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How to Dress for a Casual Wedding

Published April 29, 2010 | Updated June 18, 2015

When a wedding invitation asks for guests to come in casual dress, the hosts are typically asking you to show up in fancy business attire. For women, that means skipping the elaborate dresses in favor of more relaxed separates or more casual dresses. There are several simple clothing options that allow women to be comfortable yet stylish for an important occasion like a wedding. Here are a few suggestions for finding the perfect outfit.

Casual Wedding Attire:

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  • Think about Separates

    When putting together a casual wedding outfit, stay away from formal gowns and cocktail dresses. Instead, opt for separates that you would wear in an office, like dress pants, pencil skirts, and cotton sundresses. For a fall or winter wedding, try a tailored pair of wide-leg wool trousers with a silk top. If you're attending a wedding in the spring or summer, try a printed maxi dress made of jersey cotton. Pair it with a lightweight cardigan or wrap sweater for unpredictable weather.

  • Dress Up the Outfit with Your Shoes

    The shoes you choose will be key for dressing up your casual outfit to make it appropriate for a wedding. To get a better feel for the best type of footwear, find out why the wedding couple has requested casual attire. If the wedding events will be held at a location with nontraditional activities for the guests, you want to be prepared. If plans include boarding a boat, wear flat sandals with a chiffon maxi skirt. For outdoor fall or winter weddings, stay warm by pairing wedge booties with thick tights under a dress.

  • Pull It Together with a Handbag

    Instead of bringing a regular bag to a wedding, stash your essential items in a casual clutch. Add a pop of color by pairing a bright-colored leather wristlet with a neutral-toned outfit or choose a subdued oversized clutch made of rich leather to let your outfit stand out.

  • Accent the Outfit with Accessories

    Casual wedding attire can be made dressier by adding jewelry with sparkle. Set off a simple black blouse with a bold statement necklace, a few colorful cocktail rings, or a stack of shiny silver bangles. If the wedding will be outside during the day, accessorize with a wide-brimmed hat or a casual straw fedora.