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the honour of your  presence the good guest's guide to weddings |  1 2 3
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5. Don’t wear all white.  This much should be obvious – unless you’re the one standing next to the groom when the minister makes the pronouncement of man and wife, you shouldn’t be wearing a white dress. Or an ivory dress, or a cream dress, or anything else that might be perceived as remotely bridal in appearance.  

6. Take note of the time. If an invitation hasn’t specified a dress code at all – black tie, for instance – use the time of the ceremony as a guideline for proper dress. Your sleek blue floor-length cocktail dress will look rather silly at a ceremony that begins at 11 am; a classic black tuxedo will make you look more like a member of the wedding party than a guest, if the ceremony begins at 1 in the afternoon. In general, daytime weddings call for more casual garb than evening weddings. Not that this means you should ever show up at a wedding in your day-to-day beat-up sandals, or any other article of clothing that makes it clear you didn’t put any thought at all into rendering yourself presentable. Unless a wedding is explicitly billed as casual – or the wedding in question is taking place underwater, on a hot air balloon, after a trek to a mountaintop, or under similarly extraordinary circumstances – a nice dress and heels (or dressy flats) are always appropriate for those of the female persuasion. As for you boys, jacket and tie are the bare minimum on the formality scale, but a suit is almost always the better bet. And please, unless you’ve made a deliberate decision to get some beard action going there, pick up the razor and shave.

7. When in Rome … The location of a wedding provides another good clue-in as to what you ought to wear. A reception at a historic mansion, for instance, calls for something formal to suit the stateliness of the surrounds, more elaborate attire than, say one would wear to a wedding on a beach.  A garden party at the family’s summer farm? Ditch the suede spike heels and floor-length evening gowns in favor of pretty, flowy dresses, and shoes that can withstand a little mud.

8. Remember: grandmothers will be in attendance. There’s dressing up for a night of swanky bar-hopping, and then there’s dressing up for weddings. Anything too low in the top, too high on the bottom, too shiny, too loud, too tight, or too scary to be viewed in broad daylight, is best saved for the former occasions and avoided altogether for the latter. Likewise, while the lush in you may be tempted to overindulge in the presence of an open bar, be sensible. Pleasantly happy drunk – good. Puking in the flower arrangement by the bathroom – not so much. Grinding on the dance floor with that random guy who didn’t start to look good until drink six? Downright ugly.

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