Photo by Ana Francisconi on Unsplash

By Angie Harrison

Spring not only brings the beginnings of sunshine and nice weather, it also starts off the beginning of “wedding season.” Spring weddings turn to summer weddings, which turn to early fall weddings, and it can all be a lot to navigate. With so many destinations, locations, weather complications, and just new, modern trends in formal events — dressing for a wedding can be tricky. Will it rain? Am I going to sweat through my entire bra and dress? Does black tie mean I can only wear black? There are so many options (and more than just dresses!) for your weddings this season; we’re breaking down what to wear and where to wear it.

Outdoor Garden Wedding

Everyone loves the idea of an outdoor wedding, but sometimes weather can be unpredictable. Some great ways to preserve your look through hot and steamy temps would be to keep your fabrics lightweight or natural, wear a print to camouflage any sweat transfer, and choose flowy/non-constricting silhouettes. Dark florals, chiffon, and layered lace fabrics are all great options for staying cool during warm events. Wide-leg jumpsuits, sleeveless dresses, and shorter hemlines will keep you from feeling constricted in your evening wear as well. Outdoor weddings create the perfect backdrop for pops of color, so don’t shy away from poppy reds, bright florals, and bold details.

Rustic Farmhouse Wedding

Bohemian, rustic weddings have become a huge trend and have also changed the way we think of traditional wedding guest attire.  These whimsical, romantic weddings have a more relaxed feel, drifting away from the tidy world of French twists and duchess satin.  If you find yourself a guest of this type of wedding, feel free to change up your usual wedding go-to looks! Try something gauzy and and breezy, like layered chiffon or soft tulle.  Complementary colors to an event like this, would be dusty pastels and earth tones- think blush, sage green, gray, lavender, and rust colors. Small, delicate floral prints are great, too.  You really can’t go wrong when it comes to shape, flowing jumpsuits are great, midi length dresses, anything that feels light, airy, and romantic.

Beachside Wedding

Hooray, you’ve been invited to a destination wedding (and mini vacay)! Destination weddings traditionally take place somewhere with a body of water, whether it be the beaches of Mexico or one of the Great Lakes. You can always bet the backdrop will be gorgeous. Beachside weddings call for flowing fabrics, color, prints, and anything suitable for sunshine. A gorgeous chiffon scarf print maxi dress with gilded strappy sandals would look fab, as well as a crocheted lace caftan or wrap dress. Keeping cool while feeling festive and elegant is the goal. Jumpsuits and separates, like satin tanks and full skirts, are great options too. Anything that’s easy to pack, won’t wrinkle terribly, and something you just can’t wait to wear.

Modern/Contemporary Wedding

Every wedding season has the “modern couple,” the couple that always has the coolest home décor and keeps up with the latest trends in all things. This wedding could take place at the hottest new hotel or a stripped down warehouse filled with geometric finishes and succulents. This is the wedding you want to look cool at — no traditional soft or delicate options. Modern weddings are great to shop for because you can be almost certain you’ll wear the dress again. With contemporary style comes dark colors, clean lines, and classic cocktail attire. Dress outside the box and try a silver sequined jumpsuit — something entirely evening in fabric, yet modern in construction. A classic black sheath dress is the perfect starting point if you’re not sure where to begin. Find something with modern detail, like a mesh neckline, or unexpected design detail like fringe. Small style adjustments to classics are the easiest way to feel fresh, but not overly trendy.

Black Tie (Optional) Wedding

Formal weddings have evolved from the days of fur stoles and evening gloves, and knowing how formal to go in your look can be tricky. It is a misconception that black tie means black ball gowns only. The dress code “black tie” first applied to menswear only (yawn), meaning black tuxedo or white dinner jacket with literal black bow tie. In today’s time, “black tie” has transitioned into “black tie optional,” meaning the families of the couple will be formally dressed, as well as a reflection of the venue and atmosphere. Full-length gowns are not a necessity in the spring and summer months, considering the seasons. And same goes for color — no need to stick to just black. Black tie is anything that would be seen on a red carpet — hi-lo hems, midi-length, floor-length, blinged out, rich in color, flowing and elegant. An easy way to make lighter colors like blush, nude, and golds feel dressed up is making sure there’s an element of embellishment. That can be all-over or partial sequin and beading, or a crystalized belt or brooch — something to make it feel truly “formal evening.” If you don’t love the idea of a full gown, try a full-length column dress. By keeping the silhouette close and skimming the body, you still achieve a devastatingly chic formal look, without feeling princess-y or poofy.

As the invitations flood in this season, try to identify what type of wedding you’re attending; the rest is easy. The stores will be filling up with the latest styles, and you’re now completely ready to shop with confidence in what to wear to your upcoming events. With so many beautiful choices, make sure you’re comfortable, able to keep cool in your fabric choices, and most importantly, make sure there’s room for cocktails, cake, and killer dance moves!


Angie Harrison received her BS degree in fashion merchandising from Western Michigan University. After merchandising for a large retailer, she went on to start Angela Harrison Style: a personal, print, and film wardrobe styling service. Her experience has led her to style wardrobe on local and national TV commercials as well as freelance in visual merchandising for luxury retailers.




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