Wedding Guest Attire

What To Wear To An American Wedding?

What is the proper guest attire to wear to an American wedding?


I am from Greece originally but I live in Boston for five years now. I am very excited because I got invited to a wedding, the first one in the US. However, my excitement turned into confusion after asking a question – what would be appropriate to wear and hearing different answers. I was advised to go to David’s Bridal for a dress. I bought a dark brown dress with pink halter, sash and wrap. But I am not sure if the quality is cheap (100% polyester) and/or the look is very formal. The wedding is at 1:30 pm in a church and the reception at 4:00 pm in a club. The groom who invited me told me he will wear a tuxedo – not very formal with a tie.

I am really confused if my gown is appropriate. I cannot wear a cocktail dress because I do not have slim knees and legs.

Please, let me know if this would be OK or I need to look for another dress. I do not want to seem unfitted and I want really to have a great time at this wedding.

Thank you very much in advance for your help.

Wedding Guest Attire

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Most questions I receive are from people wanting to know what to wear. So, you are in good company.

The person who told you to go to David’s bridal gave you some incorrect advice. This dress could be a bridesmaid’s dress. So, I would avoid it.

For the afternoon wedding, anything conservative you would wear to a nice restaurant would be appropriate. The little black dress or its equivalent would be fine for the reception. So, you could wear a very nice pant suit in quality material to both events. But, I wouldn’t worry about your legs. People tend to notice a nice personality much more than knees.

Best wishes,


Thank you very much for your reply.

But, since I have bought the dress and David’s Bridal sales are final, could you please let me know where it would be appropriate to wear this dress? I mean is too formal? Or is it a dress that only a bridesmaid can wear?

Also, what is your opinion about the polyester? Is it considered good quality? Or I should look for something better like silk?

Thank you very much again. You saved me from being in a very bad position.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Outside of a wedding atmosphere, it probably wouldn’t appear to be a bridesmaid’s dress because there wouldn’t be that premise.

You could wear this in any other formal situation, such as a holiday party or cruise dinner.

Typically, polyester is viewed as lower quality. However, today some of the garments made with polyester are done so well, that it appears to be made of a high quality material. Actually, I was reading that today’s polyester is supposedly better looking. So, it is the appearance that is most important.

Wedding Attire Guest

photos via SMP