The month of June, second only to August, is the most popular month for weddings. With all the different types of weddings it can be hard to know what to wear. For most weddings, the invitation will indicate the type of attire the couple would like their guests to don by listing the dress code. If this is not listed than your next guess as to the dress code is to look at where and what time of day the wedding will be held. If it’s an outdoor wedding, beach formal would be more appropriate. An evening wedding indicates a more formal affair and should be attended with semi-formal to formal attire unless otherwise noted.
Weddings are a celebratory event and that means what you wear should reflect that. I prefer to always err on the side of more formal as its better to be over dressed then under. That said, you never want to upstage the bride. This means no attention-getting styles showing too much leg or too much decolletage, no loud colors and absolutely no white. Also, stay away from black dresses for early morning or afternoon outdoor weddings and if you wear a black dress, make sure it doesn’t look like you’re attending a funeral. Pair it with a colorful heel and bag and bold jewelry.
Weddings held in the Keys tend to be beach weddings. This means your clothing will need to be sweat resistant. Choose darker colored fabrics in breathable fabrics made from natural fibers such as 100 percent cotton or linen. Also, choose shoes that you can walk on the beach in. Try dressy sandals or a wedge heel and stay away from flip flops as they’re noisy and too casual. For men, loafers or leather sandals are appropriate unless a dress code of semi-formal or formal has been noted.
What to wear by dress code:
Black Tie, Formal or White Tie dress code
This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes and is typically used for nuptials beginning after 6 p.m. For men, black tie means dark colored suits or tuxes with white shirts, a tie or bow-tie and black dress shoes. White tie means men should wear a black evening tailcoat with a white bow tie and white collared shirt. For women, I suggest wearing a floor-length evening gown or knee-length cocktail dress in satin or silk with perhaps some embellishments such as beading or sequins. Pair it with dramatic jewelry, heels and an updo for a sophisticated look. If you’re not used to wearing heels, buy a pair with a small kitten heel and a pointy toe. This will elongate your legs and give the allusion that you’re wearing heels.
Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual
This dress code is a step down from the more formal dress codes but it’s better to still err on the side of formality. For women, wear a nice cocktail dress or a fabulous skirt and blouse paired with heels. Wear lighter colors for a day time wedding and darker colors for evening weddings. For men, this dress code still means a suit and tie or slacks and sport jacket but allows more room for adding color. Wear a gray suit with a colored shirt, a patterned tie and dress shoes.
Beach formal means to dress as though you’re going to a nice restaurant on a summer day. This dress code is also meant to let you know that the nuptials will take place on the beach and therefore you will need to dress for the elements (sand, sun and water). Men should wear a summer suit, linen pants or khakis, and sandals or loafers. A collared shirt is best but ties are not required. For women, a formal summer dress or long maxi dress with flats or wedges should be worn and hair and make-up can be kept more every day. With outdoor weddings, the weather can fluctuate so bring a pashmina, wrap, jacket or sweater to stay warm on a windy day.
Casual or Informal Chic
Casual translates into business casual so no jeans and t-shirts. For women, this means a nice sundress or blouse and skirt. You can wear more color to a casual wedding but stick with sandals. For casual weddings men can wear nice shorts, leather sandals and a colored shirt such as a polo, linen dress shirt or a silk dress shirt.
Aisle style I do’s
• Dress-up – weddings are a celebratory occasion so look the part.
• Keep things simple – too much is too much. Keep your make-up and dress feminine and sophisticated.
• Dress to impress – you’ll likely see friends and family that you haven’t seen in awhile and there will be lots of photos so make sure to wear something you like and want to be photographed in.
• Do use good judgment – If formality is not noted on the invitation, a cocktail dress and suit with tie will be good for just about every wedding.
Aisle style I don’ts
• No jeans, t-shirts or flip flops
• No prom dresses – for a more formal affair where a simple and sleek gown reflecting your age and the time of day.
• Absolutely no white – white is reserved for the bride so avoid wearing white, cream and ivory.
• Never upstage the bride.
Dress pictured is available at Wanderlust, 310 Petronia Street, Key West 305-509-7065, wanderlustkw.com.