Summer Weddings: Cracking the “Dress” Code

The summer wedding season is upon us, ladies!  The invitations are rolling in, and you’ve RSVP’d.  Now comes the hard part… what to wear?!?  When choosing a dress, keep two simple ideas in mind:
1) Look stunning, but…
2)  not as stunning as the bride

Piece of (wedding) cake, right?  Not always. You have to consider things like, what time of day is the wedding? And, what the heck does “black tie optional” mean anyway? If you’re stumped this advice can help you find the sweet spot between “incredibly chic” and “OMG, she wore WHITE to a wedding.”

Daytime Wedding:

Daytime weddings are typically the least formal type of wedding and usually take place between noon and 4pm.  For such, we recommend trying a dress in a pretty pastel. This is the closest you can get to wearing white to a wedding, as we all know that Rule #1 of Wedding Etiquette is to NEVER WEAR WHITE.  Under any circumstance.  It’s just not cool to upstage the bride.  Instead, choose a color like mint, lavender, pink or pale yellow, and you will certainly brighten up any daytime wedding!  Also, opt for lighter fabrics, such as silk, for a more formal look (for the later-in-the-day events) or cotton for a more casual, say noonish wedding.  If dresses aren’t your comfort zone, you can certainly opt instead for a dressy top and skirt combo or a sleek pantsuit.  I love Ann Taylor and J.Crew for daytime wedding looks. Both have beautiful special occasion options at great prices.

Outdoor Wedding:

For the outdoor wedding, this is your chance to don a fun floral dress. Floral prints are super on trend this summer, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect frock!  If floral isn’t your thing, try a coral or bright green dress. Whatever you choose, just be sure to dress for the elements, as you may be in the sun, wind, or rain (the horror!) for periods of time. Gorgeous florals are all over the racks right now, but Talbots and New York & Company seem to have especially wide selections of both florals and solid brights, so that’s a good place to start your quest!

Evening Wedding:

For evening weddings, no doubt, you will want to go with a cocktail dress.  Darker colors are acceptable here, such as royal blue or emerald green.  Your classic LBD is great, too! Yes girlfriend, you can wear black to a summer wedding, as long as you keep the silhouette light and lively!  We know, back in the day, it was a big “no-no”, but that’s no longer true.  Black is definitely a great choice – just opt for shorter hem-lines, and perhaps accessorize with some sparkle!  White House Black Market has several choices when it comes to LBDs, as does Julie’s Boutique if you’re on a stricter budget. As for that sparkle, Francesca’s wide selection can help you really shine!

Black Tie Optional:

When you see the phrase “Black Tie Optional,” that simply means the event will be slightly less formal than Black Tie.  For this type of wedding, a floor-length dress is usually most appropriate. Another great option would be a formal cocktail-length dress, but be sure to stick with dark, neutral hues such as black, gray or navy.  When you’re going floor-length, you can’t beat Belk’s elegant assortment. They’re great for shorter styles too but you may also want to check out Banana Republic for your modern short dress options.

Black Tie:

This is the most formal of all wedding types and will most likely be an evening wedding. A black tie wedding requires a formal, floor-length dress; and, again a dark color is most appropriate.  Black-tie may seem intimidating, with the overwhelming formality, but the perfect, gorgeous dress from David’s Bridal will certainly change all that!  Their sales associates would be glad to help you choose the perfect look, fit and color if you have any questions.

One final note before I send you out to shop:  I hope that your head is filled with lots of inspiration, but at the end of the day, be sure to pick a dress that makes you feel beautiful and allows you to have some fun celebrating with your loved ones!  Happy shopping, friends!