One of our wedding planners, Samantha, is being married today in Canberra. I am so excited to be attending a wedding as a guest rather than the girl running around like a headless chicken making everything look beautiful. Samantha has insisted that she style and organise the wedding all herself, which she will have done spectacularly, I have no doubt. However, with no centerpieces to fluff, no aisle runners to smooth and no flowergirls to chase, this leaves me in a position I rarely find myself in. What do I wear as a wedding guest rather than the wedding planner?
The invitation says formal, which is always a little difficult to guage. My wedding planning uniform of super-wide black pants and tuxedo jacket are out. I want to feel feminine. I want to feel different to the weddings I attend as a worker bee. I want to feel gorgeous!
I have a wardrobe full of 70’s style maxi dresses. Long before the fashion came back, my height and shape has dictated that this style is the best look for me. I am leaning towards a gorgeous Leona Edmiston dress I have stashed away that I last broke out for my brother’s wedding. But as the wind is incredibly gusty and the chill factor is likely to head well below zero, I need to be wary of staying warm… aaah, what is a girl to do?
Off to The Knot for their guide on wedding guest attire:
The invite says: “White Tie”
This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes (think state dinners and the Oscars).
He should wear: A tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white pique vest, and a bow tie. Black, formal shoes and even white gloves for dancing are appropriate.
She should wear: A formal, full-length ball gown in a neutral color like dark brown or black. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate.
The invite says: “Black Tie”
This is the next most formal wedding dress code and usually means the wedding is an evening affair.
He should wear: A tuxedo. A black bow tie, cummerbund, and patent leather shoes are also suggested.
She should wear: A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown in a dark, neutral color like brown or black. The bride, wedding party, or friends can help answer questions about the appropriate dress length.
The invite says: “Formal” or “Black Tie Optional”
The wording here suggests something slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate.
He should wear: A tuxedo or a formal dark suit and tie.
She should wear: A long dress, a dressy suit, or a formal cocktail-length dress in a dark, neutral tone like brown, gray, or black.
The invite says: “Beach Formal”
This suggests an elegant beach wedding — so dress to impress, but also dress for the elements (sun, sand, and water). Anything you’d wear to a nice restaurant on a summer day is appropriate.
He should wear: A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants or khakis, and sandals.
She should wear: A formal summer sundress at tea- or knee-length with flat sandals. Makeup and hair can be natural and everyday.
The invite says: “Semiformal” or “Dressy Casual”
Depending on the time of the event, you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual. Wear darker, more formal hues for an evening fete; opt for light colors and fabrics for a daytime wedding.
He should wear: A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day.
She should wear: A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top.
The invite says: “Casual”
Generally, casual means anything goes. That said, jeans, shorts, and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume business casual to be on the safe side.
He should wear: Dress pants with a button-down shirt or polo.
She should wear: A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse. Makeup and hair can be natural and everyday.
Stay tuned. I think the Leona is the key, but I may have to scrounge through my grandmother’s amazing coats and shawls to find something to keep me warm enough to brave this chilly Canberra weather.
Whatever I decide, I’m so excited for Sam and Jon. I know this day is going to be one never to forget. Gorgeous people completely besotted with one another… a wedding should be about nothing else.