what to wear to a wedding

What to wear to a wedding: The ultimate guest dressing guide for women

04 Apr 2024 | Updated on: 09 Apr 2024 |By Zoe Gunn

From church ceremonies to boho beach weddings, allow us to inspire a fabulous wedding guest outfit for any dress code

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Dig out your finest hat: wedding season is back. And it won’t just be the bride and groom putting on a show. A wedding invite represents the chance to get properly dressed up – so heed the call. This is no time, however, to give that floor-length sequinned number you bought for Christmas another outing: a good wedding guest knows to dress appropriately and to stick to the style code. Not sure what to wear to your next wedding? Here’s our essential guide for every type of ceremony.

What to wear to a church wedding

The most traditional of wedding venues calls for something a little more demure – but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Opt for a mid-length dress in a summery sorbet (we shouldn’t have to tell you not to wear white) and let your accessories take your look from plain to party time.

Pair Lovebirds’ pretty pink silk dress with Mizuki’s modern take on pearls and a pair of Bottega Veneta’s must-have mules to add fashion-forward elements to a classic silhouette. The finishing touch? Anya Hindmarch’s pearl-adorned bag to match your Otiumberg pearl bracelet.

Lovebirds Star cut-out silk midi dress

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Bottega Veneta Padded quilted leather mules

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Otiumberg Trio Pearl Bracelet

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Anya Hindmarch Maud satin clutch

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Mizuki 14ct gold, pearl and diamond earrings

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Completedworks pearl and crystal hair slide

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What to wear to a country house wedding

While we’d never recommend outdoing the bride with a meringue of your own, the grand proportions of the average country house mean that, when it comes to choosing your own outfit, a little bit of volume won't go amiss. The modern way to do this is with a ruffle or two and, with its layered ruffle and cut-out, Aje has the style nailed. Balance out the volume of the dress with a bejewelled Emily London headpiece, instead of a hat, and a discreet clutch bag by Judith Leiber. Shoes should be delicate but playful (Louboutin is the master here) and, while we would normally advise against going too matchy-matchy with your accessories, these Marni earrings are too good to say no to.

Aje Fallingwater cotton-poplin midi dress

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Christian Louboutin Mariza du Desert 95 espadrille sandals

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Emily London Kingsclere headband

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Judith Leiber Fizzoni Clutch Bag

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Marni pink mushroom earrings

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Cece Jewellery horseclip ring

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What to wear to a beach wedding

Unless you know a very brave couple planning their nuptials on the shores of the English Channel, a beach wedding probably means you're headed somewhere hot, sunny and fabulous – so your outfit should follow suit. The most relaxed of all wedding venues, beach weddings call for something loose and longline, like this cotton and lace dress by Borgo de Nor. A beach wedding is also your chance to ditch the heels for a pair of party flats. With their subtle gold hardware, Valentino’s sandals add interest without going over the top. Hats should be of the wide-brimmed variety (Gucci's boater adds a touch of femininity) while jewellery should be bright and brimming with semi-precious stones. Annoushka and Harwell Godfrey are brilliant places to start.

Borgo de Nor Constance lace midi dress

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Gucci Bow-Trim Boater Hat

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Valentino Garavani VLogo Gate Sandals

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Harwell Godfrey 18ct Yellow Gold Pyramid Bangle

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Annoushka 18ct gold malachite tulip earrings

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Loveness Lee Tendresse recycled silver ring

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What to wear to a barn wedding

The more relaxed, boho style that tends to come with barn wedding venues makes them the perfect occasion to indulge in a little colour with your look. Stick to a seasonal colour palette and feel free to play with prints and separates. We can’t imagine anything more summer-appropriate than Zimmerman's micro florals (yes, you can wear shorts to a wedding!) paired with Palmer//Harding's asymmetric ruffle blouse. Keep the theme going with unusual accessories. Sophie Buhai’s mother-of-pearl shell hair slide makes a sophisticated alternative to a hat or fascinator, while Manolo Blahnik's burnished brown suede mules can be worn long after the big day, as can Chanel's classic mini flap bag. When it comes to jewellery, keep it classic with Alighieri’s signature coin necklace.

Zimmermann floral Lexi shorts

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Palmer//Harding Divide asymmetric shirt

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Sophie Buhai Fan Shell acetate hair clip

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Manolo Blahnik Maysale 50 suede mules

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Alighieri Il Leone Medallion necklace

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Chanel mini flap bag

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What to wear to a city wedding

An urban aesthetic calls for outfits which are as smart as they are modern – which means this is the place to break out your favourite tuxedo. Don't be afraid to mix-and-match: Saint Laurent's cropped jacket works perfectly with Dolce & Gabbana's tailored trousers. Pair with sky high heels – Aquazurra’s tie-back pumps are classics – and Alexander McQueen’s conversation-starting Curve bag. Forgo the hat (small city wedding venues can’t always accommodate them) and instead finish your look with lashings of diamonds.

Saint Laurent double-breasted cropped blazer

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Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo-band tailored trousers

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Alexander McQueen The Curve bag

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Aquazzura Bow Tie pumps

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Ananya Scatter Moon 18ct white gold diamond earrings

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Mozafarian diamond pendant

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