This time last year I was anticipating flying home to Georgia to attend the fall wedding of a dear friend’s daughter. I remember learning then that October is actually the second most popular month for weddings. In fact, my 23-year-old daughter attended a wedding three out of the four Saturdays that month.
I’ve had several readers write to me lately asking for suggestions for what to wear to autumn weddings of all kinds. A couple needed tips for formal weddings, one said her granddaughter would marry in a semi-formal afternoon church wedding in October and one reader wrote to me about a wedding in a rustic barn for which she was instructed to wear her “most adored dressy and comfortable outfit.” Ha! Now that’s a new and interesting dress code!
I love weddings, and I think maybe my favorite time for weddings really is fall. The colors for fall weddings are usually rich, deep, earthy and jewel toned. The weather is often crisp and beckons you to wear longer sleeves, heavier fabrics and more substantial wraps. Indeed, this is a great season to attend a dear friend or family member’s celebration.
So I have put together three unique suggestions for three different types of fall weddings: casual, cocktail hour and formal. Of course, you may not find an exact match among my selections for the wedding you’ll be attending. These days they vary so much. That’s why you’ll want to adapt my suggestions to your anticipated event’s venue, time of day and theme, as well as any unique specifications made by the bride and groom.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong with asking the mother of the bride or the groom or the couple themselves to make suggestions about the guests’ attire. You can simply ask a few questions like, “Do you anticipate people dressing formally or casually for the wedding?” or “How do you envision the guests being dressed?”
With the realization that every wedding is unique these days, let’s see what I put together for casual settings, weddings around the cocktail hour and formal ceremonies and receptions.
What to Wear to a Casual Fall Wedding
If the wedding and/or reception is being held outside, in a rustic barn or other more casual venue, you definitely have room for interpretation of the dress code. That might sound like a good thing, but as in the case with my reader who was told to wear “an adored and dressy outfit,” too much license can also lead to more confusion.
I think the secret to dressing appropriately for a casual wedding is to 1) err on the side of over-dressing, not under-dressing and 2) own it. Choose your dress or outfit, select some flattering and coordinating accessories you love and then wear your ensemble with confidence and grace. This day isn’t about you anyhow, huh. So just look your best and wear something that feels right to you.
Here are a few ensembles that I think would look lovely for a casual fall wedding.
This is the time to wear deep, autumnal colors. You can wear three-quarter or full length sleeves and perhaps get by without a wrap or coat. Or if you prefer to wear a sleeveless or short sleeved dress, you can still do that. You may just need to add a shawl, dressy cardigan or coat.
I love the red georgette dress above because it looks feminine and festive, but it’s definitely easy-going and comfortable, too. By the way, you’ll find that I included selections from all price points in this post. This dress is one of the pricier ones, but it would be so worth it if the wedding your attending is special to you. I’ve paired the dress with red suede slingback Vince Camuto pumps, but you could easily wear nude pumps as well. I do think suede is such a nice nod to the autumn season, though.
Yes, you can wear florals and prints to weddings. And while I might not pick anything too bold, exotic or modern for an afternoon church wedding, the call really is yours. Remember, choose it and own it. I love using this navy metallic box clutch and the Fiji pink suede pumps to accentuate the rich jewel tones in this modern floral high/low dress by Eliza J.
Of course, you don’t have to wear a dress to a wedding. I think most of us probably still feel more appropriately attired in a dress at a wedding, but more and more we’re seeing women wear pants or jumpsuits like this one. If you select a sleeveless number like this one, you’ll probably want to wear something with sleeves over it. I’d suggest a sharp navy blazer or something like this dressy cardigan.
What to Wear to A Cocktail Hour Fall Wedding
Now, I don’t necessarily mean that all weddings in this category include cocktails beforehand. Here I’m simply referring to weddings that are held before evening, but have a more formal atmosphere than the casual weddings mentioned above. These are often church weddings that conclude with simply cake and punch or maybe some appetizers. Or maybe it’s a wedding held in another venue, but the reception is simple and the dress code is not formal.
Honestly, this dress would probably not work for me. I’m tall, and the unique hemline would probably leave me feeling exposed. But it’s a lovely dress and it might work for some of you. I love the deep eggplant purple. And I think this Eliza J bell sleeve dress looks best paired with soft toned accessories and some understated, but dazzling earrings.
This is a little edgier ensemble. I would probably select this outfit if the wedding were at venue such as a hotel, museum or even that rustic barn. The classy navy jumpsuit paired with metallic accessories and mismatched earrings has an artsy vibe.
I would consider this purple ruffle sleeve sheath dress to be the more classic of these three picks. I like it paired with silver accessories, but it would work equally well with gold or nude patent leather or even animal print pumps.
What to Wear to a Formal Fall Wedding
Very rarely do I attend a truly formal wedding, where not only the bridal party wears formal attire but the guests are expected or encouraged to as well. However, it does happen. And during the cooler months the selections are teeming with deep colors, rich fabrics and bold prints.
Unless otherwise specified, your “formal wedding” attire does not have to include a long dress. This burgundy lace sheath dress is elegant enough without a full length skirt. But you can ensure that the ensemble is elevated to formal attire by accessorizing with shimmering gold accessories.
Isn’t this surplice stretch crepe gown in burgundy just elegant? It has a v-neck in the back, too. This is a little pricier option, but simply stunning. It’s classic and understated, but so appropriate for a formal fall wedding. Add some shimmering faux diamonds and gold accessories to sparkle.
Finally, I think this bold floral print gown in burgundy and charcoal is a stunner. It features a plunging (not too plunging, though) v-neck in the back. I’d simply add glistening black accessories with simple but dazzling stud earrings. You could also add a coordinating bracelet.
I’ve included a shopping widget that has most of the styles mentioned above as well as others in each category. I hope you found some inspiration here for your fall wedding. Let me know if you have questions or special considerations that you’d like a second opinion on. I’m no expert, but I do love thinking through the process of putting together an outfit.
I have used affiliate links in this post for your shopping ease. In fact, all of today’s links are to Nordstrom. I’ve not partnered with Nordstrom for the post, but I think Nordstrom is the best place to shop online when you’re planning to try several things on and then return the items you didn’t choose. They have such an amazing return policy, and they offer free shipping and returns. So that’s why I featured all Nordstrom selections today. When you shop through the affiliate links I earn a little bit of commission. Thank you for supporting Dressed for My Day that way. I appreciate you reading, commenting, shopping, sharing and subscribing. Not a subscriber yet? Let’s take care of that right here.
Have a blessed and beautiful day!
Blessed for My Day
Do you ever worry? That’s a silly question. We all worry from time to time. But when we worry and fret that we will not have what we need, we testify that God is not enough. Today let’s rest easy in our God’s provision. Let’s trust that when we get there…we’ll have exactly what we need. Let’s rest assured that He has gone before us and He knows our needs better than we do. I pray that you and I would be able to cease from worry today and instead praise Him for always providing graciously, generously and exactly at the right time.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ~ Romans 8:32