The search for the perfect engagement party outfit for guests is not limited to the reception. In many cases, intimate friends and family of the couple will be asked to an engagement party months or years before the wedding. Celebrating the happy couple with a glass of champagne is excellent, but it might be challenging to decide what to wear.
Guests of an engagement party might not know if the same rules for wedding attire apply, making it hard to know whether to dress casually or formally. While engagement parties are often more relaxed than wedding receptions, you may need to dress up more than expected if the hosts are going all out. Viva Wedding Photography has some beautiful tips and outfit ideas to consider, so check out our post now!
Engagement party attire etiquette for guests
Before we jump in on what to wear to an engagement party as a guest, it’s crucial to remember that there are no hard and fast rules regarding engagement party guest dress. Having said that, there are some etiquette norms to follow:
Avoid wearing white
Although it’s not their wedding night, it is still a wedding-related event, and white should be reserved for the guests of honor. The bride-to-be will likely don the hue for her first celebration as an engaged person. Thus, wearing it yourself may be considered purely out of disrespect for her.
You should also avoid other traditional bridal colors, such as champagne or pale pink, in case the newlywed fiancée opts for an off-white variant.
Follow the dress code recommendation
While not all couples may have a dress code for their engagement party, it is considered a golden rule of thumb to adhere to any specified guidelines to the best of your ability.
In the absence of a particular dress code, it is safe to assume that business professional attire would be suitable. If you prefer not to ask the couple directly, you can also consider reaching out to their family and friends.
Be careful when choosing jeans
Jeans are generally a no-go when it comes to engagement party dresses for guests, but the appropriate style may depend on the venue. For instance, if the event is taking place at a pub, a suitable outfit for a man could consist of dark jeans paired with a nice shirt and jacket. Similarly, a woman could opt for a formal top. Don’t go for lighter and distressed jeans, as they can give off a more casual vibe.
Don’t dress too bold
As a guest, your objective is to honor and celebrate the special couple. Therefore, it is important to avoid wearing an extravagant outfit that may draw excessive attention and overshadow the event. The attention is supposed to be on the engaged couple, not you.
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Best Engagement party outfit for guests
Engagement party attire for women
1. Black And White Dress
A full white outfit is a big “Don’t,” but a little detail with white is OK. A black dress with white bows is a good choice, whether the occasion is a black tie or more casual.
2. Mixed-Color Outfit
Engagement party dresses for guest might also be a colorful block of several bright and vivid hues. Wearing an outfit like this to a classic cocktail party would be perfect.
Viva Wedding Tip
When wearing a mixed-color outfit, choosing colors that complement each other is essential. You could choose colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as blue and orange or green and red, or colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as pink and purple. Also, choose neutral accessories like black or nude shoes and a simple clutch or purse.
3. Unconventional Attire
Depending on your mood or personality, you may not feel like following the established tradition for this gathering. In this scenario, you might decide against wearing a dress to an engagement celebration. Wearing shorts or a jumpsuit may be more comfortable than slacks and a blouse.
4. Elegant Ruffles
When you think about how romantic this pre-wedding event is, a dress with ruffles or other feminine details is one of the greatest engagement party guest outfit ideas. Ruffled maxi dresses, which are also more flouncy, are perfect for a garden or brunch engagement party.
5. Bright Summer Sundress
A bright sundress is an excellent choice for an engagement party that isn’t as formal in the summer. This engagement party guest outfit looks like it belongs in a fairy tale. It would be great for a backyard barbecue or a formal high tea.
6. Fabulous Evening Dresses
Put on your best cocktail outfit and celebrate with a classy couple you know who are arranging a chic cocktail engagement party. Any silhouette that makes you look elegant and put together is perfect for a cocktail dress.
7. Fashionable Jumpsuits
Wear a jumpsuit to stand out at an engagement party without sacrificing style. If the party includes an outing, like going to a brewery or a botanical garden, jumpsuits are another great choice of engagement party guest outfit ideas. Look for a jumpsuit made from a lightweight, breathable fabric like cotton, linen, or silk. These fabrics will keep you cool and comfortable throughout the party.
Viva Wedding Tip
Depending on the weather and the party venue, you may want to layer your jumpsuit with a blazer, cardigan, or denim jacket. This can add extra dimension to your outfit and keep you warm if the temperature drops.
8. Floral Mini Dress
This feminine mini dress is the perfect choice for an engagement party inspired by a springtime soirée or country club brunch. It is made of layers of tulle and features delicate ruffle trims and sheer sleeves, adding a romantic touch to your outfit.
9. Sexy Dress For Nighttime Party
Don’t be surprised if your wild party animal friend throws their engagement party in a club, on a party bus, or anywhere similarly lit; everyone has at least one friend like that. Dress to impress at an engagement party by wearing your most daring evening gown, complete with a bodycon silhouette, nude illusions, sequins, and more!
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Engagement party attire for men
10. Tartan Suit Jacket
This tartan suit jacket, cut for a slimmer silhouette, is calling all you trendy dudes. That would go great with an engagement party in the summer. A tartan suit jacket can be a statement piece, so it’s best to keep the rest of your outfit understated. Pair it with a plain shirt, trousers, and shoes in neutral colors like black, grey, or navy blue.
11. Khaki Pants
These khakis, a pastel button-down, and a blazer would be great for an outdoor engagement or cocktail party by the water. The stretchy chino material will also keep you at ease day and night.
