How To Decode Every Fall Wedding Dress Code

The days may be getting shorter, but wedding season is still very much in full swing. In fact, fall weddings are on the rise. Brides recently reported that of the top 10 most popular weddings dates in 2018, nine of them take place after August, and the number-one most popular date is October 20. (My calendar is clear that day, if anyone needs a plus one.)

If you’re like me and are clueless about how to get dressed during transitional seasons — even on a normal weekday — you may be panicking just a little over what to wear to a fall wedding. But actually, the cooler temperatures allow for so many more options than in summer. You don’t have to worry about boiling up in something long-sleeved. You can pull off richer, darker colors (or black!) without looking morose.

Oh, and if you do want to rewear that summery romper you wore to a wedding in July, go for it. Just throw a cute bomber or denim jacket over it and opt for booties instead of open-toed sandals.

If you’re still clueless, here are a few outfit suggestions based on venue and overall vibe. Don’t worry: You’re going to look great.

Apple Orchard Affair

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Despite the risk of chilly weather, people still love to throw an outdoor wedding in the fall. And with stunning foliage as a backdrop, who can blame them? If you’re headed to a picturesque venue like an apple orchard or winery, wear something light and airy that has long sleeves. This is also a great opportunity to bust out your boots. You’ll look great and be covered for the evening temperature drop.

City Hall Ceremony (And Bar Afterparty)

Asos

OK, so your close buds are tying the knot downtown at City Hall, and they've invited you to be a witness. This is official business — the kind that calls for a power pantsuit. A festive pattern like polka dots will add a celebratory touch. And pants will give you the freedom to really move later on at the bar afterparty.

Fancy Black-Tie Affair

Anthropologie

If you’re lucky enough to score an invite to a black-tie or black-tie-optional wedding, I say go big or go home. And by big, I mean long. Choose a dramatic floor-length dress in a jewel tone like emerald. With such a formal outfit, you can keep your hair fresh and natural and add a pair of fun earrings to complete the look.

Laid-Back Brewery Celebration

Coach

Brewery weddings are very trendy right now, so obviously you have to look cool. This is the perfect opportunity to pair a classic fall leather jacket with a floral dress. Breweries tend to be a little chilly inside (it’s good for the beer equipment), so the jacket will help with that while still being easily tossed when you work up a sweat dancing.

Rustic Farmhouse Reception

Modcloth

For a wedding in a rustic farmhouse or historical estate, opt for a vintage look to complement your surroundings. Something velvet or lace should do the trick. Just make sure someone takes a pic of you posing in front of a barn door — nothing like proper staging to rake in the likes.

Spooky Soirée

Spring

Maybe you know someone getting married the last week of October. And maybe they didn’t explicitly say it was a costume party, but they didn’t not say it either. OK, so maybe don’t wear an actual costume (unless you’re going as Cersei Lannister, because she does have excellent formal wear). However, if there was ever a time for black lace, this is it — there is no other option. Dress accordingly.