You’re 50 years young and have been invited to a wedding. You breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not yours. All you need to do is make a guest appearance. How hard can that be? Speaking of appearance, what are you going to wear? Rummaging through your closet for inspiration you toss potential candidates into a pile until it becomes a heap of nostalgia. What do wedding guests over 50 wear to weddings these days? Vintage? Is that a thing? Sure, it’s a thing, but is it the right thing? You’ve survived half-century and have earned the right to wear whatever the heck you want, right? At your wedding, yes. But we’re not doing that again, remember? Take a deep breath and don’t forget to exhale. We will get through this together.

No. White. Shoes.

Don’t. It’s a rare occasion you will ever need white dress shoes after the age of six. If white shoes are lurking in your closet, dispose of them immediately. This goes for everyone over six. No exceptions.

Choose neutral colors instead. Black shoes are the best default. You can never go wrong with a pair of classic black dress shoes. No stilettos or combat boots until you're safely off wedding grounds.

black strappy sandals cream colored purse SomeMeans / Getty Images


Dress for the season

Spring and Summer weddings call for light breathable fabric. Short-sleeved cotton and linen-fitted dresses or pantsuits with a classic style look best.

Unless you live in the tropics, fall and winter weddings require more coverage. Hypothermia doesn’t look good on anyone so dress appropriately. You can still wear cotton and linen but consider sweater knits, soft wool, and angora. Opt for longer sleeves, shoulder wraps, fitted sweater dresses, or pantsuits.

Mature woman in formal blue dress Igor Alecsander / Getty Images


Color don'ts

Everyone, please listen up. Unless you’re a guest at a gothic or funeral-themed wedding, try to avoid saturating yourself in black. It’s depressing, even at funerals.

Guys, for the love of all that is holy, step away from your Hawaiian print shirts unless you’re attending a tropical-themed wedding.

And just to be on the safe side, unless you’re the bride, you are forbidden to wear white without written consent from the bride herself. If you can’t follow this rule, just march on over to your closet and make a burn pile of everything white.

Wedding party at dinner - the bridal couple in the background


Color do's

Spring and Summer weddings are your opportunity to wear sweet creamy and dreamy colors. Think candy. But not Christmas candy. Colors can be bold but keep these solid and accent with accessories for a little extra interest. If you must wear patterns, choose simple designs that are easy on the eyes, such as subtle florals. You don’t want to scream garden club or tourist-things that are easier to scream when you’re over 50.

Solid bold colors like red, blue, and flattering greens are excellent choices for fall and winter weddings. Shades of browns and neutral cream colors accented with black or colored accessories are also classy options.

Mother-in-law Hugging Bride After Wedding Ceremony. kmatija / Getty Images


Accessory do's

Keep it simple. Wedding guest accessories are best not making loud statements. Bold is great but loud is just, loud. One oversized gold bangle and matching pair of hoop earrings is classy and bold while three oversized gold bangles and blinding crystal-studded gold hoop earrings is overkill. Choose one bold piece and tone down everything else.

Guys, this goes for you, too. Less is more. Also, when choosing ties, pick ones that complement the wedding color scheme or theme. Classy hats (think fedoras) are also nice accessories for men.

Because everyone’s style is unique, use common sense and opt for subtle versions of your personal style.

Bride's parents are toasting to their daughter and son-in-law on their wedding day. They are raising their glasses of champagne. DGLimages / Getty Images


Accessories don'ts

Rule number one: No tiaras. You’re not a princess. You’re a queen. Even so, leave all headpieces in your personal dressing room. This is the bride’s day to shine, everyone knows this, and she can’t do that if your crown or enormous headwrap is in the way.

Other accessories to avoid: anything that makes noise (bells), sharply studded accessories, feathers, ties with cartoon characters, gold chains that rival snow chains, baseball caps, and ski caps.

Cutie small granddaughter imagines herself like princess play with elderly grandmother puts on her head crown appointing her a queen. Funny activity at home, family time together amusing games concept fizkes / Getty Images


What about tattoos and body jewelry?

Tattoos are mostly fine because you can’t amputate an arm just for a wedding and everyone of all ages has them anyway. But, if your tattoo might scare children or make the bride and groom blush, consider covering it up with special makeup or strategically arranged clothing.

By the time you're, 50 you might have accumulated some interesting additions. It’s just the times and personal style. No one is judging. Well, maybe they are but that can’t be your problem when you’re just trying to be a guest at a wedding.

Ultimately, body jewelry should follow the same rules as other accessories. Don’t go out of your way to call attention to your ornamentation. Keep things subtle and balanced with the rest of your attire.

Mother of the bride greeting the guests at a wedding party Rawpixel / Getty Images


Grooming don'ts

Don’t choose complicated hairstyles loaded with bling. If your hair can’t move because it's cemented in place, that style is not for you. Do not, repeat, do not drastically change your hair right before the wedding. This is a recipe for disaster and not only will you feel uncomfortable, you might overcompensate with forbidden accessories. And the wedding photos will need to be destroyed.

Avoid stage makeup-a nice glow is great but your face shouldn’t blind the photographer.

No heavy fragrance. No. It doesn’t matter how scrumptious your fragrance is, someone will have an allergic reaction. Leave the patchouli at home.

First dance bride


Grooming do's

Relax. This is fairly simple. Be clean and fresh. Wear a simple, elegant, low-maintenance hairstyle. Tidy up facial hair and groom crazy eyebrows. Keep makeup light and flattering. Buff and polish your nails in subtle colors. Keep in mind, a little effort goes a long way when adorning yourself.

A close-up shot of a senior caucasian man getting assistance with his tie, he is wearing smart clothing and glasses. SolStock / Gettyy Images


Last but not least

The best thing you can wear to a wedding is a positive attitude and self-control. You didn’t come all this way to be remembered by an embarrassing drunken episode at your friend’s or family member’s wedding. No one ever made a terrible impression by drinking sparkling water or choosing their words wisely.

Most importantly, wear your best most sincere, and beautiful smile.

Wedding guest at the cocktail party! Here are the active seniors grandparents of the bride enjoying themselves at the cocktail party. They are looking at camera with a smile. Horizontal waist up outdoors shot with some copy space. martinedoucet / Getty Images


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