Modest Wedding Dress Code Etiquette | 9 Do’s & Don’ts for Guests

wedding dress code etiquette

If you’re visiting a friends’ wedding from any part of the world, a modest wedding dress code etiquette is essential to stand out from the rest of the international guests. Regardless of image being everything you must find a proper swanky outfit. So, where do you start?

Generally speaking you should wear classic, formal and dignified attire. And whether you’ve been invited to a destination wedding at the Corinthia Hotel in London, the Forde Abbey in Dorset or a rural villa in Ibiza, you need to get into a fashionable mood. In other words, “What to wear for a wedding day is amongst the most high-stakes fashion decisions of everyone’s life”. Source: British Vogue

But what does your wedding invitation state, what do you need to wear? To guide you along, I’ve put together a useful list of Do’s & Don’ts attire worn for an indoor or outdoor marriage ceremony abroad. With these 9 golden rules and hints you’ll look stylish, classy and crack the modest wedding etiquette code!

Wedding dress code etiquette

wedding dress code mother, sister and bridesmaid dressed in gown and white shawls holding orange and cream coloured boekets

image: Krista Photography

main photo: alwyn_ladell

1•Pristine wedding dress

DO: Firstly, your bridal gown also known as a wedding dress is the most important item of your day. It comes in many styles, shapes and sizes. And, depending on whether you choose a celebrant-led, church or civil ceremony, it’s custom to wear a sleek white, off-white or creme coloured outfit.

DON’T: However, it’s not customary to risk it all and wear a garish red, black or dark grey dress. Or a comfortable outfit that looks cute and elegant. It is not commonplace to feel uncomfortable either. In addition, a refashioned, vintage or second hand item can cause heads to turn, too.

 wedding dress code etiquette bride in white bridal gown with fur shawl holding bouquetimage Ryan Polei

2• The making of Cinderellas wedding gown

DO: Whatever the forecast for your wedding you can dress-up or dress-down. As the bride-to-be you want to feel like a princess during your nuptials. Behind the seams with Paul Chi at Vanity Fair or TLC gives you a first impression of making your gown look stunningly beautiful.

DON’T: Although a wedding dress is usually full length you can opt for a knee high version. And If you don’t desire an impeccable finish, superior construction and structure you can avoid the bog standard designer dress all together.

 wedding dress code etiquette bridal party dressed in warm nude and navy blue coloursimage parekhcards N

3• Dressy pantsuit for the bride-to-be

DO: By wearing layered clothing, multiple thin layers you’ll keep cool. Better still, if the temperature drops you can stay warm, too. Moreover, a dressy pantsuit with a jacket enhances your personality, figure and taste.

DON’T: Additionally, don’t dress down your good looks. Or avoid looking absolutely glamorous like a Hollywood star. Say “YES” to the shimmering wedding dress. Otherwise, try something more functional like a colourful, off the peg costume designed jumpsuit. Shopping tip: www.bridalguide.com

wedding dress etiquette bridesmaids pretty in pink dressesimage Matt O’Hara

4• Impeccable suit and chinos for the groom-to-be

DO: In fact, do not forget the groom’s suit. Let him wear a badge of honor, an ombre palette (shaded or graduated in tone), will defiantly make him stand out from the rest. A smartly tailored suit consisting of suave trousers (pants, chinos), breast coat, jacket and dress shoes (loafers) are appropriate.

DON’T: Although, your groom’s slick wedding outfit transforms his appearance. The main colour is black for a suit. Nevertheless, darker hues such as grey, navy blue and complimentary wine cololurs can be worn. Tailor-made suits can be found at https://theblacktux.com/tuxedo-suit-rental

wedding dress code bride in white bridesmaids in burgandy dresses holding bouquets5• White tie event

DO: The white tie is the most sophisticated, formal, and well-known wedding outfit. This special occasion attire is suited for red carpet wedding events, royal gatherings, glitz & glam weddings.

DON’T: So, if you are hosting or going to a prestigious wedding, you can opt for an elegant garment. Clothing and shoes that are different and off-the-cuff really set you apart from others. Go to www.debretts.com/weddings/bridal-and-dress-codes-guests.

6• Formal wedding dress code

DO: Additionally, enhance the evening celebrations with the right formal wedding dress code. Buy a bridal clutch bag or small handbag. And wear special accessories such as a sparkling earrings, pearl necklace or bracelets.

DON’T: Basically, you don’t have to accessorize your outfit, mix and match many rich colours to design the perfect look. Less is more! So, get more advice about it at www.theknot.com//wedding-guest-attire-cheat-sheet.

wedding dress code white tuxedo for chic weddingimage www.flickr.com/photos/rocketboom

7• Black tie event at a 5 star luxury hotel

DO: Referred to as “black tie”, the smoking jacket with shirt is a popular choice of wear for you the  groom. As well as the semi-formal tuxedo it adds a touch of class to your wedding.

DON’T: Wear the black tie before 6 p.m., you could both look and feel awkward about it. In fact, you can adorn an alternative morning or Nehru suit with shirt that excludes a dicky bow.

wedding dress code grooms men wearing ties with a black tailored suit

8• Elegant and sophisticated dress code for him

DO: Black tie is a semi-formal Western dress code for evening events, originating in British and American conventions for attire in the 19th century. Source: wikipedia

DON’T: Another thing a formal festivity does not require that the groom wears a black tie. However,  for your, soon to be husband a dashingly smart lounge suit & shirt (with or without a bow tie) is perfect. Shopping tip: www.whowhatwear.com.

wedding dress code etiquette bride in traditional white dress and grooms wearing dark grey suits

St Ambrose Church, West Cliff Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset

9• Lingerie

DO: Finally, cracking the wedding dress code etiquette is easy, but remember the right lingerie will enhance your figure. Future brides like you can get a thrill out of shopping for nightwear and swimwear for the romantic honeymoon.

DON’T: To conclude, don’t forget to wear proper sexy garments. Beautiful lingerie is a girls best friend during the honeymoon period. And luxury and romance go hand in hand. So, wear something stunningly hot under your wedding outfit. Shopping tip: www.theknot.com/what-to-wear-to-a-wedding and www.bouxavenue.com.

 wedding dress code etiquette bride dressed in white lingerie image PRECIOSA ORNELA

WEDDING DRESS CODE FOR NON-DUTCH SPEAKERS

Although traditions in the Netherlands are like UK marriage customs and beliefs, it’s not customary to re-wear a traditional white bridal dress. On top of that, the groom and groomsmen do not have to wear a morning suit, top hat and tails.

Over to you…

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About Clover Jean: I'm a Londoner based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Being a specialist celebrant | marriage officiant | wedding ceremonies MC with a gospel & soul choir is rewarding work. So, my guilty pleasures are fine dining, travel hotspots and on-line retail therapy. What's yours? Get in touch, via Instagram #cloverjeanamsterdam or Facebook. LIKE, SHARE, SPREAD THE LOVE & see you soon!

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