How to Dress for a Wedding Reception

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Unless you're the bride or groom, it pays to learn how to dress for a wedding reception before you attend one. If you're dressed too fancy or not fancy enough, you're going to stand out like a sore thumb. That's not the kind of lasting impression you want to leave on your fellow guests or the happy couple.
Pay attention to the invitation. Since an outdoor wedding is considered less formal by many people, choosing appropriate attire may seem difficult. There are some things to bear in mind when attending an outdoor wedding, but with a bit of consideration, you'll make the right choices for the perfect outfit. Wear a nice dress or skirt and blouse if you are a woman. Although you can generally get away with wearing a pantsuit, keep in mind that most outdoor weddings take place when the weather is warm. Therefore you will probably be more comfortable in a dress or skirt.
A wedding is not the right place for a pair of jeans. Unless the invitation states that it is acceptable, it is best not to wear jeans to the wedding. A beach wedding is typically more casual than a traditional church ceremony and thus calls for less formal attire. Choose a dress that is simple, practical and comfortable. Many bridal retailers carry dresses designed specifically for beach weddings. Beach wedding dresses are usually made of lightweight material that travels well.

Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking and standing in sand. Large online bridal shops carry white flip-flops perfect for beach bound brides. Consult a hairstylist and decide on a wedding style that will withstand outdoor conditions. Understated, natural hairstyles work best, as they fit the casual beach theme. If you decide on an updo, wear extra pins to secure fly away hair. Adorn your head with flowers or decorative pins rather than a veil.
When the wedding invitation says March, April or May, you could be in for snow, rain or a hot sun. So just how is a wedding guest to dress? Skip the somber colors and heavy fabrics of winter, opting instead to step out in crisp colors and lightweight fabrics. Women might select a cocktail dress for an evening function or a knee-length sheath dress for a day function, whereas men can get away with a sport coat and slacks for a more casual affair. Understand that black-tie or formal attire means a tuxedo or dark suit and tie for men. Women might pair a full-length satin skirt with a beaded shell or a pashmina wrap with an empire-waist gown. For a casual wedding, you will always dress down a bit from what you would wear to a formal wedding, but you can still do it in style. Choose a short dress in a floral print for a casual wedding taking place during the day. Don't hesitate to go for those bold colors, such as bright yellow, if it's a summer wedding.Wear a short dress for a casual evening wedding as well, but go for something darker, such as black or navy.

Opt for a lightweight suit in linen or seersucker for a daytime summer wedding if you prefer wearing a suit to slacks and a dress shirt alone.
However, if the invitation doesn't give you any clues and the other guests aren't talking to you, ask the bride or groom what you should wear. This method is fool proof. It should also be used as a last resort, unless you're very close with either member of the happy couple.

Choosing a reception dress, too? Almost out of the question. Not anymore: not only did we find 5 gorgeous reception dresses style (sizes 2-24), but we also compiled some no-fail tips (like did you know Saks has a whole section of plus designer gowns?).

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