If you recently found yourself invited to a summer wedding in Europe, there’s more than one reason to celebrate. Not only do you have an amazing event to look forward to, but a summer wedding in Europe is a great excuse to buy yourself a new outfit! Of course, choosing a wedding guest outfit can be tricky. There are dress codes to navigate, comfort to consider, and few points of etiquette to be aware of. A destination wedding adds further issues like packing, weather, and formality. Whether you’re gearing up for a castle wedding in Ireland or a beach ceremony in the Algarve, here are a few key things to keep in mind as you start your style search.
When in doubt, overdress. Summer destination weddings can be a little confusing when it comes to the dress code. Does a coastal destination mean a casual dress code? What’s appropriate for a marquee wedding in the grounds of a villa or manor house? It’s always a good idea to check with the couple and, if they give you a dress code, stick to it. But when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of formality.
Don’t upstage the bride. While you want to look fabulous at any wedding, it’s important not to compete with the bride, who quite rightfully should have all eyes on her. Rocking a bold accessory is great, for example, but save your most outrageous fashion moments for another time. And of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t wear white (or any white-adjacent colours like ivory, cream, pale champagne, or very light pastels. That’s a rule that’s just as important across Europe as it is in the USA and many other countries.
Take a cue from your location. Try to make your fashion choices in line with where the summer wedding in Europe will be held. For example, a castle wedding in Positano in summer calls for elegant, floaty dresses while a city wedding in Paris, London, or Dublin might call for a chic cocktail dress. On a practical note, a quaint Greek or Italian village with cobblestone streets may be charming, but leave the high heels at home.
Research the weather. While a summer wedding in Europe often means sunshine and warm breezes, bear in mind that the weather can vary from one country and location to another (and one month to another). Do some research into the weather at your destination and bring along a wrap or jacket in case it gets chilly. (Hint: in Ireland there’s always a chance of rain, year round!) Heat is, of course, also an important consideration, especially in August when much of Europe can be sweltering, so avoid heavy fabrics or cuts that will show unfortunate sweat patches.
Choose lightweight fabrics that travel well. For any summer wedding, you’ll want to opt for light, breathable fabrics. However, some summer favourites like cotton and linen are prone to creasing and will leave you searching for a steamer on the wedding morning. Blended fabrics are a good option (for men’s suits too) or summer-friendly materials like jersey, crepe, lyocell, or polyester. If you love the idea of a silk, opt for charmeuse, which is the most wrinkle-hardy of the silk family.
Choose a floral print. You really can’t go wrong with a floral print when it comes to spring or summer weddings. They’re always appropriate and pretty, work across a range of wedding styles and settings, and make a style statement without being too showy. They’re a summer wedding go-to for a reason!
Cover knees and shoulders for a church wedding. If the summer wedding in Europe that you’ll be attending will be in a church, especially a Catholic church, you should wear a dress that covers your knees and shoulders or bring a wrap that will do the job.
These tips will help get you started in finding the perfect wedding guest outfit for that summer wedding in Europe. Happy shopping!
Slán go Fóill,
Images by Brosnan Photographic