In my weekly email newsletter I have a Q&A series and for the past month or so, nearly every question has been around what to wear to any and every sort of wedding. Everything from daytime to black tie to more niche ideas like western (I have no idea on that one I am sorry) and beyond.
Choosing the right outfits to wear to a wedding can be challenging, especially after a pandemic! In a recent issue of Girls Night In, my friend Alisha joked that she needed a couch to 5k program for slippers to stilettos (or something along those lines). I need that too, but even more around small talk and socializing. Today I am rounding up lots of pretty and accessories. I went with three main themes: evening/black tie, day time, and beach. In between, I’ve also answered several reader questions. I hope this is helpful!
I would also add that Rent the Runway is amazing for wedding / events season! In fact, I have a partnership with them over on Instagram and my code is GRACE if you want to try it out and get 40% off the first two months of your plan. That being said, let’s dive in! I have rounded up my favorite ideas for black tie, day time, and the beach!
Wedding Attire As A Guest
Black Tie Wedding
Below I have rounded up a few of my personal favorite black tie dresses, shoes, etc. I have to be honest, I love formal wedding attire. It is so fun to get really, really dressed up and just have a NIGHT.
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Colorful Black Tie Outfit Ideas
I’ve included a lot of colorful dresses here as those are my personal favorite for black tie or black tie optional. My rule with a colorful formal dress is that I keep the rest of the look simple. So something like these nude sandals (a splurge but really comfortable and so chic), a big gold earring maybe, and hair slicked back into a low bun.
Classic Black Dresses
With a black dress, you can have a bit more fun. My favorite black tie outfit in a while is what I wore to the FLA’s. This asymmetrical black dress with these sparkly blue heels and my Grainne Morton earrings. I also LOVE this black feather dress, which I brought with me to Vienna. It is so sophisticated and elegant. I wore it with simple black sandals and a bold red lip. Note: for this brand, your dress is made to order so it won’t arrive for a while. It’s worth the wait!
Black Tie Hair
I am a big fan of wearing your hair in a low bun for black tie. These bobbie pins are the perfect way to add a little interest! Otherwise, I love a sleek blowout, waves, and a side part!
A few reader questions:
Q: At the end of this month I am attending a family wedding at the Gibbes Museum. The theme is a black-tie masquerade party. Since it is a family wedding, I don’t want to wear anything too revealing and I also want to be comfortable. The party is outside where it’s gravel. Does such an outfit exist? Your help is much appreciated. Style – colorful since it’s springtime. budget – $500 or less.
A: This event sounds fun… can I come? This green dress really speaks to me for that sort of event. Black tie w/gravel is so tricky (I have had a few events there so I know exactly what you are talking about). A wedge would be too casual, but I think that the Margaux City Sandal could be absolutely perfect for your event! It’s comfortable and elegant, but the slightly chunky heel will be good on the gravel.
Q: My sister’s second wedding is coming up at the end of May. It will be small, maybe around 30 people, and at a trendy restaurant with really good food and cocktails. I’d love some dress recommendations that walk the line between fancy and fun. Definitely not too formal – no first wedding vibes 🙂 I’d like to spend $250 or less!
A: Walking the line between fancy and fun… I love this Amanda Uprichard dress (the color is stunning) and it just got marked down to $243. Potentially too sexy but I love this ultra chic black dress from Cinq á Sept. This fit & flare dress is slightly higher than your budget but SO fun, I love the color and pattern. Also just slightly over budget (but if you love yellow, the color is just magical) this little yellow mini dress is so fun.
Q: I’m in a wedding this June in Carmel, CA. The wedding is at a beautiful winery and I’m looking for a dress for the rehearsal dinner the night before. I haven’t been to CA in forever so unsure what the nighttime temperature situation may be, but it is June? Willing to spend $300-$350 on a dress I could ideally wear for other fancy occasions or as a wedding guest dress to another wedding!
And here are some of my favorite daytime wedding ideas! Most summer weddings (at least the ones I have been to) are of the daytime variety… with an outdoor ceremony trickling into an evening reception. My goal is always to put together a look that is fun and festive but can easily transition from outside onto the dance floor.
A note about shoes!
For me, the biggest thing with a daytime event is always the shoes. You need a block heel! These Sarah Flint wedges are going to be my summer event shoes (I am old and don’t have any weddings this summer but I do have a lot of summer parties). A block heel will also do, you know how much I love my Loeffler Randall gold heels. I also highly recommend these Margaux heels, they are fabulous. Tall enough to make your legs look amazing, but comfortable enough to dance in, all night long. (I wore them to my 40th birthday and they passed the test of a very late night of dancing).
Q: My brother in law is getting married in Park City this summer in an outdoor, very casual ceremony. I’d like to find something that can blend in as part of the family but is still fun and a bit special. Since most of the (dress wearing) guests will likely be wearing cotton sundresses and this is not a high fashion crowd, I’m at a loss for what to wear! My ideal dress is jewel toned, in a fabric that works for outdoor settings (eg not satin), and nothing too tight or micro mini (I have little kids and wiping faces is tough in super short outfits). I’m built a lot like you but with wider hips, if that helps. $500 budget, but if we can stay under $300 I might top it off with the Loeffler Randall mules you love so much. Thank you!
A: I am not sure if this is going to be too dressy but since you said jewel tones and hips, I thought of this dress from Intermix which I bought a month or two ago and really love. I would also recommend this La Ligne dress which I have and love and have been wearing so often… La Ligne’s dresses tend to be cut tighter up top (which I like as I’ll skip a bra) and flowy through the hips. I feel like this dress can work in so many situations… you can make it more fashiony and dressy with a higher heel and more jewelry, or you can keep things casual.
Q: I have my brother’s wedding in Mexico in May and need a dress. The venue is more of a desert wedding than a beach wedding and I need a dress that I can easily travel with! Budget is $200.
A: I hear you on dresses that easily travel… I was just in LA and forgot my travel steamer… So I spent WAY too much time with the hotel iron trying to get all the wrinkles out of my dress. I personally love this pale blue dress ($119) or this green dress ($149). Both look like they’d travel well, and the colors would look pretty against a desert backdrop.
Peach Dress + Pearls
For a beach wedding, I like to go a little bit more boho. Easy slides (or lace up espadrilles / flats), and a floaty, diaphanous dress. On the bags front, there is no one doing straw bags and clutches quite as well as Pamela Munson. I love everything she does so so much.
collage details: one // two (on sale!) // three // four // five // six // seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve // thirteen // fourteen (only $41!) // fifteen // sixteen // seventeen // eighteen
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photography by Laura Saur.