What Not To Wear To A Wedding As A Guest: Style Guide

It’s important to know what not to wear to a wedding as a guest to remain appropriate, so keep in mind three rules. First, you want to stay respectful to the couple, mainly because it’s an event that is meant to celebrate and highlight them. 

When attending a wedding as a guest, you must observe the proper etiquette on your clothing. So as an additional guide, read what color to wear to a wedding

what not to wear to a wedding as a guest


3 Important Rules To Know What Not To Wear To A Wedding As A Guest


  • Never wear something not following the wedding dress code

The most common mistake of wedding guests is not checking the wedding invitation thoroughly. In the invite, the couple will indicate the dress code and even the wedding theme. 

Do not depend on word of mouth or wedding venue when deciding what to wear to a wedding as a guest. For example, a random friend might tell you that the couple is expecting a formal outfit, or you’re assuming that the dress code is casual because it’s a beach wedding. 

The invitation should tell you the wedding dress code and help you create appropriate attire. You’ll also know if you must dress up or down, regardless of the time and theme of the wedding. 


  • Avoid an outfit that would be inappropriate for the wedding venue, time, and season

Besides checking and following the wedding dress code noted on the wedding invitation, guests must wear something that suits the wedding venue, time, and season. You shouldn’t wear something that would be disrespectful to the wedding site or uncomfortable relative to the time and season of the wedding. 

For example, do you know what to wear to a country club wedding? Most clubs require the guests to wear formal in their halls, which means men should wear suits and women tasteful dresses and never casual attire like t-shirts or denim shorts. 

As for the wedding time and season application, avoid wearing outfits that would make you uncomfortable. For example, evening weddings during fall or winter will be chilly, so avoid sleeveless and short clothing; on the contrary, guests shouldn’t wear dark and thick outfits on a summer wedding to prevent overheating. 


  • Clothing colors not reserved for wedding guests

After deciding what to wear to a wedding, take note if you’re wearing the colors that guests wear to a wedding. This means the colors are included in the wedding color scheme, but you’re not wearing the same shades and tones as the wedding party or parents of the bride and groom. 

If needed, ask the maid of honor or best man about the color they’ll wear to avoid it. Of course, you shouldn’t stand out as a unique color among the guests, but it’s also of poor taste if you match the bridal party. 

Finally, guests should never wear white to a wedding, unless the bride will wear another color or the wedding is non-traditional. It’s considered tacky, and people might assume you’re trying to upstage the bride who traditionally wears white.


What Guests Should Not Wear To A Wedding?

Note that weddings differ in their themes and rules. But if you need to ask for permission from the couple, it might be a sign to wear another outfit.


Super casual attire

  • Graphic t-shirts
  • Ripped jeans (i.e., some casual weddings allow plain dark blue or black jeans)
  • Denim shorts (i.e., some casual beach weddings might be more lenient with shorts)
  • Cargo
  • Yoga pants
  • Running shorts
  • Loungewear


Revealing clothes

  • Low neckline blouses and dresses
  • Deep backless blouses and dresses
  • Sleeveless tops in some religious weddings
  • Short skirts and dresses in some religious weddings
  • See-through, high-slit, and other sexy details on dresses, tops, and bottoms
  • Fitted bodysuits

If you need to cover your chest and arms for a conservative wedding, here is what to wear over a sleeveless dress to a wedding


Eye-catching outfits

  • Sparkly dresses
  • Chunky and oversized accessories
  • Neon and bright colors
  • Costume-like attire
  • Potentially disrespectful colors to the culture (e.g., black or red)


Something bridal


What Colors Are You Not Supposed To Wear To A Wedding?

Some of these colors may suit the wedding you’re attending, especially with out-of-the-box and modern weddings. Regardless, check the wedding theme, venue, and consider the culture and beliefs of the couple. 

  • Black
  • Red
  • Neon colors
  • White
  • Same color as the bridal party
  • Same color as the bride and groom’s parents


What Is Appropriate To Wear To A Wedding As A Guest?

  • Something modest and lowkey
  • Outfit that follows the wedding dress code and theme
  • Clothes that would be comfortable relative to the wedding time, venue, and season
  • Comfortable footwear and accessories
  • Plain colors or subtle patterns



And that’s it! We just learned what not to wear to a wedding as a guest, which are outfits that don’t follow the dress code, won’t be comfortable for the venue, time, or season of the wedding, or in a color that is inappropriate for the type of wedding. 

Do not hesitate to ask someone close to the couple when in doubt. The wedding website might also answer all dress code-related questions for the wedding. 

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