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What To Wear To A Fall Wedding

We know that choosing what to wear to a fall wedding can be a frustrating task. You don’t want to upset the bride (more importantly, you don’t want to upstage the bride). But, you still want to look amazing.

Plus when it comes to fall, you never know what type of weather you’re going to get (Hurricane? Maybe. Blizzard? Why not?). Navigate those fall wedding challenges with this quick guide — and look your fabulous best as a guest on those big days.

What to wear to a fall wedding: Dos and don’ts

Do

  • Dress up. A pretty dress is fine for both afternoon and evening weddings.
  • Wear nice heels or flats, depending on what makes you more comfortable. Flats are often easier to manage outside.
  • Embrace bright fall colors. Marigold, maroon, purple, turquoise, dark green are gorgeous choices.
  • Check with the bride to see what color the bridesmaids are wearing. You don’t want to look like you’re in the wedding party.
  • Bring a shawl or pashmina to an evening wedding in case it gets cold.
  • Consider a pretty fall suit in a lightweight wool like gabardine.
  • Accessorize. Find a statement necklace in coordinating colors to your outfit.
  • Wear something you feel confident in, but stay modest.

Don’t

  • Wear white, off-white, or ivory.
  • Wear basic brown, which can look very sad at a wedding.
  • Wear flip-flops or casual shoes. Dress to impress.
  • Wear shorts, revealing tops or dresses that are too tight or too short.
  • Wear anything alarming or attention-seeking, like giant hats or a neon orange dress. Opt for subtle, classy, and sophisticated instead.

Always dress for the time and place

Smiling wedding guest to represent what to wear to a fall wedding.
Source: Envato.

Aside from color, time and place are the two most important things to consider when attending a fall wedding. Here are two general guidelines to keep in mind about how to dress for the time of day:

  • For an afternoon fall wedding, you can wear a dressy sundress.
  • Evening weddings require more dressing up, so choose a tasteful cocktail dress or a suit.

Dressing for the place isn’t quite as simple. You’ll have to think the challenges of the venue proactively For example, if the wedding is outside and runs into the evening, will it get cold? Then bring a shawl or scarf. Is the event happening in a buggy place? Then stash a tiny bug spray in your clutch. Beach wedding? Bring a mist for your face and plan on an easy updo to avoid the frizzies. You get the idea.

Also consider how the ceremony site might differ from the reception site. You might start inside and move outside or vice versa. Plan for the change either with layers or a different pair of shoes stashed in the car.

What to wear to a fall wedding: Daytime events

Daytime weddings allow for more casual outfits vs. evening weddings. Note that more casual doesn’t mean casual. It just means you don’t need to wear a cocktail dress. You can reach for an upgraded sundress, for example.

You can go with a long or short hemline — let this be a weather-based decision. The same goes for sleeve length. Cap sleeves are fine, as are long, lightweight sleeves. Be cautious about sleeveless and strapless. These can easily be too casual or too formal for a daytime fall wedding.

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What to wear to a fall wedding: Evening events

For evening events, you’ll want to step up the game just a bit. Look for heavier fabrics and opt for sleek silhouettes and solid colors vs. patterns and flounce. Also, lining is a must!

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What to wear to a casual fall wedding

Casual weddings can be challenging, because you want to honor the occasion — but you don’t want to be uncomfortable. Some options here include flowy, wide-legged pants paired with a slinky top or a jumpsuit. You could even wear a pantsuit and dress it up with shiny jewelry.

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What shoes do you wear to a fall wedding?

The venue will dictate your choice of shoe to wear to a fall wedding. For example:

  • Inside ceremony and reception: Wear pumps or peep-toe heels. Just make sure you can dance without breaking your ankles.
  • Beach wedding: Opt for mules with no heel. Heels will sink into the sand and invite tripping.
  • Outdoor wedding with a hard surface: If there’s the possibility of walking on dirt, choose wedges for height. Or, for more casual ceremonies, try a thick-soled loafer or a mule.

Generally speaking, steer clear of sandals, even the heeled variety. These are more appropriate for summer events. The only exception might be for formal evening events where you could get away with a strappy, heeled sandal.

Accessories to consider

Shawl. As noted, a shawl or scarf can be very useful if the festivities will drift into a cooler evening.

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Clutch. Don’t forget a small clutch that coordinates with your outfit. Pack necessities in it like your phone, a little bit of cash, your lip gloss, and a compact!

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Makeup. You can use darker lipsticks as well as a jewel-toned eye shadow, like emerald green. Take care not to go over the top with makeup. You should accentuate either your eyes or your lips, not both. Think pretty and natural, rather than the heavy makeup you’d wear for a night out on the town.

Jewelry. Feel free to wear earrings and a necklace as well as a bracelet or bangles. Similar to my makeup philosophy for a fall wedding wear, jewelry should be modest but fun and fashionable. Statement necklaces are acceptable as long as you pair them with lighter earrings.

Wedding guest hairstyles

Your hair is the final accessory — and something that can make or break your look or your confidence. Generally speaking, go with a reliable hairdo that’s simple and sweet. A sleek ponytail is a winner as is the twist-and-pin.

If any part of the event will be outside, consider how that should influence your hair choices. Personally, if there’s even a possibility of wind or humidity, I’m going with a casual updo, like a low bun. And lots of hairspray to keep things in place. I’d only leave my hair down if there’s a straightener involved and the entire event is inside.

For more hair inspiration, take a look at Romantic Hairstyles for Valentine’s Day and Easy Buns for the Holidays.

Dressing for a fall wedding

If you’d rather not memorize the dos and don’ts (I wouldn’t blame you!), remember this: Dress for the venue and the weather and lean into subtle, classy pieces. Leave the statement-makers at home; you can wear those pieces in your non-wedding fall outfits.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to stand out as a wedding guest. You want to blend in, doing your part to create a beautiful, supportive backdrop for the bride and groom’s big day.

Priyanka

Monday 17th of October 2016

Great Information About wearing about choosing color for the dress !! lovely dress and beautiful accessories. i like it very much. As an Indian Girl I knew more new thing about wearing dresses. Because Indians usually wear sarees for wedding. Thanks a Lot :)

Regards Priyanka

Catherine Brock

Monday 17th of October 2016

Priyanka, So glad you liked it! ~Catherine

wendy

Thursday 1st of September 2016

Where can I find that navy blue dress???? love it for my niece's wedding in November.

Ishika Mishra

Tuesday 25th of August 2015

Looking beautiful women wedding dresses . Thanks for sharing fabulous ladies collection...

Confused about fashion

Thursday 2nd of October 2014

Can I wear a little black dress without hose and maybe dress it up with colored pumps? or just stick with black pumps, hose, no hose? it is an early October wedding in Michigan.

roxiebramirez

Thursday 21st of November 2013

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