Spring Wedding – What To Wear For Every Dress Code

A guest post by Caitlin Skidmore…check out her fine work at Greater Than Rubies!

If you’ve googled what to wear to a wedding, most of the things that pop up are not very helpful. They have lots of specific, (and usually expensive) dresses you can buy, and that’s about it.

That’s frustrating, because you want to look and feel extra gorgeous and confident at weddings!

Here are 3 simple steps you can follow to look chic and polished at every single wedding you’re invited to– without having to spend an arm and a leg!

  1. Choose your dress code.
  2. Shop your closet.
  3. Shop wisely.

Let’s walk through them together.


There are all kinds of wedding dress codes these days, but here are a few of the most typical versions + a general idea of what you can wear to them:

  • White Tie. This is the most formal dress code, so stick to a floor length gown. If it will be cold, bring a pashmina (silky scarf) or faux fur wrap to stay warm. Feel free to get dolled up with glamorous makeup, hair, and jewelry.
  • Black Tie. Opt for a long evening gown or chic cocktail dress. You could also get away with a dressy suit.
  • Semi formal or dressy casual. Choose between a cocktail dress or a fancy skirt and top.
  • Garden. A day dress is perfect, and feel free to play off the venue and choose a floral print!
  • Beach. Try a sundress or jumpsuit in a fabric like chiffon or a polyester blend. Stick to flat sandals or wedges so you can walk comfortably in the sand.

Worried you’ll be cold? Take a wrap that fits the dress code. Here are a few options, from fancy to casual:

  • A faux fur wrap
  • Pashmina, or silky scarf (This works for all occasions!)
  • Or a fancy jacket or sweater

Is there no dress code mentioned on your invitation? Take a look at the invitation itself. Is the event during the afternoon or outside at a garden or beach? It will likely be more casual. You could also ask a family member or someone in the wedding to clarify. If that’s not an option and you’re still not sure, opt to dress up versus down. You’ll rarely offend by over-dressing, but you might offend by under dressing.

Have you picked your dress code? Next, use these strategies to shop your closet and see your pieces with fresh eyes!


You may already have the perfect dress or accessories. Try these tricks to make your favorite pieces look different.

Do you have a little black dress? Try styling it in a new way using these two styling tricks:

  1. Add a completer piece, like a pashmina, dressy jacket, or a bold piece of jewelry. You’ll instantly look more put together!
  2. Then, add touches of color, texture, pattern, and shine to your outfit to look more polished. It’s easy to do when you think about your dress, shoes, bag, and jewelry.

You could also try pairing a top with the same color skirt to create the illusion of a dress. Black works, but you could do the same with any color family. (This will also make you look extra long and lean!)

Do you have a dress you love and really want to wear, but you aren’t sure how to make it look different than how you’ve already worn it? Type a description of your dress into Pinterest along with the word ‘outfits’ and see what comes up. For an example, let’s say you have a little black dress. Here’s what will pop up when you type ‘spring little black dress outfits’ into Pinterest. Look at the options- is there one paired with a type of jewelry, shoe, or bag that’s similar to what you have? Use it for inspiration to build the rest of your outfit.

Now that you’ve thought about the dress code and considered whether or not you have an outfit and accessories that will work, decide if you need to go shopping. 


When you’re adding pieces, think about what will give you the most options. For example, you can refresh your favorite dress with:

  • A new statement necklace. (My favorite places that are cost effective but look expensive are J. Crew Factory and The Happiness Boutique.) You can wear it with everything from your LBD to jeans and a tee on the weekend.
  • A great clutch. Add visual interest to your outfit with a bag in a fun color, texture, pattern, or that has a bit of shine to it! Use it later on a date or girls’ night out.
  • A pair of killer shoes. Make sure they’re comfortable enough to walk in (or get some gel pads for the ball of your foot). Try something fun that you wouldn’t usually wear, like full on sparkle, lots of straps, or a bold color!
  • Or a completer piece. Look for a cardigan, jacket, or pashmina you can use as a wrap. If you stick to a neutral, you can use it for another special occasion down the road, and possibly even pair it with every day clothes to dress them up.

Want to purchase a dress you can use all these tips for going forward?

  • A little black dress is always chic!
  • You could also opt for a rich jewel tone. It’s sophisticated, classic enough to always be in style, and looks fantastic on every skin tone! Try a sheath or fit and flare cut. These are classic and flattering on every shape.

Or, if the event is a dress code you know you’ll never wear again, consider renting from one of these sites.

Now you’ve got the tools to look chic and gorgeous for every wedding on your calendar! Just pick your dress code, shop your closet, and shop wisely.

Please share this article with a friend who is heading to a spring wedding this year using the links below!

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