Wedding attire for spring, summer

Taylor Borde

Spring is in session, and with it comes a flood of wedding invites. This begs the question of what to wear. Spring and summer weddings ride the fine line between formal and casual with the impulse to bring out bold florals, bright colors and that little dress you’ve been dying to wear. You should consider several factors before settling on one outfit — location, weather and appropriateness — but most importantly, don’t upstage the bride—even if you run a close second.

Venue sets the theme for a wedding in most situations and guests must follow the unspoken dress code. Beachside vows call for loose and flowing maxi dresses and pantsuits as well as allow bolder colors with seaside accessories. Ditch the heels and opt for sandals, which you will appreciate after standing in sinking sand for several hours. Other outdoor nuptials can be rather unpredictable with the fickle spring weather. Plan to wear a jacket on top of your printed dress so you can enjoy the occasion instead of worrying about the uninvited, cool breeze. Flat footwear will be your friend here as well.

Indoor weddings differ between traditional and destination locations such as a luxurious estate, museum or favorite architectural site. Conservative outfits like a high-neck dress, knee-length pencil skirt or cropped trousers cater to a traditional church setting. Pastels add flavor to a modest outfit without being too flashy. A more lavish venue usually follows a formal dress code, favoring both dark and light neutrals, metallics and tasteful prints.

Bride-to-be Hannah Rich, senior in apparel, merchandising and design, approved of floral prints and stripes for almost any venue or theme. Busy patterns such as an Aztec print and neon colors are too casual for a wedding, according to Rich. Spring and summer allow for fun shift dresses with detailed lace or straps, but be careful that your dress isn’t too risqué with revealing necklines, cutouts or short hemlines. It’s also a time for bright colors and fun patterns. Don’t be afraid to wear black; it’s not just for funerals anymore.

Guys have it pretty easy. Match a nice pair of dress pants with a dress shirt in a fun color and add a bow tie. Done. You can also switch out the dress shirt for a linen shirt for hot summer days. Patterned shorts can also be an option, but make sure it’s not an obnoxious print that draws too much attention. Rich said “to coordinate with your date” for a cute touch.

The focus of a wedding should be on the bride and groom. Choose an outfit that not only flatters you, but complements the theme or venue as well. Although you want to flaunt your best features, keep your wedding outfit modest and classy. Some invites give details on the dress code, but most leave it up to your instincts to decide. When in doubt, stick to softer colors and simple silhouettes and you’ll always be in the clear. You can be bold with a bright clutch or statement jewelry without being too loud. Just don’t, under any circumstances, wear white.