Springtime ushers in the wedding season and with it the need for a special outfit or two to wear to the big events. The guidelines for the perfect ensemble are that it be modest, yet not dowdy; that it makes a statement, but does not overshadow the bride; and that it keeps with the style of the wedding, yet maintains a certain sense of timelessness. In addition, a woman never wears white to a wedding as it would compete with the bride, nor does she wear black during the day. Regardless of where the wedding is held, its formality is foretold by the invitation itself. In a world where there are formal beach weddings and informal church weddings, the best rule to follow, when in doubt, is a dress or suit for day weddings and a black dress for evening weddings.
One of the first things to remember about a wedding in a church or a synagogue is the holiness of the venue and the necessity to treat it as such. Some denominations prohibit the wearing of pants or sleeveless dresses by women, while others require women to have head coverings. Respecting the decision of the bride and groom to chose a religious ceremony in which to exchange their vows dictates your clothing choices. If the wedding is in a church belonging to a denomination with which you are not familiar, inquire about any clothing restrictions. Even if the church does not have a “dress code”, the best rule of thumb is to dress modestly — nothing too low in the front or in the back and not too short.
A dress or a suit is perfect for either an informal or formal daytime wedding. If the wedding is formal, simply add a hat and a pair of gloves to the ensemble to create a more formal look. (Opera gloves are only worn with sleeveless or strapless dresses.)
A RELIGIOUS WEDDING — AFTER SIX
Weddings held after six are formal affairs and require cocktail dresses. Wraps are totally acceptable for sleeveless dresses and gowns as the guidelines for modesty still prevail. If the wedding states that it is black-tie, long dresses or dressy cocktail dresses are the styles of choice. Beading is acceptable. Occasionally, a very formal wedding will be billed as a white-tie event; in that case the dress code is a long gown complete with diamonds and furs; think red-carpet worthy.
Outdoor weddings require sunglasses to shield eyes from the sun, a shawl or long scarf in the event of a cool breeze or the coolness of the night after the sun sets, and either a hat or a parasol to protect the face from the sun.
A BEACH WEDDING
A beach wedding may sound like an informal affair,but it is not a shorts and halter top event. Soft colors, tropical prints, or a tie dye look works well for beach weddings. Footwear should be flat, although plastic flip-flops are never acceptable; pretty leather sandals work nicely. Maxi dresses are perfect for this venue as they are comfortable and can be accessorized to fit the tone of the wedding. Cotton dresses tend to be more informal while satin dresses are more formal.
A GARDEN WEDDING
Garden weddings are generally dressy affairs; floral designs and pastels work well with the surroundings and theme of the venue. Shoes should be flat or low heeled for easier walking on the grass or on garden pathways. Dress length follows the guidelines based on the formality of the wedding.