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The rules

Posted by on April 30, 2008

I spent about an hour yesterday looking for rules about what to wear to weddings, though I do think most rules surrounding weddings are bullshit. (Startling, eh? Yes, this is shaping up to be one of my edgier posts. I also think water is wet, and opening your eyes helps you see.) Nevertheless, it’s important to know rules before you break them, and occasionally there’s stuff that makes sense, like not wearing white because it would be embarrassing if the bride’s slightly blind grandmother mistakes you for the bride. (Hey, Grandma, see above on the eye-opening rule.)

There is nothing like spending an hour looking at wedding guest attire rules to make you feel vain and superficial. Almost every advice column you will read on this subject ends in “Of course, no one will be looking at YOU,” which makes you feel like kind of a shitty person for even spending this much time thinking about what you wear. As if by even considering your outfit for the day you’ve already concocted a major plot to upstage the bride, at whom everyone WILL be looking.

I’m not anywhere near this marriage business, but I will just say this: if I ever do get married, please think about what you’ll be wearing to my wedding. Feel free to put a lot of thought and effort into making yourself pretty. Because a five hour reception where everyone stares determinedly at me and only me is about the worst thing I can imagine.

The weirdest part of the whole business is I cannot imagine the brides are on board with these rules. Because honestly, who throws a party for their friends and then gets bent out of shape if the guests wear floral dresses to an evening event or a black cocktail dress in the afternoon? So basically I’m just going to wear something non-white that I like the look of and the rules be damned.

If, however, you are not so free-thinking, here are the results of my research:

For a daytime wedding, you dress as you would at a garden party. Colors, sundresses, florals, these are all good. For evening, you wear cocktail dresses and darker colors. If there’s a dress code listed on the invitation then you follow that. That’s it, that’s all you have to remember. And anyway, everyone will be staring at the bride like they are saber-toothed tigers and she is a wounded woolly mammoth. No one will be looking at you.


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