What to wear to an afternoon wedding

flyer for post about afternoon wedding attire etiquette

Afternoon wedding dress-code

The dress-code of an afternoon wedding is semi-formal which calls for cocktail dresses, LBDs or party dresses.

Fit-and-flare, sheath, high-low hem dresses or retro inspired (read 50s) are great choices for the cut. If you like to dance, go for a dress with a pleated or flare to circle skirt. Be sure to wear bikers in a matching color underneath to not show too much leg when you twirl. If there is a religious ceremony involved, don’t go strapless or spaghetti straps. If you absolutely want that dress, have a little cover-up like a jacket in the same fabric as your dress or a fancy coat.

Try to fit in the color palette of the party

No matter which style of dress you will choose, be aware of the colors of the wedding party. Take into consideration that the photos of the wedding are incredibly valuable memories for the couple. You don’t want to choose a color that clashes with those chosen by them for their big day. If you have no glue what these colors are and have no chance to find out, your best bet is to take a look at the goto color palettes for the year.

Watch the fabric

What else should you take into mind? Taffeta, tulle, chiffon, lace, jacquard or silk are great fabrics. Steer away from anything to daytime like cotton, jersey, or denim.

style blogger in black wedding guest attire
LOTD: Victoria Victoria Beckham military style LBD dress, collier de chien belt, and multi-metal kitten heel pumps (all own)

Avoid the color of the bridal party

Color-wise everything from pastel to gemstone bright colors goes. In the US, find out the color of the bridal party, so you do not choose the same color. Always avoid white unless you are the bride. In many European countries, wearing a LBD to a wedding would not be a good choice. In the US it is ok, when the vibe clearly states party. Medium sized (size of your hand) floral print cocktail dresses work well too with metallic pumps or pumps in a color of the print or dress. When you are on a budget, but need a new dress browse consignment and/or stores long time ahead of the date or look for budget-friendly afternoon wedding guest attire online.

Wear wedge heels at an outdoor wedding

If the party is outside, go for elegant wedge heels that match the vibe of your dress. They help you walk on the lawn and not to stick in the lawn. You want to wear the new shoes still after the wedding party is over. Peep toe pumps are a great option with short dresses – read above-the-knee. If the fabric of the dress is matte go for patent leather pumps in the same color of black. Nude patent leather is a great option for gemstone colored dresses. Blush or metallic pumps work nicely with pastel shade dresses. In the US, a black pants suit with chiffon top or a tuxedo are great choices too.

Don’t match the color of the clutch and shoes

Choose a bag in a different color than your shoes, unless you are in your twenties. On us 40+, matching bag and shoes looks so Seventies and screams Old Lady. A metallic clutch with patent leather heels or a patent leather clutch with metallic heels work. A sequin clutch with matte open-toe pumps all in neighbored colors of the color wheel or in the same color family are great combinations.

For a modern look, don't match the colors of your clutch and shoes. #advancedstyle Click To Tweet

Dim down the glam

Go for just one statement jewelry piece like a large cocktail ring, large dangling earrings or a statement necklace.

Be aware about the no-nos

Avoid the following four most often made style faux pas:

  1. Religious jewelry of your own faith when there will be a service of another faith.
  2. Skimpy or provocative clothes including corsages and belly-free attire except for saris.
  3. Jeans and T-shirts, baseball caps, large view-blocking hats.
  4. Casual footwear or bags to your otherwise semi-formal outfit.
  5. Clashing colors with the colors of the party

Outfit inspirations that work

style blogger Nicole in a black lace dress for a semi-formal wedding
High-low hem lace cocktail dress with Neo Tango sandals and vintage brooch tail decoration (all own)
High Latitude Style blogger presenting a vintage inspired flapper attire for a summer marriage ceremony
High-low hem floral print dress with beading and sequins and build-in slip to avoid see-thru styled with statement necklace and earrings, and Dalmatian Neo Tango print heels. Pair it with metallic flat sandals and a lavender leather or fabric clutch for a garden outdoor ceremony
Style blogger in nude and black mother-of-the-bride dress
Fishnet tight, Very Fine Dancesport Shoes, jewelry (all own), mother-of-the-bride dress c/o JJ House and clutch c/o Bellorita
Nicole of High Latitude Style donning a salmon color cat dress as a guest at a nuptial
Victoria Victoria Beckham cat pleated drop-waist dress with pumps, Paloma Picasso sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle and scarf (all own)
#advancedstyle midlife woman in fit-and-flare cocktail dress with cross body evening bag
Hinge leather jacket, Ivanka Trump ankle strap sandals, lace inspired cuff (all own), fit-and-flare chiffon and lace cocktail dress c/o JJ House, styled with black fish crossbody c/o Bellorita
over 50 years old nuptial ceremony guest with silk floral coat to stay warm in the late afternoon
Banana Republic golden floral print silk coat for cover up when going to an afternoon wedding. A tote permits carrying an extra pair of shoes for comfort. Make sure this pair is also matching the dress and don’t break the outfit

You can find inspirations for a beach wedding, a civil wedding, and a formal wedding at the links.

LOTD: Military inspired work outfit

I am wearing a military inspired black dress for work.

little black dress with back zipper for an afternoon nuptial party
Back view of Victoria Victoria Beckham military style dress with collier de chien belt, and multi-metal kitten heel pumps (all own)
LBD for an afternoon wedding
Front view of Victoria Victoria Beckham military style dress with collier de chien belt, and multi-metal kitten heel pumps (all own)

Will you attend a wedding this summer? Have you already picked the dress?

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Photos: G. Kramm

© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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