As the wedding season edges closer, everywhere you look you’ll see things like ‘what not to wear to your next wedding reception’ and ‘top 10 fashion rules for wedding guests’. We say that there are no rules! Weddings aren’t a time to play by the book… they’re a time to celebrate and have fun with your style.
But choosing what to wear isn’t always easy. There are plenty of wedding de-stress tips out there for brides and grooms, but being invited as a guest can be pretty stressful too, especially if you’re not sure how to dress for the occasion. So we’ve come up with 10 tips for truly inspiring, standout wedding style:
1. Ignore Fashion Trends
Ignoring trends? Really? Absolutely! This year, wrap dresses have made a major comeback, puff sleeves are in, and off-the-shoulder is all the rage, but the truth is that even the hottest trends can fall flat if they’re on the wrong body. If you really want to stand out for all the right reasons next wedding season, forget about what’s hot and what’s not, and choose a style that matches your body shape, even if that’s 2017’s asymmetric hemlines or 2018’s wide-legged trouser suits. Choosing a dress for your body type is easy when you understand your own shape, so spend a little time getting familiar with your own body.
2. Dare to be Different
Dresses have become the go-to option for wedding guest attire… but doing something a little different is sure to help you stand out from the crowd and get people talking. Trouser suits and jumpsuits are not only comfortable but also totally wedding guest appropriate… as long as you’re picking the most suitable colours for the situation. We recommend sticking to pretty pastels for spring and summer weddings, and darker colours such as burgundy and Navy for weddings taking place in the cooler Canadian winters. Trouser suits and jumpsuits can be dressed up by pairing them with a fabulous pair of tall, strappy heels.
3. Accessorize, Don’t Inhibit
Next wedding season, you can pretty much guarantee that most female guests will be walking around with clutches. Clutches are never going to die out, and they’re the perfect size for holding a phone and lipstick during the festivities. But, as we all know, clutches mean we can’t have a drink in one hand and a camera in the other. If you’re keen to inspire other guests with your style, choose a hands-free alternative and show them what they’ve been missing out on. We love chain-style cross body bags that are fashionable and feminine yet spacious, and they leave out hands free for food, drink, and warm hugs.
4. Consider the Venue
What type of wedding venue have the bride and groom chosen? Canada is pretty diverse when it comes to wedding venues, with everything from barns and wineries to golf clubs and luxurious resorts, so when it comes to inspiring, standout wedding style, location matters. After all, what’s going to look great at the ranch will probably look a little out of place at the country club! For a winning look, choose an outfit that matches the environment, whether that’s something a little more casual and down-to-earth, or something with more prestige and elegance. Advance planning is key to the perfect look on the big day.
5. Venture to the Dark Side
Everyone always used to say ‘don’t wear black to a wedding!’. It was typically thought that black should be reserved for funerals because it was a more sombre colour. But black can be worn to a wedding, it can look amazing, and it can make you the style envy of other guests… if you wear it right. First, a wedding is no place for a sexy, little black dress, but a more modest alternative paired with small pops of colour — bright shoes or jewellery, for example — can look incredible. This is your chance to show people that black is no longer a taboo wedding colour and that it can look fantastic even in the middle of a hot summer.
6. Put a Spin on Tradition
Fascinators? They’re OK for a wedding, but they’re not particularly inspiring, nor will they make other guests think ‘wow’ when they see you. But hair is a massive part of the wedding guest style, so it’s important to do something with your locks… but what? We think that putting a spin on traditional hats and fascinators is spot on. Try adding pretty ribbons into your hairstyle, or even wearing a hair scarf as a statement piece. Alternatively, try out some hair jewellery. Hair jewellery is no longer just for 90’s theme parties! There are some great options out there, including beads, clickers, twists, and bedazzled pins.
7. Switch it Around
When you’re invited to a wedding, what’s the first thing you think of when it comes to your outfit? Your dress, right? The fact is that most women will focus on finding a great dress, then accessorize it… but how about switching it up and looking at your wedding guest style from a different perspective? A great way to be bold and stand out is to opt for a more simple, plain type of dress and place your focus on accessories; big, bold, statement accessories that really catch the eye. We’re talking chunky necklaces, costume jewellery, colourful belts… the works! Who says it’s your dress that needs to be the main event?
8. It’s OK to Mismatch
Hopefully, the bride and groom are a match made in heaven… but that doesn’t mean your wedding guest outfit needs to be. It’s OK to wear mismatched separates to a wedding… in fact, contrasting separates can be just what you need to stand out from the crowd and add a bit of diversity into the mix. We think that a great spring/summer wedding guest look is loose, flowing culottes paired with an equally comfortable puff-sleeve top. It may sound strange on paper, but give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at how two unlikely partners can come together for one jaw dropping look.
There’s nothing worse than turning up as a wedding guest only to find that you’re wearing the same colours or the same style as the bridesmaids… especially if you’re trying to be unique and inspiring! So if you aren’t already clear on what the bridal party are wearing on the big day, it’s a good idea to check in with the bride, groom, or maid of honor to find out. As we said earlier, we believe that there are no rules when it comes to wedding guest style, but if you want to create a standout look on the day, it helps if you’re not dressed in an outfit that looks like you’re desperately trying to be mistaken for a bridesmaid!
10. Go Vintage
Of course, it’s not just the bridal party you need to worry about! If you’ve chosen an off-the-rack outfit from the latest seasonal collection, you can safely assume that other guests have eyed up the exact same garment… and they may even have purchased it. This is where vintage really comes into play. If you have a dress that is ‘so last year’, then wear it! Alternatively, try shopping in charity shops and seeing if you can snap up a vintage bargain; something you can be sure no one else will be wearing. After all, do you really want to put the effort into style planning to turn up wearing exactly the same as someone else?
Finding the Balance
If you love fashion, it’s natural that you’ll want to create your own inspirational, standout style when you attend your next wedding celebration. And a wedding is the perfect place to play around with trends and have fun with what you’re wearing. But remember — a wedding isn’t about the guests… it’s about the bride and groom. Being a great guest means finding the right balance between putting together a knockout outfit, and ensuring that all the limelight stays where it should be: on the bride on her big day.
Tony Kantzavelos is the owner of Love Your Tailor Toronto. Specializing in clothing alterations and tailoring since 1986. He loves customizing his relatives’ clothes and enjoys sharing his knowledge with anyone interested.