It’s almost the wedding season … what should you wear?

With the start of the wedding season just a few weeks away, I thought this was a good time to give some advice and tips to help you put together some great outfits for these joyous celebrations. As is always the case with fashion, age is a factor when deciding what to wear … but, you might be surprised at how far that consideration is on the list.

FIRST CONSIDERATION: Dress code or without dress code.

There are six dress codes that a couple could choose to have for their wedding guests. To understand each of these, I am using information found in the dawn website invitations.

Dress codes: what to wear

1. Informal – casual clothing adapted to the season

2. Cocktail Suit / Semi-formal / Elegant Casual – Cocktail Dress

3. Themed clothing: determined by the couple (See # 5 Vintage below)

4. Optional formal wear / black tie – floor length dress or evening pantsuit

5. Black Tie – formal dress

6. White tie – long ballroom dress

If there is a dress code that will narrow your options, but there is still room for a lot of imagination! If there is no dress code, you can proceed to the next consideration.

SECOND CONSIDERATION: Wedding theme or style

There are many themes / styles, but I will mention the eight most common. Understanding the theme / style can help you decide what to wear if the invitation doesn’t have a dress code.

Theme / Style (ranked from most formal to most informal) – Suggestions of what to wear

1. Classic or traditional: cocktail dress up to full length dress

2. Contemporary or elegant: cocktail dress or wide leg jumpsuit

3. Romantic or backyard / vineyard: cocktail dress or wide leg jumpsuit

4. Inspired by industry: any of the above

5. Vintage – Based on the time the couple chooses

6. Rustic or country: summer dresses, long casual dresses or jeans and a lace bodice

7. Beach – Summer Dresses, Full Length Casual Dresses, Sarong Swimsuit

Your possibilities are endless – use these tips to get your creative juices flowing.


A general rule of thumb is that the dress becomes a little more formal as the day progresses into the night.

Now you can narrow it down even more and start really thinking about the details of the garments and start putting together ideas for accessories.

FOURTH CONSIDERATION: Adjustment due to bad weather

Whichever outfit you choose to wear, make sure you have a secondary option ready if the weather gets bad, or if you have a shot or a shawl … even a fancy umbrella to help you weather the weather!

FIFTH CONSIDERATION: What are the colors of the wedding?

If you know the colors the couple has chosen for their wedding, you can choose to wear something that matches well with those. In general, you don’t want to exactly match the colors if you’re not part of the wedding party. However, a few shades lighter or darker than one of the colors or a simple pattern that has one or more of the colors are good options.

SIXTH CONSIDERATION: In what do you look better?

This is a bit tricky, because while you want to look your best, you should never outshine the bride or the bridesmaids. This is the bride’s day to shine and her bridesmaids with her, so consider what looks best on you and then tweak it a bit. That could mean, instead of wearing a dress that is tight and very short with high heels, choose a fit just above the knee length dress and any heel OR a slightly looser dress that is short with a killer high heels . Another example would be, instead of wearing a low neckline and shoulder jumpsuit, you could use a slightly higher neckline with the low back cut. The modifications are endless …

DO NOT skip this consideration. It will prevent you from being the one who is all gossiping behind your back at the wedding and for weeks afterward.


This is not a good thing for my younger readers and a bad thing for the older ones. Again, it’s about modifications. You want to look elegant while being age appropriate. Those of you who are younger have more options, although I would advise EVERYONE, regardless of age, to study closely in a three-way mirror by standing, sitting, walking, and bowing. The word modest means to show grace to the observer and that should be your goal when attending a wedding. You don’t want to be a distraction to any other guests or anyone at the wedding party. Those of us who are older need to spend even more time thinking and studying how we look in an outfit … no matter how impressive it is on the hanger or the classic.

A good rule of thumb for those of us old enough to be a parent:

Combine classic pieces with one or two fashion pieces

EIGHTH CONSIDERATION: your accessories

Accessories are what make garments / apparel become sets. Never underestimate the power of accessories. Here are some things to help you make good decisions.

1. Weddings are not the best place to wear oversized jewelry or brightly colored jewelry.

to. Choose moderately sized earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

yes. Pieces that are mainly metal with bits of color and shine are best

2. Make your jewelry or your shoes / wallet / belts / outerwear the main focus … not all of the above.

3. Choose shoes that can be comfortable for hours on your feet and dancing OR bring another comfortable dance partner to complement your outfit and be in good shape.

My husband and I have two weddings to attend this summer. One is a rustic wedding and the other is traditional, so I can choose two very different sets in different colors with different accessories … some of which I already have in my closet and some I will have to buy. I’m already gathering ideas for what I’ll use those two days based on everything I’ve written here.

So, I’ll leave you now with your own creative juices. ENJOY!

Carin Hansen has been helping women of all ages to see themselves better through articles, blogs, books, seminars, and workshops for much of their lives. Her natural talent for combining color, clothing styles, and body types allows her to create a personal fashion firm for each client. Carin is also an actress, model, and small business owner who is a passionate advocate for those who travel through cancer. As a cancer survivor for almost 25 years, Carin is well aware that every day on earth is a gift from God, not to be wasted. In Carin’s book, “A Woman’s Cancer Journey Primer,” she shares her cancer story along with tips on how to handle many of the health and beauty challenges women face on their cancer journeys. Visit Carin’s website to reserve it for a training session or to speak. Also visit her blog at <> for spiritual information on life’s challenges.


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