Dear Kathi,

I am going to a wedding in Florida next month. I’m not sure of the dress code and can’t decide what to wear. Its an evening wedding and my husband is the best man. I have a sleeveless black dress and don’t know if it is appropriate to wear black to a wedding. Do I need to buy another outfit?

Cathy, Cardiff by the Sea


I need to know more details about the wedding to offer you solid advice. Will the ceremony be held inside or outside, on the beach or in a church? These details help to define the formality of the wedding. Black is not the optimum safe choice but with some investigation, you might be safe.

If this is a formal wedding with more than one attendant, staged in upscale surroundings (not beachside) and in the evening, your black dress will probably be fine.

Is your husband wearing a regular tuxedo, tux with tails or a suit? If your husband is wearing a tuxedo, the bride will probably wear a long gown. This is almost guaranteed if his tuxedo has tails.

You never want to upstage the bride. Is your dress knee or floor length? If she isn’t wearing a floor length gown than you can’t either. Even if she is wearing a floor length gown, it is still much more appropriate to wear a knee or shin length dress.

You haven’t told me how formal your dress is. Is it a tuxedo dress, casual cotton or evening gown? I would recommend a classically tailored knee-length dress.

Keep in mind that you can change the formality of your outfit with jewelry and shoes. Less glitz is better, because again, you never want to outshine the bride. Wear a classic style and don’t overdo the “bling” factor. Let the bride take center stage while you remain elegant and understated. Everyone will be pleased with the results.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

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