That's 32 if you count my own! While the above number might sound like an exaggeration, the volume of wedding hashtags throughout my Instagram account and money not in my bank account both serve as proof that this is undoubtedly true.
So, what do I have to show for my amateur career as a wedding attendee? Well, aside from what I’ve already mentioned in terms of photos and funds spent on dresses, blowouts, accessories, and occasionally travel, I can also say I’ve enjoyed countless good memories and, more important for you, picked up some style tricks along the way. To read about the top five lessons I’ve learned as a wedding guest (and do some shopping while you’re at it), simply continue on below.
1. Only Ever Wear Comfortable Shoes—Ever
As you’ll see, this is rule number one because it’s arguably the most important on this list. I take shoe comfort very seriously for multiple reasons. First, if your shoes are uncomfortable to walk or dance in, you’re guaranteed to have less fun, and, well, that stinks. Second, limping around in a beautiful dress just isn’t the best look, and while some entertain the option of taking their shoes off, it’s a safer bet to minimize the risk of getting your bare foot stepped on and injured, given all the guests in heels and clunky dress shoes.
2. Splurge on Black Dresses
Of all the dresses I’ve purchased for parties (and there are oh so many of them), the ones I’ve gotten the most use out of have always been the black ones. Something about a black dress just makes you feel like you can re-wear it more times than others, especially if it’s a simpler style that allows you to add and interchange accessories. While this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy colored or printed dresses, I like to spend less on those, so I usually find them on sale or from less expensive brands.
3. Alterations Are Important
For three reasons. First, I’ve found that if you’re looking to save on dresses, a good way to do so is to simply repurpose an older one (can be yours or a vintage buy) through tailoring it. My newest hobby is sifting through my mom’s closet and taking hers, and it’s paid off. You can make something that was long a midi, add or remove straps, cinch the waist, and so much more. Second, if you find an amazing dress on sale but it’s too big or a little small, sometimes alterations can be the difference between getting to keep it and having to find something new.
Last thing: Even if you’ve bought a brand-new dress in your size, odds are there’s something that doesn’t fit entirely perfectly. Whether it’s the length of the hem or the tightness of the straps, tailoring will help you not just look better but feel more comfortable. Consider this next time you’re stuck wearing a bridesmaid dress you can’t stand—how can it be made better?
4. Know Your Dress Codes
Simply put, showing up in the wrong dress code sucks. Whether that means showing up overdressed, underdressed, or without having observed some type of theme, with all that goes into a wedding, let fitting in be one less thing to worry about. Luckily, we have tips for all the major dress codes here, here, and here, and if you’re ever unsure about something specific, don’t hesitate to reach out to the wedding planner or close friends of the bride and/or groom for clarity—you won’t regret it.
Also available in more sizes.
5. Silver Accessories Tend to Go With Everything
If you’re looking to get the most use out of the fewest party-ready accessories, my suggestion is to opt for silver. Not only does it look good with black and any other color, but as an elevated neutral of sorts, it also blends seamlessly with any print or pattern and adds a polished feel to whatever you’re wearing. So, whether you’re shopping for something new or are simply unsure of what to match with what, there’s a good chance silver will do the trick.