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What to wear to a wedding during a pandemic

What to wear to a wedding during a pandemic

Weddding fashion 101

Text: Kelly Lim

Image: Instagram
Image: Getty Images

As invitations arrive, here's a cheat sheet to wedding guest outfit ideas for different types of ceremonies

Weddings are back, baby! After over a year of lockdowns and saving dream dates, wedding season is back in full swing (albeit with SOPs and precautions put in place), and we're all left with a question we haven't had to ask ourselves in a while: What do I wear? After months in comfort-first clothing and with ceremonies being smaller and more intimate than before, how does one prepare for the return of such a momentous occasion? The pandemic has shaken things up but it doesn't mean that you should skimp on attire. But on that note, it's also worth thinking about longevity––one-hit-wonders should be things of the past so it's ideal to find an outfit that'll fit into your wardrobe nicely and can be worn more than just once. 

Not sure where to start? Whether you're attending an outdoor reception or looking for alternative 'fits that go beyond a dress, we've got you covered. Ahead, read on our tips and pick of wedding guest ensembles for every type of ceremony. 

What to keep in mind: 

  • Unless the dress code allows it (e.g. all-white or black tie), refrain from wearing white or black––especially if you're attending a Chinese or Indian wedding as these colours signify mourning.
  • Follow the dress code. You may also use the venue as a guide: An outdoor wedding in the mountains will be different from what you wear to an evening celebration inside a ritzy ballroom. While Malaysia boasts a tropical climate, the season of the wedding may also give further fashion insight. Summer weddings usually lean towards shorter styles with brighter, pastel colours, while fall weddings may cater to richer fabrics like silk or velvet and jewel hues.
  • This one's a given: Comfort is important but leave the flip-flops, denim, T-shirt and shorts (ah-hem, men) at home. Weddings may have less rules than before, but still try to be somewhat dressy, even if you're attending a beach ceremony. If dresses aren't for you, there are still plenty of alternative, tasteful wedding guest outfits to wear, such as a soft-tailored suit or an elegant all-in-one jumpsuit.
  • If you're opting for a floor-length gown, make sure hemlines graze the ground––you don't want to be the one that makes the most memorable entrance by stepping on the fabric and tripping. 
  • Weddings are also generally family-friendly so keep it modest. If the ceremony is taking place in a church or maintains more conservative attire, be respectful of that and bring along a shawl or jacket to cover your shoulders when applicable (also handy for chilly AC-filled receptions in hotels).
  • More on how to win best-dressed wedding guest here

What to wear if you're attending...

A city soirée

Celebrations in the city are usually a ballroom affair, meaning it's best to go all out and get glammed up. Whether you're attending a cocktail-style reception or a more formal black-tie banquet, opt for elevated statements with fine details, rich fabrics and vibrant colours to say cheers to the new couple in style. And steer clear of anything that looks like you're going to a club. 

A green gathering

Outdoor ceremonies can range from intimate backyard gatherings to elaborate spreads surrounded by lush gardens and fountains. Whatever the venue, the botanical theme is always romantic and pretty easy to nail––feminine, floral attire are a natural choice, but you can also go for lace or dressy jumpsuits for a more relaxed, chic vibe. 

A beachside getaway

For the shore-side celebration, the beach element means that you can think a bit more cool and comfy when dressing for the event. Pick light, breathable fabrics, fun prints and simple, dressy staples for an effortless yet refined wedding guest look. 

READ: All of Jane Chuck's bridal looks at her dream beach wedding in Greece

A traditional ceremony 

For more traditionally cultural or religious weddings, traditional dress (e.g. Baju Kurung/Kebaya for Malay weddings) is your easiest bet. If you're going for something alternative, opt for modest dressing that is smart casual or more dressy depending on how formal the ceremony is. Bright, festive coloured ensembles are highly encouraged for Indian celebrations, while purples, pinks, and warm tones are good options for Chinese weddings as those shades represent the new life the couple will embark on. 

Read more wedding-related stories here