6 Things Guests Should Never Wear to a Wedding

Avoid being an accidental eyesore.

Photo: Jen Huang

Choosing what to wear to a wedding can be downright taxing, especially with as dress codes become more and more unclear. Whether an invitation calls for formal, cocktail, festive, or casual attire, wedding guests should remember a few universal style rules to prevent fashion mishaps. Here are six things you should simply never wear to a wedding, no matter what the dress code says.


Clothing outside of the dress code.

According to Julie Sabatino, a wedding fashion stylist at The Stylish Bride, "You show up to the wedding to honor the couple. Your appearance should reflect that." Make sure your ensemble is respectful and appropriate for the event. Take the extra effort to ensure you understand what you should and shouldn't wear to a particular ceremony. You don't want to be the girl in a long ball gown while everyone else sports a cocktail dress. If you can't figure out exactly what "beachy chic" or "festive casual" entails, reach out to a bridesmaid (not the bride) for help.

Anything loud and flashy.

One of the biggest rules of dressing for a wedding is to never outshine the bride and groom. Avoid sequined ball gowns, sparkly tiaras, sky-high platform heels, or other articles of clothing that will draw attention away from the bride. A wedding isn't the proper time to make a bold fashion statement.

A white dress.

Unless you're the bride, wearing a white dress to a wedding is traditionally a faux pas. Leave all white, ivory, and champagne-hued shades alone, unless the invitation specifically requests that guests wear white. The bride deserves to stand out in her gown, and you don't want to upset her or other guests by wearing anything bridal-esque. Along those lines, Sabatino suggests finding out the color of the bridesmaids dresses and avoid wearing a similar shade, so you aren't mistaken for a member of the bridal party.

Your everyday jeans and sneakers.

It doesn't matter if the dress code requests "casual" attire; jeans, T-Shirts, shorts, and sneakers are never appropriate to wear as a wedding guest. Show respect for the bride and groom by dressing formally. Sabatino suggests that men show up in a jacket and tie, even when the invitation says casual. "That is honoring the occasion in my mind," she says.

Skip skimpy pieces.

"Never wear something with a lot of exposed skin," says Sabatino. Crop tops, dresses with mesh on the sides, short skirts, plunging necklines, and form-fitting gowns are more appropriate for a nightclub than a wedding. A skimpy outfit will attract negative attention from other guests and take attention away from the bride.

Your most uncomfortable shoes.

"Think about what's appropriate for the setting and the venue," suggests Sabatino. If the wedding will take place on a natural landscape, consider ditching the heels for a pair of cute flats. There's no need to be in struggling with stiletto heels in grass all night, or go home early because of painful and insensible footwear.

If you're at a complete loss for an outfit, Sabatino suggests sticking with a long or short black dress. Find a piece with flattering cut, and dress it up for the occasion. "There's a way to make a black dress look good in the Hamptons, and a way to make it look good in a ballroom in NYC," says Sabatino.

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