May 19

Wedding Guest Style: From Beach Casual to Black-Tie Formal

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Every spring, my inbox fills with questions about what to wear to the season’s upcoming weddings. And I’m not surprised! Past generations could expect to see just a handful of dress codes (casual, cocktail, black-tie, etc.), while nowadays, an invitation might list anything from “beach casual” to “garden party chic.” Along with taking cues from any guidelines the couple shares on their invitation or wedding website, I recommend considering the time of year and the venue itself when deciding what to wear. When in doubt, opt for the dressier option–weddings are special occasions, after all! Here are a few looks that I think would be lovely and appropriate for this spring’s weddings.

Beach Casual: At a wedding by the water, chances are, you’ll have to consider a few of the elements: the ocean breeze, warm sunshine, and sandy surfaces, to name a few. Opt for a breathable dress with a knee-length or midi hemline, like our Caroline dress. Wearing it with neutral wedges will keep you comfortable from the ceremony in the sand right through to the sparkler send-off.

Garden Party Chic: This might be my favorite dress code because it’s practically an invitation for floral prints! I couldn’t resist combining my love of flowers with my passion for dresses in the May Gal Meets Glam Collection–you’ll find watercolor dahlias, whimsical bouquet patterns, trailing botanicals, and everything in between. For a garden wedding, I’d reach for the Penelope dress, which features gorgeous floral embroidery that is just right for a special event. Wear it with a simple, solid-colored crossbody purse that keeps your hands free for celebratory hugs and champagne toasts.

Country Club Classic: Country clubs are some of the most popular wedding venues, but keep in mind that they vary in formality depending on your location. One dress that would fit in seamlessly anywhere? The Jane dress from our May collection. Its sophisticated silhouette and full skirt are celebration-ready, while the unexpected double-tie detail and fresh color options keep your look playful. The pearl mini version of the popular Cult Gaia handbag (see my pink one here) helps transition this look seamlessly from a daytime ceremony to an evening reception.

Cocktail Attire: The Rosemary dress from the May collection was designed with clinking champagne glasses and twirl-ready dance floors in mind. I especially love the Cherry Blossom colorway for spring weddings. Keep the attention on this statement-making dress by wearing it with a simple, strappy heel – a staple for every girl’s closet.

Black Tie Optional: Perhaps one of the most confusing dress codes, black tie optional may actually be one of the most flexible, because you get to choose exactly how formal you’d like to dress! You can’t go wrong with a chic midi-length dress with elegant details, like this blush and silver Marchesa or this blue Needle and Thread, both stunning for spring. A subtle, but sparkly, hairpin (less expensive option here) completes the look.

Black Tie: There are so few occasions in life that call for a formal gown, so if you have a black tie wedding on your calendar, don’t be afraid to go all out glamorous! Black-tie dress codes traditionally indicate floor-length hems, so I love this Monique Lhuillier dress from BHLDN. The misty blue color is perfect for spring, and the cutout back makes the simple design extra special. A statement pair of earrings to add the perfect finishing touch.

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