On this past week’s episode of Vanderpump Rules, Katie Maloney said she, “loves a wedding.” She loves a wedding so much, that this was said while spying on a wedding she was uninvited to via a resort balcony in a hotel robe. Katie and I have one thing in common: I would certainly be spying on a wedding I was uninvited to with no shame! However, I’m not joining her in waxing poet about weddings. I am not a person that loves a wedding. Quite the opposite!
My own wedding was a slice of hell (thanks to my pathologically lying wedding planner who made every step of the process a nightmare – even long after the wedding!) That being said, it’s a struggle for me to marry (ha, no pun intended) my love for dressing up and absolute avoidance of the most common event that allows for a fancy new outfit. (Literal champagne problems, I know.)
However, for the most part, my love for a dress code and a sartorial show outweighs the dread I feel surrounding weddings. Let’s take some deep breaths together as I lay out my picks for what to wear to a spring & summer wedding, as a guest.
(Also, these photos have nothing to do with my wedding. However, when I was taking them with Briana Pursuer, these two women kept walking by and saying, “What a beautiful bride!” So hey, I’m rolling with it.)
Before my freshman year of college, I was shopping for a dress to wear on the final night of Rush at the University of Texas – Pledge Night – while visiting my friend, Jenna, in Orange County. (What a strange, yet accurate, exposition of events.) I asked a sale’s clerk at Trina Turk – an insanely chic shopping destination for 2011 me – “The dress code says cocktail, but I don’t really know what that means.” She responded, “It means you tried.” Thank you, mystery saleswoman. I’ve held on to that as my definitive definition of Cocktail Attire ever since.
As with most things, it seems wildly unfair that men are plainly told the expectation of attire in the dress code, itself. They must wear the titular Black Tie, and women are left texting every person they know who has ever had so much as an Anthro Perks membership, “Is this fancy enough for Black Tie?”
The key with black tie: the length and material of the dress. At least a midi-length dress is expected and appropriate. Save your more casual fabrics, like cotton or some synthetic blend, for a more casual event. A sequin can forgive a lot of dress sins in the Black Tie dress code, and a floor length hemline will carry you to the finish line.
In Texas, your invitation might say something about wearing boots if this is the category you’ve landed upon. It might have other confusing dress-code-word-salad phrases like “snappy casual” or “casual cocktail.” I find dress codes like this to be vague, at best, and they guarantee you collecting a quorum to decide exactly how fancy you all intend to make the event over text long before the wedding.
The key with these weddings is to look at the location. Are you outside? Is it during the day? Will there be ~*activities*~ you’re expected to partake in? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this is your section to shop.