A guide to choosing the best wedding guest attire

Planning a wedding takes a lot of hard work and energy to make it perfect and the most special day of the couple’s life. You can support them in achieving this by ensuring your outfit as a guest at the wedding is appropriate for the occasion and style of event they are having. In this guide we’ll be exploring what types of attire you may want to consider as a wedding guest as well as what you should avoid.

What shouldn’t you wear as a wedding guest?

Some couples might value a dress code more than others, for example if they’re having a formal, black-tie style of wedding that will give you a clear indication of what type of attire you should wear. But for less formal weddings where the couple are more flexible on the dress code it can be difficult to know exactly what to wear. However, even if those cases, there are some types of outfits that should generally be completely avoided unless the wedding is themed in a way that makes them appropriate. In most cases, the below items are not suitable wedding attire for guests.

  • Clothes that are too revealing – a wedding is a celebration that often involves a big party. However, it’s best to save the short cocktail dress for the club rather than the reception. If you’re considering a dress or skirt for the event, it’s more appropriate to choose something conservative. This is because wedding guest etiquette is about not upstaging the bride, which you run the risk of doing if you wear an outfit with a plunging neckline or that is particularly short in length.
  • Sheer or see-through material – similar to wearing an outfit that is too revealing, a see-through material is not appropriate for a wedding where all attention should be on the marrying couple. By choosing this style of attire you could embarrass the bride and groom and yourself.
  • Denim jeans – even if the dress code says casual, opting for jeans is too laid back for an important milestone event like a wedding. It’s better to take the chance of being overdressed than underdressed.
  • Animal print – animal print and other bold patterns aren’t really the right tone for a wedding. That’s not to say you shouldn’t wear anything patterned if you like patterns, but it might be best to choose a subtler style like stripes or polka dots.
  • Flip-flops – this might seem obvious but unless the wedding is at the beach, flip-flops are not a suitable style of footwear for a wedding. If you’re attending a summer wedding or a wedding abroad and are concerned about your feet becoming too hot a stylish pair of flats can ensure you’re comfortable whilst still being dressed appropriately.
  • T-shirts with slogans – a plain t-shirt might be appropriate for casual weddings, but slogans aren’t suitable for a wedding, especially if they feature potentially divisive or offensive words or images.

What should you wear as a wedding guest?

Now you know what you should avoid when thinking about your wedding attire, let’s look at what options are right for the occasion. 


For a woman attending a formal, black-tie wedding, the most common type of attire is a floor-length, elegant dress. If there is more flexibility on the formality of the dress code, you might also consider a long evening gown or wrap dress. For casual weddings you have more choice and might want to opt for a dress that’s a bit shorter more like a midi, especially for a summer wedding.

In the warmer seasons a lightweight and breathable fabric will help you stay comfortable. Weddings that take place during these seasons are typically more casual, making it more appropriate to wear brighter colours and different style outfits. Whereas weddings in the colder seasons are a great time for darker colours and long sleeve dresses in warm fabrics.

Suits and jumpsuits

Traditionally wedding attire for women would almost exclusively be dresses. However, modern weddings allow for more flexibility and suits and jumpsuits can be a comfortable and stylish option for a wedding. Plus, with so much variety you’re likely to find one to suit that matches the formality of the wedding, season, and venue accurately.


Weddings are often all-day events which makes choosing the right shoes essential for both style and comfort. If wearing heels is important to you, you might want to look at styles that are easier to walk in like wedges or block heels. Equally there are many types of flat shoes that suit a more formal wedding if heels aren’t right for you. They may not be the main part of your attire, but the shoes you choose are important, so it’s best to make sure they aren’t brand-new, and your feet won’t get sore in them.


Hopefully this guide has given you a good insight into some of the good and bad outfit options as a wedding guest. At Maids to Measure, we stock a wide range of wedding guest and bridesmaid dress styles to ensure you find the right type of attire for the wedding you’re attending. Shop guest and bridesmaid dresses UK online today and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.