With wedding season under way and June brides and grooms popping up everywhere, it shouldn’t be a surprise if you get invited to a ceremony or two this summer. But what should you wear for the big day? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

Do keep it elegant. Unless the invitation specifically insists that guests should dress in beach wear, don’t even think about wearing shorts, sandals, or a short sleeve shirt to a wedding. If you’re not exactly sure what is expected and it’s not possible to get a definite answer from a reliable source, it’s better to err on the side of slightly too dressy rather than too casual.

Don’t overshadow the wedding party. When you care a lot about how you present yourself, you may be used to making sure that all eyes are on you when you walk into a room. This, however, is not the time to be thinking about that. This day is about the happy couple, period, so don’t pull focus with a flashy suit or anything unusual. You can still honor your personal style – just do it with something a bit more understated.

Do take context into account. Is this an outdoor, or indoor wedding? Day, or evening? Context matters. You can get away with lighter colors and fabrics at an outdoor summer wedding, whereas an indoor evening wedding in November would almost certainly warrant heavier fabrics in darker tones.

Do check if there’s a dress code. Quite often the couple will leave it up to the guests what they want to wear, but check your invitation just in case they’ve specified something in particular. You don’t want to show up in semi-casual attire only to find that everyone else is in black tie!

Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re still not sure what to wear, ask the couple or someone in the wedding party! If you know them well enough to be invited to their wedding, they won’t mind answering an email about the dress code. Do it as early as possible, though – wedding prep can get chaotic in the weeks leading up to the event, so get your questions out of the way before then if you can.

Do keep in mind that comfort is key. Assuming there’s a reception after the ceremony, you’re going to be spending at least a few hours in whatever you decide to wear, and a lot of that time you’ll be standing up or maybe even dancing, so choose wisely. Shoes and jackets can be especially problematic in this regard – make sure that your footwear fits comfortably, and that your jacket isn’t too tight across the shoulders

Remember, weddings are about love and celebration, so despite all the rules and etiquette, this is a time to relax and enjoy yourself. The most important thing, of course, is that you’re there to see the couple tie the knot and share their special day with them!

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