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After a few years of postponements and cancellations, wedding invitations for IRL gatherings are likely rolling in. But when you’ve been out of the game for so long, you might be confused on what to wear for a fall wedding — especially when dress codes seem to have relaxed. Still, there are a few hard-and-fast rules: Never wear white; don’t try to upstage the bride or groom; and make sure you’re comfortable in your outfit — you don’t want to worry about a dress riding up on the dance floor or find yourself hobbling in shoes before the reception even starts.
Still, the best way to decide what to wear to a wedding is to glean what you can from the wedding invitation: Your outfit will look a lot different if the ceremony is during the daytime on a Sunday at a country club or restaurant, rather than in a mansion or banquet hall on a Saturday evening. Even more, the exact time of fall is important, too: Instead of solely taking venue and dress code into account, consider the weather for the big day. Fall temps can vary drastically by location and time of year: I’m heading to a late October wedding in Georgia, where it’ll be at least 20 degrees warmer than most places in the Pacific Northwest. Guests’ outfits should reflect that.
Ahead, what to wear to every fall wedding based on the dress code (and then some).
If the vibe is casual, you’re in the clear to wear something shorter in a breezy fabric like cotton or jersey rather than silk or Viscose.
Mango Flowy Shirt Dress, $79.99
Asta Resort Dolce Dress, $124
Where It’ll Be Hot
If the wedding is in the South toward the beginning of fall, make sure you take that into account with either material or length.
Mango Belt Pleated Dress, $79.99
Where It’ll Be Chilly
If it’s later in the fall in a location known for erratic weather, be prepared: Something with sleeves is always a great option to stay warm.
Ronny Kobo Wrap-Effect Mini Dress, $274 (Orig. $498)
Reformation Ledger Dress, $278
Formal: Black-Tie Optional
Black-tie optional dress codes always seem a little bizarre to me: It’s a bit of an in-between code that accepts floor-length gowns and tuxes but doesn’t exactly require it. I like to respect the ambiguity of the code by going for a dress that’s long without actually touching the floor.
There’s not a lot of room for interpretation here: Black-tie generally means a long gown, so use the opportunity to bring out all the stops.
NBD Maracuya Gown, $288
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