You’ve got a casual wedding to attend this weekend, but what to wear?
Dressing like the nuptials are a black-tie affair isn’t an option, but neither is coming in shorts and flip-flops.
Never fear – Yeah Weddings can help you make sense of a casual wedding dress code. We’re fans of casual wedding attire for the comfortable, fun-loving vibe this dress code gives to weddings including those outdoors, country-style vows, and nuptials at home.
What to Wear to a Casual Wedding
Rule 1: Casual wedding attire isn’t the same clothes you’d wear to visit the supermarket. Business casual comes closer to fitting in with a casual dress code, but don’t grab your polo shirt and khakis.
Smart casual – stylish yet comfortable and relaxed – is the way to go.
Dress for the importance of the occasion, keeping in mind that casual can also be elegant and stylish.
This wedding dress code is a step below cocktail attire, so consider what you would wear to a cocktail or semi formal wedding and feel free to dress down a bit from there.
Wedding Casual for Men
For men, there are no rules on exactly what you can wear. Smart casual dress codes often lead men to a classic suit. Go with a light color or the traditional navy or gray, depending on the season. A dark suit may be too formal for summer weddings, however.
A sport coat and slacks are also a stylish option, or if the weather’s warm, go with a collared shirt or other dress shirt and pants. Sport coats can coordinate with slacks, but these jackets can also make a statement with bright prints or solids. A light, unconstructed sport coat in linen would add instant style and sophistication to a summer wedding outfit.
Plan to go without a necktie since the wedding is casual, unless you have one that makes you happy every time you wear it. A less formal statement tie in a bright, happy color could complete your casual ensemble. Save your bow tie for a formal dress code event.
Is the wedding a country-themed affair at a barn venue? Men could wear blue jeans but go with a dark wash pair that’s not distressed.
A luau theme along the beach? A Hawaiian shirt with light-colored dress pants would be perfectly in place.
Unless your wedding invitation has specific instructions, there are plenty of outfit ideas that are appropriate.
Wedding Casual for Women
A low key wedding is a wonderful opportunity for women to wear their favorite maxi dresses and strappy sundresses. Think florals, brights, pastels, or geometric prints. Don’t choose a white maxi, though, or you might be mistaken for the bride.
Dressy casual doesn’t mean that you can wear anything, however. Make sure your dress is still an appropriate length – a midi dress or maxi dress is a great choice for any age. You don’t need a floor length gown, but your dress should still be age appropriate. It’s not the club, it’s a wedding!
Choosing black and dark shades can be tricky. Although a little black dress is versatile, it may not be at home at a casual daytime wedding. Save black dresses for an evening wedding.
Separates such as skirts or slacks with a silky blouse or dressy sweater also are beautiful but casual options that are most likely already in a woman’s wardrobe.
Accessories can range from simple and classic to statement earrings and necklaces. Choose the accessories that best compliment your ensemble.
Elegant low- to mid-heeled sandals would be perfect for a summer wedding, but flats would also be at home in a casual wedding, especially an outdoor one. No one wants to wobble in high heels as they walk on the sand or across a lawn.
If a casual daytime wedding will be celebrated into the night, a shawl or wrap with a maxi dress will keep the chill from your shoulders while adding elegance to a casual dress.
How to Dress for a Casual Wedding
Weddings are celebrations that call for more style than the average athleisure outfit can muster. Even the most casual weddings are worthy of dressing up a little.
Wedding guest attire at a casual event should be stylish and attractive yet comfortable and relaxed. Elegant lines, eye-catching prints, and fabric that suits the season are all welcome as guest attire at casual weddings.
As you think about what to wear to fit a casual dress code, considering these factors will make choosing your ensemble easier.
Consider the Season
Are the vows to be said in Phoenix in May? Is the wedding beachside in Miami? Or are the nuptials mountainside in January?
Casual weddings happen 12 months a year in climates that range from desert heat to snowy, so dress for comfort. Sweating in an ensemble that’s too heavy for a warm day or too light for wintry weather will leave you miserable.
A summery sundress for warm weather or cashmere turtleneck and slacks for a winter wedding – either would keep ladies at casual weddings comfortable.
