Would you consider wearing a bridesmaid dress as a wedding guest? Your first reaction might be to say no, but is there anything about a bridesmaid dress that makes it different from any other formal dress? Some would argue it's the person wearing it that makes it a bridesmaid dress. In fact, lots of brides choose their bridesmaids' dresses because they can be re-used and that shouldn't exclude other weddings.
So, perhaps repurposing an old bridesmaid dress wouldn't really be that bad. In this blog, we look at what to wear to a wedding and the things you should avoid.
Wedding guest attire - things to avoid
If you choose to wear a bridesmaid dress to a wedding, perhaps the most important thing to check ahead of time is that you aren't going to match the bridal party. The worst possible outcome is that you look like you're trying to blend in as a bridesmaid.
This is easy to do if you're close to the bride - simply ask what colours she's picked for her wedding party. If you aren't in a position to ask then you might be able to pick up clues from the theme of the invites or the wedding website.
It goes without saying that you should never wear white to a wedding - unless you're the bride. You should also avoid wearing anything light-coloured, such as champagne, beige, cream, or any colour that might look white under the glare of the lights.
Some stylists even advise staying away from glittery or sequined dresses that might take focus off the bride on her big day.
How to wear it well - bridesmaid dress
The single most important thing to do when you're looking for a wedding guest dress, is to stick to the dress code on the invitation. If it's casual or semi-casual then it's unlikely you'll be able to get away with a peach satin bridesmaid dress.
If it's a black-tie affair then a floor length dress in chiffon would work perfectly. We love the Tabitha dress in midnight blue. It has a luxuriously lightweight feel in chiffon with a flattering V-neck at the front and a stunning back design for maximum impact.
If you're still worried that your dress looks too much like something a bridesmaid would wear, you can alter its look by following these top tips:
Bridesmaids tend to stick to jewellery that is chosen or gifted by the bride, but as a guest you have a bit more freedom. Add some bling to set yourself apart from the bridal party. Or, if you'd rather tone down the dress, consider adding a belt or swapping your killer heels for a low-heeled or flat ballerina shoe.
Add another layer
To change the look of your bridesmaid dress, add a more casual layer on top. A shrug, bolero, or a buttoned-up cardigan could really tone down a formal dress. If your dress comes as a two-piece, you could also split them up and wear them separately.
Take it to a tailor
For a complete alteration to your dress, consider having it professionally looked at by a seamstress or a tailor. Shortening a long, formal dress can give it a new look, or you could change the straps or even the waistline for something completely different.
Our blog on what to do with your old bridesmaid dress has lots more ideas on how to transform your dress into something you can wear again.
Wearing a bridesmaid dress at a wedding
If you've been invited to share in someone's special day then you being there is more important to the bride and groom than what you're wearing. What guests wear is largely up to them but try to avoid white or the colour of the bridal party, if you can.
Today's bridesmaids’ dresses are designed to be worn again, but let's face it how often are you invited to an occasion that requires a formal dress. Weddings are one of the few occasions where you can dress to impress, so don't hold back. With a few tweaks and the right accessories, no one will ever know that you're wearing a bridesmaid dress.