How to Dress for a Spring Wedding

Spring kicks off the wedding season, so make sure you are ready to join in the celebrations. Much of the fun comes in dressing up for the festivities but knowing what to wear can be tricky. Whether you are planning for fickle spring weather or scrutinizing mysterious dress codes, you may need some quick tips on how to dress for a spring wedding.

If you are not sure about what to wear for garden parties, rustic barn weddings and formal evening affairs, check the invitation. The bride and groom almost certainly will be kind enough to spell it out. Some weddings will be informal enough for wedding guests to indulge in shopping for a gorgeous new spring dress. Some ceremonies will be black-tie evening affairs that call for formal long dresses and fancy cocktail attire.

The location of the nuptials can provide a clue. For example, a boho or Coachella vibe works for casual beach weddings. Close friends and wedding party members can usually give you a clue to the happy couple’s thoughts about what’s appropriate. This is not the occasion to strike a sexy note. Keep your wedding guest dresses for spring no shorter than fingertip-length. And don’t even think about wearing white.

If the invitation says…

Casual or Daytime: A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse works perfectly. Interpreting this as business casual will keep you out of sartorial trouble.

Semiformal or Dressy Casual: A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top. Evening fetes call for darker, formal shades while light colors and fabrics are right for daytime weddings.

Beach Formal: Dress for elegance, but also dress for the sun, sand and water, so make sure the material is not too heavy. A formal summer sundress at tea, knee or floor length with elegant flats or wedge heels are appropriate. Think elegant restaurant on a summer night.

Cocktail Attire: A cocktail dress or dressy suit. Floor-length gown is not required but it’s normally fine for a wedding if you would like to wear a long dress.

Formal or Black Tie Optional: A long evening dress, formal cocktail-length dress or dressy suit.

Black tie: Usually the wedding is an evening affair that calls for a long evening gown or elegant cocktail dress. Ask the couple or wedding party about the correct dress length.

White Tie: A formal, full-length ball gown. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate.

What to wear for fickle spring weather?

How does a wedding guest dress to stay warm when spring temperatures can change on a dime?

Put a sleeve on it. Strapless fashions are wonderful for warm weather, but not so much when the seasons are still changing and there’s a chance you’ll actually have to walk a short distance from the car to the wedding venue. Choose a dress with sleeves and you’ll be ahead of the game fending off the last gales of winter.

Pull a Kate Middleton. The duchess has made a fashion art form out of styling a chic coatdress over cool weather ensembles. You know the look: fitted silhouette, military buttons and Black Watch plaid. Take a cue from Kate and style a coatdress. You won’t wind up shivering even when the event is outside in the chill.

Accessorize with a shawl.  A warm shawl comes in handy on spring days when temperatures are unpredictable. When the weather turns uncooperative, a graceful wrap makes a much chicer accessory than the raincoat you keep stuffed in the trunk of your car for emergencies.

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