There’s ample guidance out there for guests, but what about the bride and groom? If you’ll be having multiple events over the weekend to celebrate your union, do you wear the same outfit to all of them? Spoiler alert: No, you do not. You will look great but a bit overdressed if you wear your wedding gown to cocktail hour. Don’t you worry, though; we’ve got you covered.
First, the Ring
Do you need to wear your rings to every wedding weekend event? Well, in short, no. That being said, there’s no reason that you can’t. Granted, you’ll want to leave your his and hers wedding ring sets behind until the ceremony itself (and reception after). Wear your engagement ring for everything before the ceremony and your wedding rings for everything after. Simple, right?
Let’s Talk About Dress Code Types
Before we get too far, let’s make sure we have all our ducks in a row when it comes to a dress code. You probably put these on your wedding invites and are very familiar with them, so we’ll just do a quick refresher on their hierarchy. If you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned about dress codes, a more in-depth reminder may be in order.
What About the Seasons?
Affordable engagement rings are timeless, but the seasons do dictate certain styles. Seems kinda obvious, right? Your attire will look different for a spring wedding than a fall one, both in terms of color and materials as well as weight. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume you know when you’re getting married, so just adjust these recommendations as fit to the season.
What Are Your Wedding Weekend Options?
There’s definitely a standard list of activities for a weekend-long wedding, but you can add or subtract as you see fit. For many wedding weekends, the itinerary and dress codes will look something like these:
This is about as straightforward as it gets. It’s your chance to welcome your guests and thank them for being there, especially if you have a large number of guests who came from out of town to be there.
Source: shutterstock.com/Ina ART
Bride: Standard cocktail hour attire is going to apply here. Roughly semi-formal, you want to consider something that’s fairly timeless while still pushing the style boundaries. A modern cocktail dress is the simplest option and always looks good. You can dress this slightly down, but don’t go below smart casual.
Groom: Wear a tie or a jacket, but you don’t have to wear both. You won’t look out of place if you do but remember you’re shooting for the range of smart casual to semi-formal. If you have a gray suit or a more casual navy one, you’re perfect. Skip the black suit and definitely skip the tux unless you’re James Bond.
Daytime Events (Before Welcome Cocktails)
This isn’t as common, but it may be a fun addition to put on your list. If the bride and groom have friends coming in early that they want to see, it’s a great way to have two events going on simultaneously, especially if you couldn’t include everyone in the wedding.
Bride: This will depend on where you go, but it’s generally a casual affair. It’s the first thing your guests are going to encounter, so keep things light. Stick with something you’d wear out to a nicer brunch.
Groom: The same rules apply here. Something you’d wear to a nice brunch. No t-shirts that have bands on them, sorry. Might want to pre-emptively just get rid of those before your fiancé does.
Often the last thing before the big day itself, this is really an opportunity to dial the dress code up a notch and feel dangerously stylish. Still sounds to us like you’re just rehearsing the dinner you’re going to have the next day, but we’ll leave that alone.
Bride: We’re looking at semi-formal, here. If cocktail hour erred toward the dressy casual side of the spectrum, the rehearsal dinner really goes the other way. If going for a cocktail dress, make sure it leans more formal. Longer gowns are always a good option. If you have a more casual rehearsal dinner, you have the option to go with dressier skirts and blouses or more casual cocktail dresses instead.
Groom: Dark suit. It’s quite simple, and your life is very easy. If you have a more casual rehearsal dinner, go for a lighter suit. Seriously, it’s that easy.
Notice we skipped over the ceremony itself. We’re going to hope you’ve got that one figured out by now. You’ve got tons of options for the wedding reception, but traditionally you want an evening look that doesn’t take too long to change into. You want to spend time with your guests, after all!
Brides: You can wear your dress if you like, but an outfit change is common. There aren’t a ton of rules here because it’s so open to interpretation. As long as it’s fairly formal, appropriate for the time of day and easy to move in on the dance floor, you’re golden.
Source: Shutterstock.com/Bogdan Sonjachnyj
Groom: You can definitely just stay in your suit if you like. If you wore a tux or a black suit, maybe a blue suit appropriate for the afternoon or evening is a good option. Alternatively, ditch the jacket and just go for it.
One last goodbye brunch. Make sure you look good! Keep things bright and casual.
Brides: Think of a dressy brunch. You want something that’s appropriate for the morning. Think of things that are flowy and have fun pops of color in them. Keep things casual and fun!
Grooms: You’re in the same boat of fun and simple. More casual pants, maybe chinos. A nice casual button-down. Maybe throw on a casual watch and some loafers. That’s about all you need to know.
Remember, these are just guidelines. They’ll help point you in the right direction, but ultimately it’s your day and your call!