Special Event Dressing: What to Wear to Weddings and Other Occasions

by Apr 1, 2023personal stylist0 comments

Hi! If you’ve been following me on social media this week, we’ve talked all about Special Event dressing. Invites are coming in for weddings, graduations, big birthday celebrations, fundraisers, and parties just because!

Some invitations can be a little quirky and cute, leaving you to ask, “what am I supposed to wear?” “What does beach chic mean, do I have to wear a gown for a black-tie wedding, what do I wear to a garden wedding, there are so many events for the wedding weekend, what am I wearing?”

I’m not one for conforming to all the said rules made eons ago, so I’m sharing my views and examples of what I believe (as a professional stylist) to be appropriate, modern, and maybe just more in line with your true personal style. And as an added bonus, special event dressing pieces that you would want to wear again!

Formal/Black Tie

formal black tie dresses

Outdated rule: you must wear a gown.

My rule: a long or midi dress is absolutely appropriate.

Consider the wedding venue location and the season, the family giving the event, and the role if any you may play in the festivities of course. Otherwise, wear what you love and feel great in. Make sure the fabric is dressy; think silk, satin, embellishments, statement accessories possibly to create even more drama if you are going with a midi dress. This is not the event for long cotton, linen dresses, or summery wedge heels.



Semi Formal

semi formal womens dresses

Same as above and even more appropriate for midi or knee length dresses. You could even wear a fabulous above the knee dress if it’s dressy, and not too short. This is also the perfect time to try separates like a tulle or sequin skirt and dressy top. This is a very modern approach to dressing for this event and I love that it will allow you to wear these pieces again with other things in your closet.



Beach Chic

beach wedding guest dresses

Think prints, colors, lightweight fabrics, maxi, midi or short all work here. Nothing too formal, wear fabrics that breathe. Consider the probability of wind especially if wearing a short dress! Shoes are extremely important to consider when going to an outdoor event on sand or grass.

Are you attending a beach wedding? Read my blog on beach wedding attire here!



Vineyard or Garden Wedding

Garden Wedding Dress

The dress code is similar to beach chic wedding, but with possibly different temps. Think pretty prints and colors, long and flowy fabrics but not formal, and midis or minis work here as well. You could even wear a beautiful wide leg jumpsuit or wide leg satin colorful suit if you want to go a bit more modern. All these outfits can easily be worn again, so shop wisely.

Stylist Tip: Given that these weddings are usually outdoors going from day to evening please make sure you have the right coat/wrap that complements your dress. This cannot be an afterthought!



Graduations and Special Ceremonies

graduation ceremony dresses

Whether you are the parents or special guests, dressing for this occasion will be less formal.

*If the event is religious, you must consider the venue and traditions.

For springtime events I love the idea of a pretty midi dress in solid soft colors or prints. A pastel lightweight suit would be perfect for this occasion as well.

If the occasion is more formal in the fall/winter, consider darker hued midis or jumpsuits are a favorite of mine for this time of year and have fun with statement accessories.

Stylist Tip: If you aren’t sure of appropriateness with these events, dressing a bit more modest and classic is best the way to go. And of course, always consider the season, venue, and temperature.



Stylist Tips for Special Event Dressing:

1. Be Prepared

Give yourself at least 4 weeks before the event to prepare. Most of us don’t love shopping for events, so the more time you give yourself the less stress you will have and the happier you will be leading up to the big day.

2. Do Your Research

Do some research before hitting the stores or the keyboard. What would you like to wear, what styles look best on you, what colors do you like, what is your budget and consider everything you don’t like, and then filter your searches!

3. Order Multiple Dresses & Sizes

If you are shopping online, order multiple dresses in multiple sizes. You can alter almost anything if you are between sizes.

4. Visit Stores with Variety

If shopping in person, visit boutiques or stores that offer a variety. You will almost always make a rash decision if you only have 2-3 options.

5. Consider the Temperature

Temperature is very important to consider with all outdoor events. Fabrics that breathe if it’s hot, or dresses with long sleeves or a sleeveless that pairs perfectly with a little jacket or wrap if it’s chilly.

6. Shoes are Important!

Shoes may want to be considered first before you buy that dress for the beach wedding. What are you wearing on your feet?

My suggestion for a beach wedding will always be a long or short flowy print or colorful dress with a metallic flat sandal. Midi dresses can look “frumpy” with a flat especially if you aren’t very tall, so try a great wedge.

You will be in your shoes for a very long time and hopefully dancing the night away. Do not choose the highest, most uncomfortable shoe just because it looks fabulous. Go as high as you comfortably can and possibly look for a platform if it works with the dress.

If you choose a long dress your shoe becomes a little less important, so you can possibly go a bit lower in the heel if you need to. Long dresses though pair perfectly with a platform or wedge underneath so consider these styles as they are by far the most comfortable!

If for some reason you must wear flats (foot injury, ongoing feet issues) then absolutely wear a long dress with a beautiful satin or embellished flat.

If you have upcoming events and don’t know where to begin or have no time to devote to finding the perfect outfit, I’d love to help with your event dressing. I offer digital shopping boards giving you several options to choose from, styling consultations to help you decide on your options, and personal shopping services to pick that perfect one! Schedule your complimentary consult now.

KR Personal Style Pinterest
what to wear to special events
formal wedding guest
beach wedding attire
vineyard garden wedding guest dress
what to wear semi formal
special event dressing tips

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