12. Gingham Shirt
This button-down shirt in a classic gingham print in teal will be perfect for any formal occasion. This formal shirt is perfect for any occasion and can be worn year-round with a blazer or jeans.
13. Slim-Fit Jeans With Basic Shirt
Enhancing your appearance for a pub wedding party is as easy as adding a few accessories. For a sharp look, pair dark indigo slim-fit jeans with a white, light blue, or striped oxford shirt. Wear it with an unstructured blazer, boots, or sneakers for a stylish look. Instead of a traditional wool blazer, go for a more relaxed shape in a neutral color like taupe or navy cotton. These engagement party dresses for guest will help you maintain a low-key but put-together appearance.
14. Shorts Combined With A Shirt
Nothing beats a Sunday barbecue in the backyard for a low-key engagement celebration. Combining a button-down collared shirt with fitted shorts in a striped or checked pattern can give your casual attire a more put-together look.
Here’s your chance to wear bright colors; try to find some shorts in a deep crimson, a deep blue, or a deep green. A cable knit sweater draped over the shoulder and a pair of boat shoes will complete the retro style. Wear stone or blue chinos throughout the fall and winter, and spice up your outfit with colorful sweaters and shirts. You may make your outfit stand out by including details like a canvas loop belt.
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Factors to consider when choosing what to wear to an engagement party
Now that you are aware of the important etiquette rules for guests’ attire at an engagement party, there are still a few aspects to consider to selecting the most suitable outfit.
Generally speaking, attire can be classified into four basic types:
- Formal or Black-tie optional
While most engagement parties are typically less formal, you should be prepared for any situation. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as overdressing.
A formal or black-tie optional dress code allows for a regular suit as well as an elegant dress or jumpsuit. Guests can wear either a tuxedo or a dark suit paired with dress pants and nice shoes. A floor-length gown is an appropriate choice for any formal event, but a midi-length dress, a dress that hits at the knee, or even a cocktail dress will also do the trick.
For this dress code, all you need to do is dress up today’s business professional attire a little bit. Men can choose to wear short sleeves or bring a coat or sweater, and ties are optional. Dresses are once again the norm for women, although a nice two-piece outfit would also work.
Dressing semi-formally means going a notch up from casual but not quite as fancy as cocktail clothes. Semi-formal is also known as ‘dressy casual,’ and the best way to understand how to dress is business casual with a touch of formality. Wrap dresses are stylish, while a suit without a tie could also be a suitable engagement party attire for guest.
This is clearly the most relaxed dress code, meaning that the options for what to wear to an engagement party as a guest are quite versatile. When attending an afternoon party, it is generally acceptable for men to forgo wearing a tie and leave the top buttons of their shirt undone.
Floral patterns are particularly appealing to women as they evoke a sense of romance and joy, making them a perfect dress for the occasion. You can choose a length that is either short or long, based on your personal comfort. We encourage the use of fun patterns and bright, light colors.
Keeping the venue in mind is crucial when planning an engagement party guest dress. It not only influences the level of formality for your attire but also affects your shoe choices, accessories, and outerwear. This is true whether the event takes place indoors or outdoors.
In most cases, when it comes to an event in a backyard or similar outdoor locations, the dress code tends to be casual unless specified otherwise on the invitation. Wearing heels at a backyard party may not be the best idea as they are likely to sink into the grass. Instead, opting for a wedge or block heel would be more optimal.
Men can dress casually for outdoor parties by wearing short-sleeved collared shirts or polos with boat shoes or loafers. A suit or a dress would be a better engagement party guest outfit for more formal venues.
What to wear to an engagement party as a guest in the heat of July is not going to be the same thing you choose for a celebration around Christmas time.
During the spring and summer seasons, we suggest experimenting with colors such as pastels and brighter shades. Neutral colors are always fashionable, but vibrant and colorful shades are particularly enjoyable during warm weather. You can also consider lighter fabrics, such as linen and seersucker, especially for the summer.
When attending fall and winter parties, it is important to dress appropriately for the cooler weather. This means that patterns and colors will have a slightly muted appearance, fabrics will be thicker, and sleeves and hems will be longer. For men, it is still advisable to consider wearing a suit or, for more casual events, a nice sweater or turtleneck. Sporting plaid and houndstooth patterns or solid, darker colors are also recommended.
We suggest lace patterns for women, which look great with a shawl. Another alternative is to use a single color. Go for a formal jumpsuit if you don’t want to wear a dress.
Time of Day
The time of day will also help you determine what to wear to an engagement party as a guest. For a daytime celebration, consider wearing a floral mini dress or a printed maxi dress paired with flat sandals. For men, wearing a classic button-down shirt, clean jeans, and a sports coat is appropriate. Daytime parties usually require lighter colors and can be categorized as either business casual or garden party attire.
While daytime events are usually more casual, evening gatherings tend to be more formal. You might want to wear formal attire for a night-time engagement party, such as a suit or heels.
>>> Further reading:
- Engagement Party Etiquette: A Guide For A Joyful Celebration
- Engagement Decorations: The Key To Creating A Memorable Party
- Engagement Gift Thank You Notes: 11 Examples and Tips
Choosing an appropriate engagement party outfit for guests will help you thoroughly enjoy all the joyful moments. The outfit doesn’t require any deep consideration. To dress, select an item that appeals to your sense of style. You don’t want to steal the spotlight from the bride and groom, so play it safe at the party. Viva Wedding Photography hopes you find the best outfit through our tips and suggestions.