Weddings 101: What To Wear To Every Kind Of Celebration

Don't stress. Whether you're attending seaside nuptials or a citified ceremony, check out all our chic and appropriate outfit ideas.
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  • Ah, weddings. These joyful celebrations are as much a testament to love and commitment as they are to how universally confusing dress codes can be! Even if you didn’t make the bridal party cut--which presents a slew of sartorial challenges on its own--figuring out what to wear is guaranteed to be a conundrum. We get so many questions about what’s appropriate, but on-trend and flattering, without being too in-your-face, we figured it was time to make our own go-to guide. Depending on where the nuptials take place, from a civilized city affair to a beachside bash, we’ve put together a what-to-wear primer for any locale. Click through our slideshow for the pieces that you’ll love, honor, and cherish even long after summer wedding season is over.

  • A backyard wedding might hint at a more relaxed vibe, but you don’t want to be the most underdressed guest! Keep it safe in Rachel Comey’s Aten Dress ($633) in Ether, which features a flattering silhouette and a muted print.

  • Feel free to get a little playful when it comes to your jewelry. One easy idea? An armful of gold bracelets, like Jules Smith’s Surf Bangles ($105).

  • Add a splash of color with Serpui Marie’s Woven Rectangle Clutch ($281). It’s the right size for holding all the essentials: cell phone, lipstick, and--if necessary--Kleenex!

  • Polish off your ensemble with Sam Edelman’s Sutton Wedge Sandals ($125). You’ll be able to mingle with ease in these on-trend yet comfortable shoes.

  • Seaside nuptials call for a carefully considered outfit, since you have the elements--sun, sand, and surf--to take into account. Choose a brightly colored, lightweight frock, like Tibi’s Silk Color Block Long Dress ($675), which will move with the ocean breeze.

  • A chic pair of shades is essential--unless you want to duck under a palm tree for shade all day. Oliver Peoples’ Kiley Sunglasses ($310) are a classic, fail-safe choice.

  • The rest of your look should be pared-down for a beach affair, but you can turn up the glamour with an embellished purse, like Sondra Roberts Beaded and Raffia Clutch ($69).

  • You won’t mind a little sand in your shoes if you’re wearing K Jacques’ St Tropez Epicure Multi-Strap Leather Sandals ($260). These strappy flat sandals are easy to walk in, as well as slip on and off.

  • For a country club soiree, err on the side of conservative. Choose a feminine dress with a demure silhouette; we like the romantic details on Vivienne Westwood Red Label’s Dress ($1020, 323.951.0021).

  • Add one pretty bangle, such as Jennifer Meyer for J.Crew’s Edith Jeweled Cuff ($178), for a little extra flair.

  • Keep your clutch simple. Try a structured version in a pretty pastel hue, like Vince Camuto’s Clara Shoulder Bag ($198) in Lichen Marcos.

  • A pair of wedges is great, especially if the ceremony’s taking place on the lawn. Try Valentino’s Leather-Trimmed Chantilly Lace Espadrilles ($495) to give you height and avoid sinking into the grass!

  • Since weddings in the city are often trendy cocktail affairs, go for something with a decidedly cosmopolitan vibe. You can’t go wrong wearing Zara’s sleek Combination Frilled Dress ($100).

  • A striking accessory really pops against a black and white palette. We suggest Alexis Bittar’s Drop Clip Earrings ($295), since these clip-on baubles look decadent but easy on the ears as the evening goes on.

  • Stick to the minimalistic theme with Reece Hudson’s Bondage Minaudière ($1295). This edgy carrier comes with an attached cuff bracelet--a conversation starter if your dinner table’s full of strangers.

  • Complete your outfit with Christian Louboutin’s peep-toe Rampoldi Heels ($895). The ankle strap offers extra support while you’re taking over the dance floor at the reception.

  • If your friend’s having a wedding at a vineyard, you’re in luck (and not only because you’ll be surrounded by lots of fine wine). Less formal than a city wedding, but certainly dressier than a beach ceremony, countryside nuptials beg for attire that’s in-between and comfortable. We suggest Rebecca Minkoff’s versatile, silky Jet Dress ($368) in Mint.

  • BCBGMaxazria’s Floral Chain Headband ($68) will give your look just the right touch of glitz, ensuring you stand out without overshadowing the bride.

  • We love the vintage flavor of Reiss’ Luna Embellished Flower Clasp Clutch ($210) in Rose Gold. Bonus: its chain shoulder strap means hands-free sipping during cocktail hour.

  • A rustic setting isn’t the place for towering stilettos, which is why Ann Taylor’s Gemma Exotic Leather Peeptoe Slingbacks ($128) are a fine choice. They’ll lend texture to your look while remaining appropriately understated.

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