How to dress for an outdoor wedding

Friends and family weddings are a tradition that most us have experienced at one point or another. The food, dancing, and celebration can be enjoyable. Yet, in some cases, our enjoyment is directly related to how comfortable we are at the nuptials and any reception that may potentially follow. This is especially the case with outdoor weddings.

What is the best way to dress for an outdoor wedding? We have some ideas for you.

Dress Appropriately

Going outdoors adds a whole new challenge to picking the perfect wedding guest attire
Going outdoors adds a whole new challenge to picking the perfect wedding guest attire

Something to remember about an outdoor ceremony is that it is still a wedding ceremony. Sometimes they are casual affairs and informal attire may be appropriate. But more often than not, you are still going to want to dress well for the big event.

Even in the hottest time of the year, showing up in shorts and a tank top is going to be a mistake. Also keep in mind that wedding guests are often photographed for the couple, meaning what you wear is going to be included in their photos forever. Dress length is an important point for the ladies to think about. Too long and it will drag in the grass or dirt, too short and it could be uncomfortable if you end up seated on a scratchy hay bale.

Check the weather

The unique ambiance of an outdoor wedding
The unique ambiance of an outdoor wedding

Ideally, you need to get your hands on a weather forecast. If you are attending a ceremony in the summer and you see that there is a high likelihood of heat, you need to take that into consideration. Likewise, if it is a spring affair, you will know that you cannot dress the same way that you would for summer as the weather is often unpredictable and, depending on location, will not be guaranteed to be hot.

  1. What to do in hot weather: The key to dressing for a hot weather outdoor ceremony is fabric choice. You will want to select something that will not show off your sweat or make you sweat more than you would have otherwise. That means avoid synthetic fabrics if you can. For women, wearing a sleeveless or strapless dress will help keep you cooler, but take care not to get sunburned. For men, a light pair of cotton dress pants and a light button-up shirt should help out. If the outdoor wedding is formal, you may still be stuck wearing a suit or tuxedo, neither of which will do much for your comfort so consider bringing a spare shirt for the evening reception.
  2. In unpredictable weather: Dressing for a fall or spring wedding in a climate that is untrustworthy is tricky. Ideally, you should wear formal wear that has layers. So with a short-sleeved dress, have a nice wrap or cardigan that coordinates well, but will keep you warm in the event of a cool breeze and is removable if the sun comes out. Men can do the same, wearing a suit jacket over a button-up shirt with a tie that is easy to take off if it gets too warm outside.
  3. What to do in cold weather: Outdoor weddings in fall or winter usually require a little more effort to stay elegant while keeping yourself warm and comfortable. For women, opting for a long-sleeved dress made of a warmer fabric, such as a sweater dress, may help you out. Also bring a jacket that is stylish and goes with your outfit in case you get chilly. Layering up with a camisole will help keep you warm too. Men should keep a long-sleeved button-up and a suit that can have an overcoat worn over it for an extra layer.

Check the Site

Knowing what time of day the wedding is and what type of location it is at will also give you a chance to stay comfortable. Weddings are often in the afternoon or early evening which can be the hottest point of the day in the summer, or be cooler in the fall. Beachside or lakeside outdoor weddings will also have the added risk of wind and chill, meaning bringing a jacket could be a safe bet. You can also theme your outfit for the surroundings, for example earthy colors for the woods or ocean inspired accessories if the ceremony is on the beach. For ladies, the ground underfoot may well dictate your choice of footwear or if you want to buy heel covers (yes, these really do exist).

Suit up
Suit up

Regardless of your final choice, remember that you will enjoy yourself more if you are comfortable, which means both dressed well and dressed for the right location and temperature.

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.  Outdoor Revival – Reconnecting us all with the Outdoors.


marion-fernandez is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival