Knowing what to wear to a casual wedding is not so simple. The couple thinks they’re doing you a favor by getting rid of any strict, formal dress code, but at least with standard black-tie weddings or dressy events, you know what is expected.
But what even is casual wedding attire?
You feel pretty casual right now, sitting on the sofa in your pajamas, but that’s surely not appropriate. And how about the other way, is a long dress too formal? Maybe pair it with sneakers?
Casual attire can be a mental minefield, especially if it’s your first time attending such a relaxed celebration.
What Is Casual Wedding Attire?
When attending any wedding, you always want to look your best. And for most of us, that means dressing up. When it comes to a casual wedding dress code, however, the rules are slightly different. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel ‘dressed up’.
The beauty of this type of casual-event-dressing is that you have free rein over the look you rock for the occasion. As long as it’s not overly formal, or extremely casual, you can wear what feels right.
For example, if it’s a summer celebration, girls can throw on floral dresses, a colorful cocktail dress, or maybe even a jumpsuit. The boys can keep it casual by ditching the tie, and just wearing a suit and shirt. Or just a nice pair of tailored pants and a quality shirt.
The right type of outfit will obviously change depending on the season. But for the guys, it probably won’t change that drastically. Just make sure you have a smart-ish jacket or coat to keep off the chills. The same for the girls, while also thinking about accessories. Seasonally appropriate bags, shoes, and so on are a must.
In general, dress in something that makes you feel good reflects your personal style and that’s easy to dance in!
What to Wear to a Casual Wedding
Now we have a slightly better idea of what exactly a casual dress code is, let’s delve a little deeper and find you your look!
Casual Wedding Outfits for Women
Summer weddings, and celebrations during the warmer months, are when the majority of casually dressed events are. This means you’ll be able to break out your favorite, most flattering maxi dress for the occasion.
Sun dresses and maxis are ideal casual wedding guest attire, as they can easily look dressed up with the right accessories, hair, and makeup.
Assuming it’s a casual summer wedding, think about bright colors, florals, pastels, and bold geometric prints. Steer clear of anything too dark for a daytime wedding. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like a little black cloud in a sea of color!
If you feel more like you in separates, that works too. A nice blouse and breezy wide-leg pants look stunning when paired together right, and look super cute coordinated with a fluffy jumper for a chilly evening wedding.
A pantsuit is also an endlessly chic look. Think pastels, dainty heels, and an un-fussy blouse underneath. Jumpsuits work really well too and can be an easy way to dress for a casual wedding reception, whichever season you’re in.
When it comes to footwear, let your ensemble lead the style. Flats are normally a no-no, and a few years ago we would have said sneakers were too, but these days, it’s probably ok. As long as they’re clean, stylish tennis shoes, and not super chunky.
Heel height is down to you, but we’d suggest a mid-level. Anything too high and you’ll look dressed up and not able to lose yourself on the dance floor. Plus, events will most likely be outside. Which means sand, grass, and rough surfaces. These do not mix well with a high heel. Trust us.
Casual Wedding Attire for Men
We could sum casual wedding guest outfits for men up in four words. Take your tie off! A casual style of dressing for guys is relatively easy, as long as they have a seasonally appropriate suit to throw on.
Under the suit, go for a classic cotton button-down shirt, as button-collared shirts look far better when worn without a tie. Alternatively, go for a tucked-in t-shirt, or polo shirt. A quality cotton t-shirt in white, gray, or whichever color coordinates with your suit can look very contemporary. And it’ll fit perfectly with the relaxed vibe.
If you have smart khaki pants, and a jacket that coordinates well, feel free to put them together to create a semi-smart look. A casual wedding invite also offers the perfect excuse to break out that statement jacket you’ve been waiting patiently to wear for years! Just be sure not to outshine the happy couple!
Classic casual summer wedding attire for men is all about the linen suit. A sophisticated look that will never go out of fashion, so it’s worth investing in one for future events and vacations. Pair it with a crisp white shirt, or coordinated linen piece in maybe a baby blue or light green shade to complete the ensemble.
Depending on the season, and your outfit, shoes are still expected. But you can go for a more casual style, such as a loafer – ideal if you want to go sock-free. As we said with the girls, traditionally, sneakers would be out of the question, but nowadays, a smart pair is probably ok. However, perhaps check with your fellow guests, and see what they think.
The above looks will work for all sorts of events, as long as you dress according to the season. The only caveats are those weird, specific items couples sometimes request on wedding invitations. Like if it’s a beach-themed wedding, you might be expected to wear a Hawaiian shirt, for example. If that’s the case, start from there, and work your outfit around it.
Consider the Wedding Venue
As with any wedding, read the invitation carefully before purchasing anything new for the occasion. If the couple is planning a casual beach wedding, are your shoes going to be appropriate? Maybe you should take a change of footwear if the ceremony is on the sand, but the reception is on terra firma.
Equally, if events are taking place in the countryside, perhaps something more rugged than a kitten heel is required. Boots, shoes, and fancy flats are all possibilities when events are taking place in a more casual wedding venue.
You could also use the venue as a source of outfit inspiration, coordinating colors, fabrics, or a general look to match your backdrop.
Don’t go overboard on this, but it’s possibly a useful jumping-off point if you’re struggling for ideas.
Take the Season into Consideration
If you’re searching for casual fall wedding outfits, you’ll require something quite different than you would for a beachy wedding in the summer. As we said, casual wedding attire is typically something associated with the warmer months. However, as a style, it’s becoming more popular these days all year round.
In the main, consider fabric choice. For a casual winter wedding, opt for warmer fabrics, such as cashmere or merino wool. Whereas in the summer you can feel free and easy in light cotton, or linen.
The color of your outfit may also change depending on the wedding season. For instance, in the summer guys should aim for light browns, blues, and pastel shades. But when winter or fall rolls around, things need to turn darker. Think navy blue, coffee brown, and the less light side of pastels.