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So where do you start?
With the invitation.
One of the neat things about invitations is that they tell you so much more than just who, what, where, and when. If you take the time to “read between the lines,” the invitation will provide you with valuable clues about the person who sent it and what you’ll find once you get there.
Here’s what to look for when you’re a wedding guest:
If you’ll be traveling, never assume that the weather will be the same where you’re going as it is where you are, even if you’re just traveling 100 miles. Go over to www.weather.com and type in the city or zip code where the wedding will take place. It will bring up a ten-day forecast, and allow you to see the averages for every day of the year there. Study the history to see what’s appropriate weather-wise.
Next, note what time the wedding starts. If it’s before 6 pm, then it will be LESS formal than if it’s after 6 pm.
A wedding in a big city (or one of its suburbs) will always be more formal than a wedding in a small town. In the United States, a wedding in the east will be more formal than a wedding in the west, and if you put the entire country on a grid, you’d discover that the level of formality is the highest in the northeast, lowest in the southwest (with the exception of San Francisco, which follows northeast guidelines).
A wedding in a church or synagogue is always more formal than a wedding in a garden or at a home. Similarly, a reception at a museum or cultural center will always be more formal than one at a lodge or town hall
Finally, look at the invitation itself. Is it a heavy cardstock? Is it a classic color? Does it have formal wording or a fancy script? If so, expect the function to be more formal than one where the invitation is an unusual color, uses casual language or has a contemporary font. Since most people send out invitations that keep to the theme and tone of their wedding, this detail reveals a lot.
If you’re unable to glean the appropriate attire from the clues on the invitation, consider this: A social suit or dress for daytime or a little black dress for evening will take you to just about any wedding in style.
Just remember these simple rules:
Don’t wear white. If you’re not the bride, don’t compete with her color scheme.
Don’t wear black or sequins during the day.
Remember that you will most likely be at a place of worship and should dress with appropriate respect. Excessively exposed breasts, legs, behinds, and midriffs are considered bad form.
Dressing appropriately for a wedding shouldn’t be a mystery. Just take your cues from the invitation and you can’t go wrong.