heritage  2. Rectangle Minimalistic Gold Bracelet, Mei-li Rose 3. Rectangle Minimalistic Gold Earrings, Mei-li Rose 4. Dromeda Python Clutch, Aevha London  5. Golden Pearl Courage Ring, Solomeina  6. Crocodile Print Cutout Heels, Lara Bohinc

Balance fashion and function. Instead of black or white, pick shades that play up the natural surroundings like this apricot Pleated V Neck Maxi Dress from Halston Heritage. Opt for gold, silver or pearls to accentuate your outfit. Simple, delicate accessories like the Rectangle Minimalistic Gold Bracelet and Earrings from Mei-Li Rose are great for adding a touch of beautiful detailing to an otherwise understated dress. While the Dromeda Python Clutch from Aevha London adds texture, slip on a pair of Crocodile Print Cutout Heels from Lara Bohinc to tie your whole look together.

Wedding Shoes

Wedding Shoes - Then and Now

Choosing what shoe to wear can prove to be difficult sometimes. Wedding shoes should synch with your dress but make sure you pick a pair that you know you’ll be comfortable in for the night. Don’t wear insanely high heels unless you’re very used to wearing them. The last thing you want is to be grimacing and limping in pain on such a joyous night. While heels are not everyone’s thing, a pair of classy oxfords like the Nam Shiny Oxford Flats from De Siena or a pair of dressy bluchers like the Chicago Bluchers from Mybluchers are a great way to add that masculine touch to an outfit. Of course, ballet flats such as the Cracked Metallic Red Leather ballet flats from Kim Kwang are another great alternative to heels if you’re looking for comfort alongside that feminine touch. If all else fails, simply go for a lovely pair of heels in a colour that compliments your outfit.

The brief for most weddings is to look formal but not too dramatic. Think elegant and classy. Keep your outfit simple and compliment it with minimalistic bag and accessories. At the end of the day, the trick is to show up in something you love, are comfortable enough to dance in and that you know you’ll get use out of after the special occasion as well.

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What would you wear to a wedding?