What to wear to a wedding

You could wear the dress on the left to a beach wedding and the dress on the right to a black-tie wedding. Photo illustration by Grace Everett | Photographer

By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer

Being a plus-one at a wedding can be exciting, but picking out what to wear can pose a difficult challenge. Whether the wedding has a dress code or not, here are some tips to find the appropriate attire for your newlywed friends.

Black Tie:

Black tie is one of the fanciest dress codes. This insinuates long, formal dresses, but not a prom style. Depending on the season or time of the event, be aware of what color to wear. If it is a day, spring or summer wedding, wear bright colors. If it is an evening, fall or winter wedding opt for darker and muted colors. I think this dress code is the best for the bride to stand out and it is a fun way for the guest to get dressed up for one night.

Beach Wedding:

Beach weddings are going to get messy and hot. With the sand and wind, this dress needs to be secure and not go past the ankles. Beach weddings usually call for more casual dress due to the elements. A sundress or romper would suit this location, but if you don’t like dresses, khaki pants and a button-up will look great as well. If you’re confused about what colors to wear, I would say any blues, greens and browns will work, but absolutely no white since this is what the bride will be wearing. For the shoes, a sandal would be best, but make sure they aren’t flip-flops.


Think of cocktail dresses as a semi-formal look. The dress or pantsuit needs to be nice, but can be shorter or have a unique design. Cocktail outfits are easier to find and can be worn multiple times, unlike the formal dress code. If you saw the cutout dress Kendall Jenner wore to her friend’s wedding, you aren’t going for that. Even though the whole debate was settled between the Jenner and the bride, you don’t want to have to bother the bride on what to wear — she has enough on her plate. The whole point of the dress code is to focus on the couple and not the guests, so be selfless and save the extravagant looks for another setting.

Monochromatic/color coordinated:

Recently, color-coded weddings have been more frequent on social media. The bride, groom and the photographer have decided that a monochromatic wedding looks amazing in photos. Honestly, I love the monochromatic wedding guest dress code. It’s easier for the guest and looks great on camera. If you happen to go to one of these weddings, don’t overthink it. If the couple wants a certain color, purchase that color. What makes this dress code unique is that even though the guests have to wear the same color, the fabric and materials can be completely different. This gives the wedding variety and makes it fun for the guests to stand out in their own way but also highlight the couple.

Common Misconceptions:

Weddings are a day to be a selfless and supportive friend — you should already be doing that, especially on your friend’s wedding day. If you have a question about what to wear, don’t ask the bride, ask friends who are going first or go to the internet. If you are thinking of wearing an outfit with a white base, don’t wear it. Steer clear of any shade of white. Attending multiple weddings in a year is common if you’re a young adult, so it’s OK to re-wear, thrift or find a dress on sale.

Weddings are supposed to be fun days filled with happiness. Don’t make the day complicated by what you are going to wear. If you think the outfit might not be right, go for a different look.