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Summer dresses for wedding guests: The new rules
So you have seven weddings this summer and want to find the perfect (read: one) outfit to wear to each? It’s possible—we promise—with the right look and accessories to switch up your outfit for each day of nuptials. “Figure out the vibe of the wedding,” says Victoria Rucks, district manager at David’s Bridal and wedding style expert. “It’s all about how you style your dress to completely transform your look.” And remain on budget. “Not everyone wants to spend eight million dollars!”
Rucks gave us her top wedding style advice on how to select a classic dress, and be the perfect guest this summer.
How to find the perfect summer dress for wedding guests expert tip #1: Match the wedding theme
Knowing the type of event you’re attending it critical to deciding what
summer dress you’ll be wearing to it. “Is it a formal event in a fancy cathedral followed by a formal reception?” asks Rucks. “This will dictate where you want to go with your look.” Likewise for garden-themed and beach destination wedding ceremonies. “Weddings are personalized to nth degree, so that they’re special to the couple. You should do the same with your look.”
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How to find the perfect summer dress for wedding guests expert tip #2: Opt for a classic look and accessorize accordingly
While the rules of wedding guest attire—don’t wear white, stay away from black—no longer apply, it’s important to still be respectful of the bride with your outfit (
Pippa did this wonderfully with her all-white Alexander McQueen maid-of-honour gown). “Anything goes,” says Rucks. “But never steal the limelight from the bride!” Choose a classic dress, “without the bells and whistles—you can add those yourself!” For a formal occasion of Gatsby proportions, add a bolero jacket and even a topper. And go all-out glam with a sparkly sash.
To take this same dress to an English garden-inspired wedding, swap in a pretty and delicate ribbon. “A wedge shoe is an absolute must,” says Rucks. “This will avoid sinking into the grass.”
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For more expert tips on finding the perfect summer dress for wedding guests, read on to the next page…
How to find the perfect summer dress for wedding guests expert tip #3: Don’t be afraid of colour
If donning an all white cocktail dress, look for design with a hint of subtle print to differentiate from the formal nature of bridal gown. And be sure to add a punch of colour with your accessories. Try hot pink shoes or clutch bag, Rucks suggests. Of course, there’s always the LBD for great summer wedding attire mileage. “Add a metallic shoe and clutch—or a kitten heel and sparkly headband for a Gatsby look.”
One of her favourite feminine looks this season is a summer dress in petal pink. “It works with any skin tone,” says Rucks, who loves the gowns in blush pink from the White by Vera Wang line. Look for differences in detailing, such as ruching, sweetheart necklines or empire waists this season.
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How to find the perfect summer dress for wedding guests expert tip #4: Add a fascinator
There’s nothing more vintage-feeling and incredibly polished than topping off your wedding guest attire with a perfectly placed fascinator. “This elevates the look of any dress to wear to a formal event,” says Rucks. Opt for a black satin headpiece for a black-tie style party, or try a floral-embellished look for an outdoor ceremony.
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How to find the perfect summer dress for wedding guests #5: If you still don’t know what to wear—just ask!
The difference between formal and semi-formal (or contemporary and modern) is largely a matter of personal opinion—which doesn’t help when attempting to decipher wedding dress code. Mercifully, brides will aim to remove the guessing game for guests by stating dress code on the invitation. This way you’re armed with knowledge well before the ‘I dos’ take place. “But if you’re still not sure, call the bride and ask!” advises Rucks. If only it were this simple when dressing for all your summer events.
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