I promised a post on wedding attire, so here it is. There is always more to say on the subject, so if you have questions leave them in the comments.
As Driven Snow. You cannot wear white to someone else’s wedding. I don’t care if it is her/his first wedding or if the person has been married more times than Elizabeth Taylor. The simple answer is no white, no colors in the white family, no white prints, no white blazers…NO WHITE, EVER.
The only exception to this rule is if the bride specifically asks you to wear white. The bride gets what the bride wants.
Invitations Mean Something. If you’re planning to get married in the near future, please don’t make the dress code for your Big Day any more challenging than it needs to be. Don’t ask me to decipher California Cocktail or Chic Semi-Formal. There are only five categories of wedding attire: White Tie, Black Tie, Black Tie Optional/Cocktail, Semi-Formal and Casual. The only exception to these categories is the Theme Wedding–beach, cowboy, all black, etc. Do your guests a favor and make it simple.
That being said, if the invite says Black Tie, men need to wear a tux and women need to wear a gown or a nice cocktail dress. If the invite says all black, it’s all black, no exceptions. If the invitation says casual, don’t show up in shiny satin or sky high stilettos. The bride has made a request, and that request should be honored. If you need further guidance on what to wear based on a invitation, try The Knot.com’s handy guide.
Dress to Impress. Because I adore you, and because I know that sometimes visual aids are more helpful than a description, I created a few wedding looks in Polyvore for those of you who need additional guidance.
From the Left, Black Tie: Earrings ($40), Clutch ($63), Sandal ($125), Dress ($390). Cocktail: Brooch ($155), Clutch ($27), Shoe ($325), Dress ($120). Semi-Formal: Earrings ($48), Clutch ($170), Shoe ($50), Dress ($198). Casual: Necklace ($118), Clutch ($98), Sandal ($198), Top ($180), Skirt ($330).
Shoes. If you are going to an outdoor wedding where you will be standing on grass at any point, you need wedges or flats. I attended a wedding last year at country club and nearly laughed myself into a stupor as I watched dozens of women aerate the lawn with their stilettos. Don’t ruin your shoes, don’t ruin the landscaping, plan accordingly.
Also, at every wedding I have ever attended I see the same thing, 10:30PM rolls around and half the women are on the dance floor barefoot. Ick. Ouch. And ick, again.
If you need comfortable shoes, I own the B.P. Empire sandal in three colors (Nordstrom, $70). They may not be the most gorgeous shoe on the planet, but they are wedding appropriate and unbelievably comfortable. I have worn them to weddings, cocktail parties and an Inaugural Ball and never had so much as a sore toe.
Should you decide that you still want to chance it with cute but uncomfortable footwear, invest in an emergency pair of Footzyrolls. I do not condone the wearing of plastic, $12 flip-flops with wedding attire. Flip-flops are for the pool and the beach and nowhere else. If I have to wear big girl shoes, so do you. (Just ask Hillz.)
Hair and Makeup. If you can’t spend a fortune on the dress and the shoes, you can compensate with phenomenal hair and makeup. Several summers ago, I was a broke intern with a half-dozen weddings to attend. I rotated two dresses (one navy, one pink) and just changed the accessories and the hair.
So spend a little time on YouTube seeking out hot new makeup and hair styles. You can look gorgeous without spending any extra money.
One Final Thought. Whatever you decide to wear, there is one tip for wedding attire (and behavior) that is universal: Try not to be a distraction. The bright red or neon yellow dress might not be the best idea. You might rethink the skin tight bandage dress. Maybe the feathered fascinator or six inch long chandelier earrings should be saved for another day. Or you might decide not to overdo the smoky eye and teased hair.
The best style of dress at a wedding is chic, feminine and undramatic (not sure that’s a word, but let’s go with it). You don’t want to be the woman in the pictures who sticks out for the wrong reasons.