How to Dress for a Fall Wedding + 12 Dresses You Can Wear

Blue Floral Dress + Navy Cardigan + Gold Clutch + Gold Earrings + Maroon Pumps
Navy Cardigan + Navy and Floral Dress + Maroon Pumps + Gold Earrings + Gold Clutch
Gold Clutch + Navy Floral Dress + Navy Cardigan + Gold Earrings + Nude Pumps
Gold Earrings + Navy Cardigan + Navy Floral Dress + Maroon Pumps + Gold Clutch
Navy Cardigan + Gold Earrings + Navy and Floral Dress
I get asked quite a bit for help with what to wear to a fall wedding, so let’s talk!  All of the fall weddings I’ve been to have been outdoors, including one in upstate New York where unlike in Southern California where I live, fall is a true fall.  It was 46 degrees and the ceremony was outside!  (I wore THIS–the leggings version–in case you’re wondering.)  While the scenery is beautiful, being outdoors during fall evenings is much chillier than spring and summer which makes it tricker to dress for.

Today I want to share a few tips as well as go-to combos to keep in mind that will help you add layers while still looking chic and sharp for a wedding.  Today’s post is also in partnership with ModCloth as I believe they have the best selection of wedding guest attire, spanning from semi-casual to semi-formal to fancier dresses.  They’ve got it all!

I’ve been to over 40 weddings (!!!), and I can safely say that guests’ attire is all over the map, even at the same wedding.  Unless a dress code is explicitly stated, usually a safe bet is a semiformal dress, or in some more casual settings a semi casual dress.  (The 12 dress options at the bottom of this post fall into one of those categories.)  As for fall, below are the things I look for in dresses and how I style them.

Shop for the Look:
Dress: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing M)
Cardigan: c/o ModCloth (exact–wearing M)
Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact)
Clutch: Amazon (similar
Shoes: c/o Naturalizer (exact–wearing 8.5, similarsimilar)

Characteristics to Look For
  • Colors – In the fall I lean towards jewel tones or darker hues like navy, maroon, and forest green.  
  • Fabric – I also look for dresses with thicker or weightier fabrics than the airy material summer dresses are made of.  Lace is very versatile and works well in multiple seasons, but there are plenty of non-lace dresses with medium weight material out there.  (See examples at the bottom this post.)  A weightier fabric feels like a more appropriate match for the season of boots, plaid, chunky scarves and other thicker textures, but it’s also practical because it keeps you warmer.
  • Bonus – A dress with long sleeves!  
  • Can pair with tights + booties or heels + a blazer or cardigan or faux leather jacket.  Layering might be necessary in fall temps, especially if it’s an outdoor wedding.  When considering a dress for a fall wedding I always make sure I can pair it with the list bolded above.  

Go-To Combos for Layering Fall Wedding Guest Dresses
  • Black fleece lined tights + black booties + black blazer or black faux leather jacket.  Most of the time I prefer blazers and faux leather jackets to cardigans because they keep the look sharp.  If I know I’ll need to wear tights, I default to this combo and try to choose a dress that works with all this black.  This is my default partially because I only own fleece lined tights in black (and fleece lined tights are way warmer!) and it’s easier to think through black than varying shades of brown/cognac/tan.  Options 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9 below would work with this combo.  (Example HERE–2nd photo down, sans black moto jacket.)
  • Tan/Brown suede pumps + cognac faux leather jacket + bare legs.  If I can go bare legs, I opt for this one which works again with Options 1, 2, 4, 6, and 9 but also opens possibilities up to 7, 8, 10, and 11.  You can totally wear brown tights with this, but I find that it doesn’t always work as seamlessly as the all black combo above with tights.  (Example HERE that I wore to a wedding in January, which for where I live is more like fall weather everywhere else.)
  • Mixing and matching with color play.  The two go-to’s listed above work without fail and with very little thought while this third one shouldn’t really be a go-to.  (I just included it to name it as an option.)  It requires much more playing around with color for all the variables: tights, shoes, and completer pieces.  (Example is outfit I’m wearing in the pics at the top of this post.)

Typically I stick with the first two combo because they’re the easiest, but I’m loving today’s outfit, which falls into the third category.  As an aside, the dress I’m wearing above is FREAKING ADORABLE!  It’s lined which is helpful since it is sleeveless and the lining makes it warmer.  It also has POCKETS, which makes every dress 1,000% better!  Not to mention the details like embroidery, gold buttons, and pink piping make it absolutely gorgeous.  Lastly, it’s button-front and great for breastfeeding mamas!  It is on the more expensive side for dresses, but with its level of details I believe it’s worth it.  I can totally imagine this dress at another store costing much, much more.  I’m wearing it in size M, and sizing goes from XXS to 4X!  See it HERE.  
Remember how I just said that I prefer blazers and moto jackets to keep the look sharp?  Well sometimes neither of those work as well as a cardigan, but I often have a hard time with cardigans making nice fitted dresses droopy or lose shape.  The solution?  A cropped cardigan!  A cropped cardigan is usually better at defining a waist with dresses and skirts and keeps the look more tailored.  They are not easy to find, but ModCloth has them in 8 colors ranging from XXS to 4X HERE.  
Dress Options for Fall Weddings
What to wear to a Fall Wedding
Shop the Items:
one  |  two  |  three
four  |  five  |  six
seven  |  eight  |  nine
ten  |  eleven  |  twelve

Huge thanks to ModCloth for sponsoring this post!


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