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What Can This Pale Brit Wear To A Formal Southern Wedding?

Dear Olivia,

I'm a British woman attending a "formal attire" wedding in the southern US this summer. It's in South Carolina (in an old mansion in Charleston) and it is gonna be HOT, which - surprise, surprise - I'm not very used to! I burn in the sun quite easily, and I'm also a bit concerned about perspiration in that kind of heat. I'm not quite sure if the wedding will be indoors or outdoors, but I suspect outdoors from a photograph they shared on their website. What should I wear to such an occasion? Both families are true southern families, so I sense it will be fairly traditional. However, my knowledge of American weddings is limited to watching Four Weddings and marveling at the food stations they have during cocktail hour and wishing I could go to all the stations - and now I can so I have to buy a dress. Thanks! - Rachael


Not only is it going to be hot, but it is going to be very humid too! Southern hospitality plays a major part in weddings, so hopefully the family will offer shade, parasols and fans for their guests.

It's important to be a gracious guest when you attend a formal southern wedding. You want to look appropriate and lean toward conservative and sophisticated attire. Feel free to indulge in bright, happy colors for a summer wedding, but be sure to avoid white because, in the south, white is still the bride’s color.

For a formal southern wedding, you can opt for a floor-length gown in lightweight, luxurious fabrics such as silk chiffon or silk crepe. Choose a dress with a tasteful neckline and an elegant silhouette. Avoid anything too revealing and overly sexy… you won’t find too many dresses like that at a southern do!

If you're still unsure, fall back on a classic. With the right accessories, a black dress is appropriate for almost any formal wedding. Dress up a classic with some killer heels and dazzling earrings and other elegant, dramatic accessories. It is always better to be over- rather than under-dressed at a wedding, no matter the location or venue. Also, don’t forget heavy antiperspirant and deodorant! Silk and sweat circles are not a match made in heaven! Enjoy your trip to the southern US!

Love, laughter and happiness,



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