Wedding attire etiquette can often feel like a minefield, with many factors to consider before settling on the perfect outfit. You often hear that you can’t wear this, you can’t wear that, and you need to be careful with another. So it begs the questions, can you wear a strapless dress to a wedding?
The short answer is that yes, you can wear a strapless dress to a wedding. However, there is a bit more to it than that. You’ve got to consider the formality of the wedding, the location, the season, and the overall style of the bride and groom.
So to help you choose the perfect strapless dress for the next wedding you’ll be attending, we’ve put together a massive guide. We’ll take you through our best tips, tricks and general styling advice to help you own the look.
3 Factors to Consider When Wearing a Strapless Dress to a Wedding
If you’ve now made the decision to wear a strapless dress to a wedding, there are a handful of factors to first think about. These are important as they’ll really dictate the style and formality of your strapless dress.
Dress Code and Formality of the Wedding
First up is the formality and dress code of the wedding. Most invites will usually give you an indication on the dress code but, if yours doesn’t you can either consider the style based on who the bride and groom is, or even just ask them.
Black-tie and formal weddings
For black-tie or formal weddings, a strapless dress can be an elegant choice, especially if it’s a full-length gown. Ensure that the dress is made from high-quality materials like silk or satin to match the sophistication of the event.
Semi-formal and cocktail attire weddings
A strapless cocktail dress can work wonderfully for semi-formal weddings. Opt for knee-length or midi styles in tasteful colours to strike the right balance between casual and refined.
Casual weddings allow for more freedom in dress choice, so a strapless dress in a fun print or relaxed fabric can be a great option. This is probably the only time where a shorter strapless dress is appropriate, though don’t rule out semi-formal knee-length options either.
The Wedding Venue
Outside of wedding formality, the next point to think about is that of the venue. While strapless dresses are appropriate for most wedding venues, there are some where you’ll need to be a little more conservative than others.
Church or religious ceremonies
Some religious venues may require more modest attire, so it’s essential to check if a strapless dress is appropriate. If in doubt, consider bringing a shawl or wrap to cover your shoulders during the ceremony.
This then gives you the freedom of still rocking the strapless dress during the reception.
For outdoor weddings, a strapless dress can be a lovely choice, especially in warm weather. Consider the terrain and choose a hemline that won’t drag on the ground or risk getting damaged.
Beach or destination weddings
A strapless dress is an ideal choice for beach weddings, as it’s both stylish and comfortable in warm, tropical climates. Opt for lightweight fabrics and breezy silhouettes to stay cool and chic.
Season and Climate
And lastly, it’s also important to think about what the weather is going to be like on the day. There’s a vast difference without how you accessorise a strapless dress during summer compared to winter.
Strapless dresses are perfect for summer weddings, as they keep you cool while still looking elegant. Choose light, breathable fabrics and bright colors or florals to celebrate the season.
For winter weddings, a strapless dress can still work if paired with appropriate cover-ups and accessories. Velvet or heavier fabrics can add warmth, and adding a faux fur wrap or stylish coat can keep you cosy and sophisticated.
Spring and Autumn weddings
During transitional seasons, layering is key. A strapless dress can be versatile and comfortable for spring and fall weddings when paired with a light shawl or cardigan.
How to Style a Strapless Dress for a Wedding
So, you’ve chosen your strapless dress and made sure it’s appropriate for the particular wedding you’ll be wearing it to. Next step, styling.
These are our most important tips when it comes to effectively styling your strapless dress.
The first, and perhaps most important, aspect of styling your strapless wedding dress is to consider how you’ll accessorise it. As it’s possible to both subtly, and loudly, change how your dress comes across based on what accessories you’re pairing with it.
When wearing a strapless dress, let your neckline take centre stage with a statement necklace or a delicate pendant. Then extend it by pairing it with simple earrings and bracelets for a balanced look.
Choose shoes that complement the dress and are comfortable enough for hours of dancing. However, your neckline and shoulders should be the centre of attention here, so we’d recommend going with a shoe that isn’t too extravagant and doesn’t draw too much attention. Depending on the colour of your dress, nude heels are almost always a great option.
But also don’t forget to consider the wedding venue and opt for heels or flats accordingly.
A small clutch or a chic crossbody bag can complete the ensemble, providing a functional yet fashionable accessory. Make sure you choose one that has a petite strap or chain to ensure that it doesn’t cover your shoulders or neckline when worn.
Layering and Cover-ups
Beyond accessorising, the next element of styling is all based centred around your layering and cover-up options. Though this is more so applicable for the cooler months.
Shawls and wraps
A shawl or wrap can be an elegant way to cover your shoulders if needed. Choose a material and colour that complements your strapless dress for a cohesive look.
Cardigans and boleros
For a more casual vibe, a lightweight cardigan or a tailored bolero can be a lovely addition to a strapless dress, adding both warmth and style.
Blazers and jackets
A sleek blazer or a cropped jacket can elevate a strapless dress, creating a polished and modern look. Choose a complementary colour or a contrasting hue to make a statement.
Hair and Makeup Considerations
And lastly, your choice of hair and makeup style can also impact the overall look and style of your strapless dress. We recommend sticking to the following hairstyle and makeup to allow the dress to really shine.
With a strapless dress, an elegant updo can highlight the neckline, shoulders, and upper-back to create a sophisticated appearance.
We recommend opting for a classic chignon, a loose bun, or a braided hairstyle to accentuate the dress. If you are planning on this, consider changing up your daily hair care routine to include hair serums on the lead up to your wedding day.
Soft, natural makeup
This is where it’s really easy to take too much spotlight away from the neckline and strapless dress. So try not to go overboard with the makeup. Instead, a soft, natural look can beautifully complement a strapless dress.
Choose neutral eyeshadow shades, a hint of blush, and a subtle lip colour for a balanced and polished finish.
Alternative Options to Strapless Dresses
And if you’re not sure if a strapless dress is right for you, there are multiple alternatives to consider that will still look elegant and show a bit of skin around the neckline.
A one-shoulder dress is an excellent alternative to a strapless dress. They look great and offer a very similar silhouette to a strapless dress, but with more support and overall coverage.
The next option, which is just as styles, is an off-the-shoulder dress. This is a great alternative if you’re wanting to show some of your neckline and shoulders while having a bit more support than a standard strapless dress.
Cap-sleeve dresses offer a delicate and feminine look while providing slightly more coverage than a strapless dress. But they do this without sacrificing style and while style allowing you to showcase a tough of your neckline.
Spaghetti strap dresses
And if you’re a fan of the strapless dress look but just prefer having additional support and comfort, then a spaghetti strap dress is a gorgeous option.
A strapless dress can be a beautiful and suitable choice for a wedding, but it is important to consider factors such as the dress code, venue, and season. With proper styling, accessorising, and layering, a strapless dress can be both fashionable and comfortable.
Remember to consider the unique aspects of each wedding and prioritise feeling confident and comfortable in your outfit.