From complicated dress codes to tricky colour schemes, Alice answers all the big-day style questions you’ve ever wanted to ask
Can there be any event more fraught to dress for than a wedding? Between different traditions, different dress codes, different weather patterns and of course different roles in every event, there are so many points to consider.
These days, the only categorical ‘dont’s’ are trainers (unless the bride changes into them first), leggings, shorts and denim – all details you’d be unlikely to consider anyway. Your shortest hems and your lowest-cut necklines are best avoided, too.
The best approach? Choose an outfit that makes you feel your best, so you can enjoy the day and bask in the celebration of love.
Here, Alice answers all your biggest wedding-guest style questions…
I have so many weddings this summer. Can I wear the same dress to two weddings?
Thankfully rewearing isn’t the faux pas it once was – the impact of the one-event buy on the environment and your bank account just isn’t worth it. It may feel underwhelming to wear the exact same thing to weddings with crossover attendance. But if there’s no guest-list overlap or a few years have passed, and if you pair it with different statement accessories, like chandelier earrings or a choker, it’s not a problem.
I always wear black, but what about to weddings? Is it a no?
It’s not a firm no. But unless the invite specifies ‘black tie’ or you know the couple well enough that you can ask, it’s best to avoid. Ask yourself: Why would you want to wear black, when there are so many more celebratory shades – especially when weddings are usually summery?
If you fall in love with a black dress, keep things fun rather than funereal by adding a splash of colour and contrasting textures with statement accessories.
And how about white?
If the invitation calls for white – which is sometimes a hot-weather dress code – then white it is. You don’t want to be the stand-out anomaly in the group photograph.
If in doubt, no – and that applies to ecru, cream, off-white and most white-based prints, too. You can ask if it’s ok, but why risk looking as if you’re trying to distract from the couple? Colour phobes, it’s time to be brave. Just think how much more joyous the wedding pictures will be.
Can I wear red?
Red can feel like a bold choice, but it’s a question of preference. As long as it doesn’t look too showy or flashy (like you’ve chosen it purely to attention-grab), go for it. Just check it’s not against the cultural traditions of the couple or ceremony.
Can I wear a backless dress?
Like a plunging neckline, a backless dress or even a bold cut-out may not seem appropriate. You might feel good in it, but wondering if fellow guests are judging your outfit choice isn’t a recipe for carefree fun.
Do my bag and shoes have to match?
That is never a rule that anyone should feel pressurised to adhere to in this day and age. They can match, if that suits your style, or they can be wildly contrasting. Chunky sandals and a straw bag. Leather bag and straw sandals. You get the gist.
Do I have to wear a hat?
Unless specifically stated on the invitation, the decision about a hat – or not – at a wedding can be left to the person whose head it will be on. They’re sometimes expected at smarter weddings, but it’s an accessory, after all.
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