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Being a Wedding Guest: When to Splurge & When to Save

It is always exciting to receive an invitation to a friend or family member’s wedding celebration. But after that excitement wears off, you soon realize that you have nothing to wear. As women, we’re prone to stressing over having the perfect outfit with the matching shoes and accessories. After all, no one wants to be the individual at the ceremony who is way over dressed or, even worse, not dressed up enough. So as a wedding guest, how do you know when to splurge and when to save?

The one thing to keep in mind is that the wedding invitation is packed full of clues. Some invitations will actually request a specific type of attire, such as “casual attire only” or “formal”. When these hints are not found on the invitation, take a closer look at the reception venue. For example, a wedding reception at a country club will be far more formal than a backyard wedding reception. The time of day can also be a clue when deciding on the type of attire for a wedding reception; generally speaking, daytime affairs can feature lighter color palettes and be somewhat more dressed down, while nighttime is perfect for rocking darker hues and splurging on some bling.


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Every woman’s idea of the perfect outfit is different. We all like certain styles, cuts, and colors, so make sure you pick something that represents your taste and is comfortable. One thing to always keep in mind is if you can wear the outfit again at a later time. You don’t want to purchase a trendy two-hundred dollar dress that you’ll only wear once. Instead, try to think practical and choose a dress that you can wear to your next holiday party or date night. However, even if the wedding invitation states the appropriate attire, it can still be confusing. The following descriptions will give you a better understanding about what to wear at the wedding celebration:

Casual Attire – Casual wedding attire is the classification that allows the most wiggle room. This genre includes anything from a dress, skirt, top, cotton pants, or flat shoes. When you find yourself shopping for casual wedding attire, look for the deals. If you plan to order online, check RetailMeNot to see if there are any coupon codes you can apply before checking out.  Try shopping in your own closet first, or your friend’s closet, for at least one staple piece of clothing. Whether it is a dress, skirt, or top, find one piece that you can build off of to complete your ensemble.

Dressy Casual Attire – Dressy casual is one step up from casual and is increasing in popularity. While women can still wear a dressy pair of slacks and a nice blouse, a dress or beautiful skirt is also an appropriate option. Although heels may be worn, flat dress shoes are also suitable. This is another category where it is acceptable to save and shop in your own closet or hunt for the best deals.

Black Tie Attire – This category is the most glitzy for wedding attire. Women are expected to arrive in a gown and, unless you plan on sporting a crown or a cap, it is hard to look overdressed for this sort of affair. Formal or black tie attire is the hardest category to try and save your money, as those floor length dresses usually come with a floor length price tag as well. If you do choose to splurge on the dress, keep accessories minimal as you want attention to be given to the part of the ensemble you invested most in. Since vintage is always in style, maybe raid your mother’s or grandmother’s jewelry boxes to find some timeless antique pieces. An additional way to get the biggest “bang for your buck” is to find a gown that can be altered at a later date to create a cute cocktail dress that you can sport more frequently.

Bridesmaids– Having the opportunity to be a part of the wedding party is a huge honor.  However, this honor can put a major dent in the wallet, and in most cases, with you having absolutely no say in it.  Luckily today, more weddings are steering away from the traditional, uniform bridesmaid look and offering the bridal party more input.  It is fairly common for brides to have their favorite ladies donning different styles that each bear the same color; if this is the case, request a specific swatch and find an affordable retailer, like David’s Bridal, who will allow them to browse a huge selection of special occasion and bridesmaid gowns by specific color. There’s nothing worse than shelling out a pretty penny on a dress that will serve a lifetime collecting dust in the back of a closet, so if you are given free-range, take full advantage and buy a dress you’ll re-wear. Try to stay within a budget and stretch your dollar, as there are many expenses outside of your outfit you’ll have to take into account during your bridesmaid duties.


This is a guest post written by Kat Bershire 

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