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How to Dress for an Outdoor Wedding

Guest Post – Charlotte is a freelance writer originally from Baltimore now living in Philadelphia. Her love of fashion has been a life-long affair, begun by playing dress-up in her mom’s closet. When she’s not writing about the latest trends in the fashion world, she can be found catching up on reality TV and exploring the bars and restaurants in the city.

You’ve booked your travel, bought the gift, and are ready to dance the night away celebrating the new married couple—but what are you going to wear? Wedding dress code is often tricky to decipher as is, but throw in an outdoor setting (whether for the ceremony, reception, or both) and chances are the average guest will have a difficult time knowing what they should wear. If love-filled celebrations are quickly filling up your calendar for this wedding season but the setting has you stuck in front of your closet, never fear. Here are three ensembles that will fit right in with happy nuptials held in the great outdoors.

Destination #1: The Beach


Dress for an Outdoor Wedding _beach

If your friends have chosen to tie the knot seaside, you can bet the day will be filled with balmy breezes, refreshing drinks, and, if you’re lucky, a golden sunset. But with all the gorgeous elements a beach wedding provides comes just a few obstacles your ensemble will need to overcome—namely the sun, sand, and windblown hair. To match the carefree atmosphere of the beach setting, Lauren Conrad’s site recommends keeping it light, whimsical, and romantic. A flowing maxi with an off-the-shoulder neckline is formal enough for a wedding but also flirty enough to complement the mellow beach vibe. Pair with summery espadrille sandals and a statement necklace or stack of gold bangles. Finish the look with fresh, neutral makeup and a tousled side braid or simple chignon to keep strands from whipping in the wind.

Destination #2: The Mountains


Dress for an outdoor wedding _mountains

Depending on which mountain range you’re getting wedding-ready for, the weather on the day-of could be crisp, humid, or somewhere in between. After all, mountain climate can change on a dime, as The Knot points out—even during the summer months. Because of this slight degree of uncertainty, it’s best to plan (and pack) accordingly, with some flexibility in mind. Build the foundation for your ensemble with a knee-length cocktail dress—take Lyst’s suggestion of opting for one in a pop-bright, summer-appropriate hue—or a sleek, tailored jumpsuit in a silky fabric. Pair either with a strappy heel and chic clutch. From there, top with a structured blazer, pashmina wrap, or polished jacket (such as a cropped tweed number). If it’s warm, you can easily remove your topper and place it on your chair during the reception for hands-free dancing. But, if the mountain air turns chilly, you’ll be glad to have the extra layer on hand.

Destination #3: The Garden

Dress for an outdoor wedding _garden

Whether the wedding in question will take place in a lush garden, on a well-groomed golf course, or in the happy couple’s own backyard, this particular setting scenario covers any celebration that is held on grass. And, in case you’ve never experienced a heel sinking into the ground first-hand, the cardinal rule of dressing for garden weddings is no stilettos. Those four-inch pumps may look sexy, but getting stuck mid-walk across the lawn does not. So, stick with flats, sandals, wedges, or a block heel for any wedding falling under this category.  Once your shoes are set, it’s time for the main event—your garment of choice, of course. For venues that feature sprawling blooms, Martha Stewart Weddings encourages taking inspiration from the location and opting for sweet, feminine touches. Mini, midi, and tea-length hemlines will keep grass stains at bay while a bold floral print offers just the right amount of vibrancy. Finish your look with trendy cat-eye sunnies for a retro vibe that will help you stay squint-free during daytime ceremonies.

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