Unlike most other events we frequent like dinners and cocktail parties, there's a host of unspoken rules that govern what to wear to a wedding. Between the location, season, time of day, and written dress code on the invitation, there are a number of factors that play into how you should get dressed. There’s the pressure to look amazing (hello, photo booth) while simultaneously navigating the ever-changing rules of outfit etiquette. With so many do's and don'ts floating around, we thought it's finally time to nail down what to wear (and not to wear) to a wedding once and for all.
Rather than attempt the opinion-laden terrain ourselves, we figured we’d call in an expert to lay down some ground rules. This is where bridal expert Melissa Coker comes in. We chatted with her about all things wedding guest attire and ultimately came back with four guidelines you should follow no matter what type of wedding you're attending. Coker's made a definitive list of what you should never wear to a wedding, so we strongly advise you take these rules to heart. Don't sweat it, though, we went ahead and shopped for the dresses, shoes, and bags that are expert and editor-approved.
Keep reading to discover what not to wear to a wedding and then shop what you should wear below.
Don't wear… white
“This is not P. Diddy’s annual White Party. It’s your friend/family member/frenemy’s wedding, and you have seven million other colors chilling in your closet anyway. So just be cool and choose something else.” — Melissa Coker
Don't wear: Denim
“I get it. Your friend’s super cool; her wedding’s on the beach/in a barn/in Canada. But c’mon—it’s not cute and casual. It’s just bad manners.” — Melissa Coker
Don't wear… something that will upstage the bride
“If it looks like something Jennifer Lopez would wear on tour, it’s probably out of bounds for your colleague’s wedding.” — Melissa Coker
Don't wear… black
“Some people are like, Black = sad death—you’re a jerk, while other people are like, Stop being so old-fashioned—black is cool and for modern chic types. It’s hard to say who is right, and it probably depends on the type of wedding you’re going to and what the groom and bride are all about.” — Melissa Coker
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.