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Weddings these days have fewer and fewer fashion rules than in decades past—which can be great, but also makes things a lil more complicated. Because we see today’s brides passing up traditional gowns for elegant pants, the occasional groom skipping the typical black tux for a pastel suit, and even bridesmaids ditching the cookie-cutter dresses for something they can wear over and over again, that means guests *also* have just as much freedom with their styles.

But before you whip out your favorite pair of jeans and call it a day, there are a few things to remember while getting dressed in order to still be respectful of the ceremony and the people getting married. Some of the rules are pretty straightforward and easy to follow—like what colors to avoid—while others require a little more outfit planning—like figuring out what the heck “beach-formal attire” means.

Don’t worry, though. You’ll be ready to handle any dress code request that’s thrown your way after reading ahead.

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1. Don’t wear white.

…or off-white, or really, really pale blue. This should be a no-brainer, but it still bears saying. White dresses are cute! I feel you! But just try not to in this instance. If the bride only really cares about one dress-code sitch, you can be pretty sure it’s this one.

Want to wear something close to white? Try a neutral!

x REVOLVE Rylan Midi Dress

2. Leave the sweats at home.

Even if the wedding is a more casual event, I promise you: It is not that casual. Like your mom always says, “It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.”

If you are concerned about your comfort level for the day, try an outfit in a soft, natural fabric like cotton.

Sylvie Fleur Puff-Sleeve Dress

3. Denim = nope.

Jeans are typically too casual for a momentous occasion like this. Plus, why wear denim when you can wear it literally any other day?

Try a jumpsuit in a fun print, instead:

4. Don’t go too casual with the pants.

If you wanna wear pants (but not a jumpsuit), still try to be somewhat dressy. Start with tailored trousers and a polished blouse, or make things easy for yourself by grabbing a matching blazer.

Coordinating suits are a great way to go.

5. Cover your shoulders when applicable.

Is the ceremony taking place in a church or in an institution with a more modest dress code? Be respectful of that, and bring a shawl or sweater to cover yourself.

This cardi is a cute one!

Henry Cardigan Cantaloupe

6. Avoid going overboard.

Even if the wedding is a ~dress to impress~ event, the last thing you want to do is outshine the people getting married! Prints and fun colors are definitely okay, but make sure you’re not taking over the spotlight.

A pretty pattern like this is a chic choice:

x Sofia Richie Evelyne Maxi Dress

House of Harlow 1960

$248.00

7. Don’t go against the dress code.

Okay, okay, I know I said it’s better to overdress than to underdress, and I stand by that in general. But read the room: Don’t wear a tux or a ballgown to a backyard wedding—in that case, it’s better to keep it a little more low-key.

Here’s a less-dressy option you might like:

8. Rips and holes, even intentional ones, are a no.

Basically, don’t wear Yeezy to a wedding. If you like the idea of showing a little unexpected skin, consider a stylish cutout.

Need a non-ripped thing? Check out this wedding-appropriate look:

9. Rethink the sparkles.

Of course you wanna win best-dressed guest—and sometimes that means wearing a glittery option. If you’re worried the bride’s the type who doesn’t want to be outshined (sorry, not sorry) maybe skip the glitz and go for something equally eye-catching, but less obvious.

Instead of metallics, throw on tons of texture—ruffles would look so good on you.

10. Be aware of your neckline.

I’m here for a great cleave moment, but weddings are generally a bit more family-friendly, so it’s best to keep your J-Lo-level Versace dress in mind for a different occasion. Not saying don’t do a deep V, just saying don’t ask the question “how low can you go.”

Here’s a plunge that should still work.

11. Skip the flip-flops.

Comfort is important, especially if you plan on turning up on the dance floor. But rubbery slides are absolutely out of the question at a wedding.

Even if you’re going to a beach ceremony, keep it a smidge more polished in a gorge flat.

12. Forget about that T-shirt.

Sure, you want to show off your personality—but a graphic T-shirt (or even a plain one), is off limits. It’s just too casual, sry.

Instead, wear a fancy blouse with tailored pants for a relaxed yet wedding-appropriate outfit.

Tia Blouse with Cami

JONATHAN SIMKHAI STANDARD

$245.00

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