Men can opt for lightweight separates for summer and beachside weddings or wear boots, dark-washed jeans, and a pullover for a casual wedding at a ski slope. Suede sport coats are a lush topper for men going to casual weddings in the winter.
Look at the Venue
The casual wedding venue can give you clues as to what outfits are best for guests. Beachside weddings are a tip-off that sandals are smart and to leave the stilettos at home. Is the casual wedding at a barn or stable? Boots are most likely welcome and may be encouraged.
Sometimes the happy couple will offer hints. They may note on the invitations that Hawaiian shirts are encouraged at their sunny backyard wedding. Some couples pick their favorite color and ask guests to wear that shade to their casual wedding. Both scenarios will lead to some memorable group photos at the reception.
Ask Other Guests
When in doubt, ask friends and family who are coming to the wedding what they plan to wear. This might lead to a fun shopping trip together, or at least you’ll know what they’re wearing. You can then choose your casual wedding ensemble accordingly.
Asking others what they’re wearing will leave you assured that your smart casual attire choices will fit right in with what other guests will wear. Standing out in a fabulous casual wedding ensemble is wonderful, but standing out because you’re overdressed or dressed too casually can leave a wedding guest feeling awkward.
Gone are the days when wedding attire was automatically stiff and formal. As casual weddings that better reflect the personalities of the bride and groom grow in popularity, casual attire for guests does, too.
You may have a few questions about casual dress codes, so these frequently asked questions may help you choose your wedding wardrobe.
Can You Wear Jeans to a Casual Wedding?
Denim at a wedding used to be a flat “no,” for wedding guest attire but now the groom and best man might wear jeans with dress shirts and cowboy boots if the wedding has a country or western theme. If members of the wedding party are in jeans, then they’re a safe choice for wedding guests, too.
Now denim and blue jeans at casual weddings are a maybe, depending on the theme or location. Formal wedding attire typically isn’t expected at backyard weddings or other lax affairs. If you do decide that blue jeans will fit in on the wedding day, go with a dressier denim design in a darker wash. No ripped jeans!
Dress pants aren’t always necessary if there isn’t a formal wedding dress code in place, so jeans are a maybe. Before you wear jeans or khaki pants, however, consult other guests or even the happy couple about the wedding dress code to ensure they aren’t too casual.
The rule of never wearing white to a wedding can be bent with white slacks or white denim at a casual wedding. Just make sure that everything else in the outfit is another color – a bright or pastel solid or print.
Can You Be Overdressed for a Wedding?
Yes! If you are invited to a casual wedding and come in an evening gown or a tuxedo, then you’ll be overdressed and stand out in a bad way. A guest wearing a three-piece wool suit to a beach wedding would also be considered overdressed, not to mention uncomfortable.
Wedding guests can come to casual weddings overdressed as well as underdressed. Dressing too casually for a casual wedding can be just as awkward as being overdressed. Leave T-shirts and evening gowns at home and find that perfect casual wedding outfit that’s the right blend of casual and elegant.
As a wedding guest, you’ll want to dress in a way that honors the bride and groom and makes you feel comfortable. Dressing for the theme of the wedding or the venue, considering the season and how you’ll fit in, will result in a wedding style that will have you feeling relaxed during the wedding ceremony and throughout the reception.
Is a Sport Coat Okay for a Wedding?
A sport coat is an excellent choice for casual wedding attire. Choose one that coordinates with dress slacks for a suit look, or choose a sport coat in a bright or light shade as a statement jacket. During the summer months, seersucker sport coats are popular choices for men’s casual wedding attire, especially in the southern U.S.
A wool or camel hair sport coat is an excellent choice for fall or winter casual weddings, giving a dressy but casual look while adding a layer of warmth.
Enjoy the Wedding!
Casual weddings can be great fun and usually reflect the personalities and favorite places of the bride and groom. By considering when the wedding will be, where the ceremony and reception will be held, and what others might wear, you can choose casual wedding attire that will make you feel great wearing it.
Check out our handy guide on cocktail attire for more ideas on what to wear to a less formal event!
Now that you know how to choose a wedding outfit, you can celebrate this special occasion in style and comfort.
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