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What to wear to a fall wedding

What To Wear To A Fall Wedding | The Golden Girl Blog

Pumps: Sam Edelman (comes in 16 colors/patterns!), Earrings: Old Kendra Scott (Their Wedding jewelry line has beautiful similar styles!)

**Please excuse the Christmas background–these are old photos! I was going to re-shoot the dress so the background was current, but then figured that was ridiculous and you guys wouldn’t mind bc you’re the best, right?! Above: My favorite dress that was my go-to for weddings and holiday parties last season is back in stock here (this color is no longer available, but it comes in black, navy, hunter green and white!) and is perfect for this wedding season! (Side note- if you want to snag this dress in a summery hue for warm-weather occasions, it’s half off in three dreamy colors right now! 

I can’t believe we’re officially in Fall wedding season! I’ve received questions from several of you asking for fall wedding guest attire ideas, so I’ve updated my seasonal wedding wear guide to reflect all my favorite picks for fall — along with some advice on wedding attire guidelines, if you missed them the first time around!


These days, I feel like the “seasonally appropriate” lines have been blurred. For example, you can still wear florals, polka dots, bold prints and lace in the colder months — they just need to have more of a “fall undertone.” Instead of bright florals, go for dark, moody floral. Instead of pastel lace, go for a dark burgundy or emerald lace. In lieu of hot pink, opt for dusty rose. Make sense?

Personally, I think as long as something doesn’t scream “AHHHH SUMMMERRRRR!” then you’re fine!

Take the dress I’m wearing above — it’s lace, but it works because it’s such a fall/winter hue. I wore it to holiday events and a winter wedding! (It sold out fast so I’m so glad they re-stocked it this year! It’s SO flattering! Heads up: it is quite small in the ribcage, so size up if you’re on the fence.) 

Favorite places to shop for wedding guest dresses: Nordstrom (where I shop most often) has a huge selection of wedding guest dresses, as does Bloomingdales (I love their AQUA line that is really affordable!) Shopbop also has some really beautiful unique dresses for both cocktail and evening — a lot of their price points are on the expensive side, but the trick is to sort from lowest to highest! I also recently got some dresses from And Other Stories and they are so beautiful and different! Finally, its hard to beat ASOS‘ selection and prices!


Anytime an invitation does not specify that the attire is black tie, you can assume the attire is cocktail. Now, there are definitely several different types of cocktail dresses — some are more glitzy and great for a more formal wedding, some are more breezy and floral and great for a destination wedding. Essentially, the phrase “cocktail attire” means “nice” dresses that aren’t formal gowns. (A nice jumpsuit can work, too, as long as it’s a formal one that you wear with nice shoes, like this!)
Or, look at it this way — if you would feel overdressed wearing it to a luncheon and underdressed wearing it to a gala — that’s cocktail attire! Shorter above-the-knee, fit and flares, or midi length dresses are appropriate here. You can also go with maxi dresses that are less formal and more casual, but still chic! Back in the day, the term “cocktail” used to mean shorter dresses, but it’s not taken so literally today, and you can make any length you’d like work for pretty much any occasion!

Shop cocktail dresses + jumpsuits:

Lace Midi Dress ASTR THE LABEL
**Please excuse the Christmassy background–remember these are old photos I took last Christmas ?


Black Tie and Black Tie Optional weddings are usually a fun time to spring for a gown. The “optional” part just means that you don’t HAVE to wear a gown, and that a cocktail dress is OK too. (I mean, aside from your own wedding dress, how often do you get an excuse to wear a gown like this? So that’s fun!) Midi dresses are also totally fine for black tie optional, as are shorter dresses — you just want to make sure they’re dressier than something you’d, say, wear to an afternoon wedding at a country club. When in complete doubt, go with a black dress like this onethis one, this one or this one, that will serve you for any kind of attire for any season, from cocktail through black tie.


If you do decide to go with a formal gown, renting it is also a great option. You never want to spend hundreds of dollars on something you know you might not get the chance to wear ever again! Plus, who wants a long gown taking up closet space anyway? I love Rent the Runway and usually go that route when it comes to black tie attire. They have a decent selection (just try and plan ahead if you can because a lot of the good dresses get booked out) and I really love that you can sort by price, occasion, and there are also lots of photos that real women have uploaded wearing the dress — which is perhaps the most helpful of all!
You can find a lot of affordable options (designer dresses to rent for under $100!) plus, they send two sizes just in case. One thing I will say to keep in mind though: have a backup. I’ve never NEEDED a backup, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to a formal occasion.
Of course, your backup might not be something you’re super EXCITED to wear (that one black dress you’ve worn to like 5 other weddings already will totally suffice), but if all else fails and your rental dress won’t zip, you will feel better having SOMETHING to fall back on.

More of my favorite black tie/black tie optional dresses below:


One thing to note is that if the wedding is during the day, you can get away with dressing a little less formal than if it were at night. Also consider the setting — while a barn, backyard, garden, glitzy hotel and country club wedding might all suggest “cocktail” attire, for example, you can easily feel great wearing a more casual floral dress to one, whereas you’ll probably feel underdressed wearing that to a swanky hotel downtown. Also, it’s always a good idea to bring a wrap like this one just in case it gets chilly!

Lace Midi Dress ASTR THE LABEL



You will rarely see me at a fall/winter wedding not wearing a pair of nude or black heels — 9 times out of 10, they’re the most ideal choice! Invest in one good pair that you’ll wear all wedding season long for years to come. I’m including my favorites below!

And we can’t forget the age old question: Can you wear flats to a wedding? Of course you can! I prefer flats with a pointer toe, as I think they’re more dressy and refined. You can even go with some beaded or sparkly flats if that’s your style! Check out my picks below!


A trusty pashmina comes in handy whether you’re under the stars at an autumn barn wedding or in a chilly hotel ballroom. Plus, it’s nice to have something to cover your shoulders for a church ceremony if you’re wearing a strapless or thin-strapped dress!


You always want to decide which elements of your outfit are the star of the show. Are you wearing a simple black dress? You can go bolder with a statement earring. Do you have a beautiful dramatic gown? Go with a simple pair of studs. Are your shoes doing the talking? Go simple everywhere else. Throw in too many dramatic elements, and it can go south really quickly! Regardless of which direction you go with, I’m adding some of my favorites below!


Just like jewelry, I am in the camp of “less is more” with a handbag. A neutral colored clutch and a black clutch is all you need! Don’t feel like you have to go crazy! Honestly, I prefer beaded vintage clutches (find some in your favorite vintage store!), but I’ve listed some beautiful ones below too!