Dresses and outfit ideas| woman&home

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  • We adore wedding season, but as the invites start to mount up, so does the pressure of what to wear to a wedding.

    Can you wear white? Can you wear black? Are jeans appropriate? To help you navigate this tricky terrain, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to wedding guest outfit etiquette.

    Whether you’re heading to an intimate post-lockdown ceremony, a lavish abroad affair or a black-tie soiree to rival Kate and Meghan’s royal weddings, we’ve got you covered.

    From winter wedding attire to outfits for summer soirees, prepare to be the best-dressed wedding guest…

    What to wear to a wedding as a guest

    Midi dresses

    We could wax lyrical for hours about the many virtues of a midi dress, but they really do come into their own during wedding season. Family celebrations often call for playing with little ones, and no one wants to risk a wardrobe malfunction during a game of hide and seek. Equally, the longer hemline makes midis far more reliable on windy days than thigh-skimming minis.


    A modern alternative to an oversized hat, the trend for headbands is far from cooling down. Smaller than a fascinator, but impactful enough to add a little extra flair to our outfit – look out for prints, beading and embroidery. To avoid the dreaded 5pm headache, give yours a little stretch before wearing.

    Comfy heels

    There’s nothing worse than stepping out in a gorgeous new pair of heels, only to feel the pinch by the end of the photos. To take you seamlessly from ceremony to carriages, choose a heel that’s not too high. Block heels and supportive ankle straps are your friends here too, helping to keep you steady and stable – even after a couple of celebratory vinos. If you can’t face the idea of wearing heels at all, a pretty pair of pointed pumps will have the same leg-lengthening effect.

    Guests at the wedding reception of farmer's Emily Doolan and Joe Read

    Another great thing about black heels is they won’t sink into grass! (Credit: Getty)

    Can you wear denim to a wedding?

    Wedding dress codes might have relaxed in recent years, but unless the invite specifically says so, denim still isn’t welcome.

    Leave your skinny jeans at home, and instead plump for a floral midi dress. Feel more comfortable in trousers? No problem. A statement jumpsuit or tailored two-piece is just the ticket.

    What colours are you not supposed to wear to a wedding?

    If you’re in any doubt as to whether your outfit is appropriate, get a second opinion from a trusted friend. Or, if you’re close, you could always ask the bride herself.

    It’s a good idea to find out which colour the bridesmaids are wearing too, to avoid looking too matchy-matchy.


    Traditionally associated with mourning, wearing black to a wedding tends to be frowned upon.

    That being said, if your dress has a black base topped with a colourful, vibrant print or pattern, you should be able to get away with it. Detract from the black further by choosing colour-pop accessories.


    Wearing white to a wedding is considered bad manners, as you don’t want to look like you’re trying to upstage the bride. By association, ivory, cream and even pale pastels are off the cards too.

    Similarly to black, if your dress is patterned, then wearing white shouldn’t be a problem.

    Go-to brands when shopping for a wedding

    LK Bennett

    If it’s good enough for the Duchess of Cambridge, then this high-street hero is good enough for us. Expect an exciting rainbow of shades in classic, buy-now-and-wear-forever shapes. Their prints really are something special, and will get you noticed for all the right reasons. Of course it’s almost impossible to mention LK Bennett without paying lip service to their shoes – their classic courts are the perfect height to take you from day to dancing.

    Shop LK Bennett new in


    Ever since their re-vamp in 2008, Whistles speciality has been timeless styles with a fashion-forward twist, which, incidentally, is everything we want from a wedding outfit. Making browsing easy, they have a dedicated section on their website dedicated entirely to wedding guest looks. From luxe faux furs to special silk gowns, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

    Shop Whistles new in

    Needle & Thread

    For something really special, you can’t beat Needle & Thread. Not only are they a great place to shop for bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses, they’ve got a reliable line of wedding guest frocks and separates too. Feminine and romantic, a Needle & Thread dress is always easy to spot in a sartorial haystack, thanks to their signature sequins, beading and ruffles.

    Shop Needle & Thread new in

    Wedding ready buys to shop now:

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