The wedding invitation has arrived, and now the big question is, What should you wear?
Naturally, it’s all about the bride on her wedding day, but that doesn’t mean that you, as a guest, shouldn’t look fabulous, too. There aren’t very many occasions anymore to dress up, so if you’re going to a wedding, seize the chance to slip into something gorgeous and shine.
Here are a few guidelines for what to wear to a wedding reception when you are over 40, 50+.
1. Wear Something Dressy and Party-Like
Putting together a beautiful outfit to wear to a wedding takes a bit of work. It’s tempting to skip all that and instead wear a nice work outfit or that little black cocktail dress you’ve had for years, but don’t.
A lot of time and effort goes into planning a wedding to make sure everything is perfect, so out of respect for the bride and groom, it’s important you put some effort into what you wear and look your best.
Plus, when you look good, you feel good and everything is much more fun! Aim for something dressy and party-like, heck even a little glamorous.
The easiest way know how formal you should dress to check the dress code on the wedding invitation. If there isn’t one, don’t be afraid to ask. And always remember, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed at a wedding or any other special event.
2. Consider the Venue and Time of Day
What to wear to a wedding reception depends on many other things too. For example, where the wedding is being held and when.
A beach wedding at 1 pm will be far more casual than a church wedding at 4 pm, followed by a country club reception at 6 pm. Regardless of the time or place, all wedding receptions require a certain degree of decorum.
Women have more flexibility when dressing for a wedding reception than men. At some weddings, even a skirt and blouse or dressy evening pants worn with a dressy top are acceptable options.
A dressy jumpsuit can be appropriate too. However, for most weddings, a dress is a perfect choice.
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3. Don’t Wear White
While there are no formal rules anymore, it’s common sense that you avoid wearing a white dress. You don’t want to take any attention away from the bride’s special moment.
Even if the bride is not wearing white, white makes one think of a bride, so stay clear out of respect. I would not even wear a floral dress with a lot of white background showing!
If you want to wear a light color, choose a pretty pastel dress, like one in blush pink, pale blue, yellow, green or peach.
4. Don’t Flash a Lot of Skin
A wedding is a sacred event not a night out in Vegas. Your goal is to look elegant and that means details like the length of your dress matters.
A ladylike length would be no shorter than about an inch or two above the knee.
Also, avoid low-cut dresses that reveal a lot of cleavage, or dresses with loud, busy patterns or too many bright colors. You want to stand out, but not in a negative way.
One way for any over-40 gal to show a little skin without looking trashy, is to wear an off-the-shoulder dress or a dress with some sheer fabric detail. A touch of skin can be subtley sexy, and still look classy.
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5. Slip-On some Dressy Shoes
Chunky, heavy shoes that look more like something you’d wear to work aren’t dressy enough for a wedding.
Instead, wear more delicate evening shoes made for special occasions. Strappy heels are lovely, so long as they are comfy. Metallic pumps or sandals always work and add a touch of glam.
Remember, the chunkier the heel the more the support. If you plan to hit the the dance floor once the dinner is over, be sure you can walk and dance comfortably in whatever shoes you choose.
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6. Wear Elegant Jewelry
A wedding is a perfect time to bring out your best jewelry. You can wear fine jewlery or costume, big or small, whatever works with your dress and personality. These stunning, beaded dangle earrings are the perfect complement to this sophisticated sheath gown.
7. Carry an Evening Bag
Leave your heavy, everyday bag at home and opt for something more evening-like. A sparkly box or envelope clutch, or a small silk, velvet chain handbag are formal and sophisticated.
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8. Don’t Forget a Wrap
You may want something to cover your arms because many cocktail dresses are sleeveless. A wrap comes in handy at the church, or in an air-conditioned reception hall, or on a patio if the celebrations are held outside. Keep your wrap light, semi sheer, unless it’s winter when a cozy faux fur wrap is lovely.
Did you look fabulous at a wedding or special event lately? Post a photo in my private Facebook group and you could be my new Style Star!