The thought of arriving at a formal wedding in your casual clothes while other guests are dressed in tuxedos, is itself very embarrassing. However, there are lots of people who have had such experiences. The reason for this is that many people do not actually know the etiquette that they have to follow when they dress up for such an occasion. Though the people out there would be concentrating more on the bride, groom, and the party, not wearing the proper attire can make a person self-conscious. Hence, if you have to go to an event like this, you ought to know the etiquette.
Before you choose the costume, check as to what type of wedding you are going to attend. Most invitations mention the kind it is going to be. For instance, if it is a formal event, it will be mentioned in the invitation as 'black tie'. On the other hand, if it has not been mentioned, do not think that you can wear whatever you want to! One thing you can do is to check the type of invitation as well as the wordings used in it. For instance, if the invitation is a cream-colored one, which has black print on it, and where they have used very explicit language, then the event is a formal one. However, if the invitation is a fancy one with casual language, then it is definitely an invitation for a casual event. Once you are sure about this fact, the next thing you have to decide is the kind of garb you are going to adorn.
For both men and women, the costume would depend on the time of the day the occasion is held. For instance, if it is held in the morning or afternoon, the clothing style would be different from that which is held in the evening. For men, the costume will also depend on the season. This is because most people consider black suit as the proper attire for such occasions. Though this is true to some extent, it is not actually convenient to wear a black-colored suit for a morning marriage ceremony during the summer season. At such times, it is fine to wear a neutral or light-colored linen or cotton suit along with a matching tie. On the other hand, during winter, it will be most appropriate to wear a dark woolen suit with a tie and a sweater under the blazer.
There are many people who think that if the event is an official affair, the only proper dressing style for men is a tuxedo. However, etiquette says that it is improper to wear a tuxedo for a morning or afternoon event. Tuxedos are reserved for festivities that are held after six. They are called ultra-formal weddings. There are some, which mention optional black tie in their invitation. This means that men who prefer to wear a tux can wear one, and those who do not have it and do not want to rent one can come in a dark suit and tie. Some of the things that men have to avoid at such times are casual clothes, like cargo pants and jeans, creased clothes, wild colors or patterns, and unpolished shoes.
As I said earlier, the time of the ceremony has to be noted before choosing the dress. The clothes that women should opt for a morning or afternoon event should be a short dress in light colors. It is also fine to wear a suit in the morning. Though it is best to opt for a light-colored dress in the morning, never wear a white, as this will clash with the gown of the bride. However, if you are really keen on wearing white, make sure that it is not something that would take the attention from the bride. Other light colors that you can choose are pink, blue, cream, etc.
On the other hand, when it comes to an evening ceremony, one can go for a long gown or a long/short cocktail dress. Do not forget to match the dress with proper accessories, like high-heeled shoes, glam jewelry, clutch, wraps, or scarfs. Most people associate the color black with mourning, and hence, avoid wearing black. However, there is no such rule that goes against a female guest wearing a black dress. Rather, most women prefer to wear a black dress for an evening occasion of this type. Nevertheless, one should never wear black in the mornings. Just like men, there are some things that even women should avoid. They should never wear too revealing clothes, like a strapless or transparent dress, especially in the church. If you do wear such a dress, do not forget to bring a wrap with which you can cover your shoulders.
I hope this article has clarified all your doubts about the ideal wedding attire. So, if you have been invited for a formal wedding next week, follow these guidelines and dress carefully.