Is there anything more romantic than watching two people you love vowing to stand by each other’s side for the rest of their lives? Add a freshly bloomed garden, rolling hills of a winery, or calm crashing waves in the background and you’ve practically landed on the set of a Nicholas Sparks movie.
Although it is unmistakably the bride and groom’s day, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put your best foot forward when attending a friend's or family member’s wedding. You never know if you’re meant to lock eyes with the man of your dreams on the dance floor, or if your plus one is destined to fall madly in love with you as you sit together listening to the couple's vows. At the very least, putting a little extra thought and effort into getting ready is polite and will help you feel confident, thus leading to a more enjoyable experience.
Now, let’s get down to what you should wear. A dress for spring? Groundbreaking. Thankfully, it has never been easier to find stunning dress options in the springtime. With everyone more than ready to put the winter blues (and Covid lockdowns) in the past, feminine lace details, floral appliqué, and delicate embroidery have begun filling the shelves…and my online shopping cart. Oops.
Nevertheless, it can still be tricky to navigate what is an appropriate option depending on the wedding venue. You may want to wear a flowy halter dress to a relaxed beach wedding, but that certainly wouldn’t be suitable for a formal hotel setting. With this dilemma in mind, I have scoured the internet for the most stylish dress options (starting at $48) for each of the eight most popular wedding venues.
I hate to play favorites, but I must say that a winery is my preferred location for attending a wedding. Not only do you get the gorgeous view of rolling hills (a.k.a. the crème de la crème of Instagram photo ops), but you also get to enjoy wine straight from the vineyard.
A flowy midi or high-low dress is perfect for the occasion because it will give you the freedom to walk around comfortably without the fear of tripping while trekking up or down the landscape.
There’s nothing that embodies spring more than a garden wedding. How can you not feel the romance when you’re surrounded by blooming rose bushes, ivy covered arches, and luscious oak trees that provide the ultimate hideaway for a private kiss?
If you’re a girly girl at heart, this is your chance to go a little over the top with feminine features. Slip into a mini or midi dress with a lace element or floral design. Pro tip: choose heels with a chunky wedge or grab a pair of classy flats since you’ll likely be walking on grass and/or a pebble walkway.
If you have a museum wedding on your calendar for this spring, consider me jealous. An art gallery is such a creative and novel venue for hosting a wedding. Since you don’t have to worry about the weather outside or a risky ground situation with heels, feel free to get dolled up in a more formal and elegant dress with your fanciest stilettos.
A slim-fitting midi dress is perfect for wandering around a sophisticated museum with your date.
*Cue the dolphins jumping in the background.* A beach wedding in the spring is ideal for avoiding summer’s insanely hot weather and incessant mosquitos. With that in mind, you may catch a breeze with early spring temperatures, so make sure to bring a silky shawl to wrap around your shoulders when the ocean air picks up.
Pro tip: similar to the garden venue, wearing classic pumps at the beach is going to be a recipe for disaster. Most likely, the wedding invitation will let you know the dress code. If it’s casual and intimate, you may be able to get away with wearing a maxi dress and going barefoot (always check with the bride first). On the other hand, if it’s a bigger production, you can opt for wedge heels or dressy sandals.
Well, well, look at you, Miss Fancy. I used to work estate weddings back in my party planning days, and I always felt that they were so elegant and intimate. From the Pinterest-worthy mansion to the expansive lawn overlooking a hillside or ocean, this type of venue is the perfect spot for showing off a special occasion dress.
Do your research beforehand and find out what type of hotel the couple is getting married at. Is it ultra-modern and chic, or funky and bohemian? There are so many different aesthetics for hotels these days, and you want to make sure that you don’t stand out like a sore thumb in your surroundings.
Once you nail the vibe, you can narrow down your dress choice from there. For a hotel wedding, I find that it’s generally a safe bet to lean more toward a formal look as opposed to casual.
Save your LBD for date night and go with a more refined option when attending a church wedding. While you may think it’s no big deal to show a bit of cleavage or wear a dress you have to continually yank down, it may genuinely upset the bride and groom (and be disrespectful to their families).
Opt for something with a high neckline or a modest silhouette. If you’re questioning whether or not it’s appropriate to wear to church, it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose a different piece.
Rustic barn weddings were all the rage back in 2018, and while the aesthetic of mason jar candles and twine may not be quite as common today, barns are still one of the most popular venues to get married in. Their modern counterparts, made viral by Instagram, can be incredibly chic while keeping intact the charm of a remote wedding.
You should be able to tell how informal the wedding theme will be based on the invitation, but a good rule of thumb is to keep your dress casual, yet polished. I recommend sticking to a cottage core aesthetic to keep things classy while ensuring that you can reuse your purchase all spring and summer long.
There you have it! Whether you’re attending a spring wedding set at your local vineyard, a romantic garden, ultra-chic museum, or a rustic barn, you have options to make you feel comfortable and confident. While it is certainly still the bride and groom’s day, I can’t help but think that you’ll be shining just as bright in your gorgeous new dress.
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