What to Wear: Summer Wedding Season

Wedding Season is here, with the Royal Wedding kicking it off in grand style. While the British Monarchy is steeped in etiquette, custom, and tradition, plenty of your more typical wedding-goers face their own dilemma of do’s and don’ts.

Many questions linger around wedding guest attire. Is this appropriate? Can I wear this color? What does black-tie optional mean? I’ll take you through the different types of weddings you may encounter this season, answer those questions and, of course, provide recommendations.



A traditional wedding will have a ceremony (typically in a church), followed by a reception. Think Father of the Bride or My Best Friend’s Wedding. These weddings fit the traditional mold and the attire should, too. You’ll want your look to be classic and sophisticated while also staying true to yourself and your personality. The reception venue should be considered when planning your look (i.e. formal country club or banquet hall). Avoid white or cream, which should be reserved for the bride. Additionally, don’t wear anything flashy that will compete with the bride as the main attraction. Prints, ruffles and other special design details are a great idea and will show off your personality.


Michael Kors - $250

Michael Kors – $250



In the wedding industry, the term “rustic” refers to weddings that celebrate the great outdoors. This is done by holding the reception in an outdoor venue or by incorporating nature-inspired elements. Imagine a chic barn, wooden accouterments, greenery, tea lights, lace, chalkboards, DIY centerpieces and other shabby chic trimmings. For this type of wedding, think breezy dresses, textures, soft hues and any style that lends itself to a whimsical vibe.


Anthropologie – $178



Who doesn’t love a vacation? We may prefer to choose where we travel, but sometimes it’s nice to have all of the guesswork taken out of it. Arrive here, at this time, stay at this hotel and party on this beach. A beach destination is going to be hot, so choose maxi dresses, bold summer colors and prints, and spaghetti or strapless options. Sheath styles or dresses that hug the body will cause discomfort and extra perspiration, so are best to avoid.

Saloni via Intermix – $875


Zimmerman via Intermix – $795


Shoes are often an issue with beach weddings. Women typically want to wear heels, but heels and sand just don’t mix. Find out where the majority of the wedding will take place and go from there. A wedge is always a great idea, as is a flat sandal with unique detailing. But, let’s be honest, those shoes are coming off once you hit the dance floor.



In my experience, when a couple says the wedding is black-tie optional, they really want you to dress up. I suggest ignoring the optional part and go all out. This means a proper suit or tux for the men and a formal dress for the ladies. A floor-length gown or dressy cocktail dress would be ideal. You could also wear a sleek and sophisticated jumpsuit, like the Halston Heritage one below. If you’re still unsure of the dress length or how formal you can/should dress, ask a friend or member of the wedding party.


Zimmerman via Intermix – $580


Halston – $445