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What to Wear to a Wine Country Wedding

Posted on August 11 2018

Wedding Attire | What To Wear To A Wine Country Wedding

This will hardly come as a surprise, but we absolutely love wine country weddings. Not exactly shocking, considering it’s our home base. It’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with this place, whether you’re a visitor or a resident. It’s no wonder so many couples choose to get married here. More than that beautiful California coast, though, we’ve also got the vineyards, the farms, the wine, the food, the culture, the iconic cities, the mountains… we could go on, but you get where we’re coming from.

So, when you’ve been invited to a wine country wedding, what do you wear? There are a lot of different answers to this question. When we say “wine country,” we’re referring to Sonoma and Napa County in California, which include a veritable smorgasbord of locations and environments. What passes for appropriate wedding attire at a winery? What about women’s wedding fashion for a beach ceremony, or something appropriate to wear lakeside, or in the middle of a redwood grove? What if the couple is choosing to get married in a historic church or mission?

As you can see, if we’re going to offer wedding fashion tips for this area, we’ve got our work cut out for us. But we’re well up to the challenge!

First things first: check your wedding invitation. What does the happy couple note under requested attire? Different terms mean different things, so before we can offer up what you should wear, we need to know what the dress code is. Here are some of the more common rules for wine country wedding attire

Formal – This means you’re going to be getting fancy. Ladies are going to want to go with a long dress. Classy, well-made pantsuits with ties are also an option, if that’s your style. Black is okay! And often the most formal of options.

Semiformal – Also occasionally listed as “cocktail” or “dressy casual.” This means dresses/skirts and suits, but you don’t have to be quite so buttoned-up. No gloves or gowns, but you’re still going to want to go with something reasonably fancy. Dress-wearers can get away with something shorter than at formal events. If you spot “beach formal” on the invite, it’s safe to wear light linen or dresses that wouldn’t be out of place at an upscale resort with a dress code.

Festive – All this means is that you’re going to want to stick with semiformal wear, but with some flair. Think fun colors for jumpsuits and shoes that you can dance in. The couple wants you to look nice, but they also want you to party and show off your personality!

Cultural Apparel – This will vary depending on the couple, but if your couple hails from a certain country, culture, or religion, there may be special requirements for their wedding guests’ attire. If you’re not familiar, they will most likely provide a guide or tell you where you can find one.

Casual – Ah, the catchall. Many wine country weddings end up opting for this dress code option because they take place outdoors or by the water. Take your cues from what the wedding party is planning on wearing (ask if you’re not sure). A fun sundress or linen pants with a button-down blouse are safe bets. In wedding parlance, “casual” does not mean shorts, jeans, t-shirts, or tank tops unless specifically noted. Be comfortable but not messy.

Occasionally you might receive an invitation that asks for a different dress code entirely, so the internet is your best friend (that’s probably how you got here, after all). If that fails you, ask the couple or family members directly what they’re expecting for wedding guest attire.

Now that you know generally what’s expected of you, you can start thinking specifics. Your next task is determining what you can wear within your given dress code at the location where the wedding will take place. Next are the guidelines you’ll need to pick the perfect wedding outfit.

Winery Wedding Attire

wedding attire

This will largely depend on the culture of the winery, so refer to your invitation’s dress code for more guidance. Some wineries are very country and casual, while others are incredibly sophisticated. Wineries in the area offer outdoor weddings (why wouldn’t you, with that view?), and many offer indoor alternatives in case of rain. Wear comfortable shoes that allow you to walk outdoors over uneven terrain. A nice wrap dress is always a good call – light if you’re at a daytime wedding, or dark if you’re going to be partying into the evening.

Beach Wedding Attire

There are only a handful of beaches by the water where couples can get married in Sonoma County and the coast here tends to be cooler for most of the year. This isn’t a tropical beach wedding, but it’s no less beautiful! Summer and fall weddings are the warmest time of the year, so you can wear a maxi dress and dressy sandals.

Forest Wedding Attire

Getting married in a redwood grove is nothing short of magical, so it’s no wonder that plenty of couples opt for ceremonies in the woods surrounded by twinkling lights. Your best bet is to dress for the time of year. Summer days usually stay in the 80s around here, but they can climb as high as the 90's or even over 100 degrees. Choose light fabrics. During the colder months, there’s always a chance of rain, so choose an outfit that will keep you warm and stand up to a little water. Sweater dresses, long skirts, and knee-high boots will keep you warm and dry.

Church or Mission Wedding Attire

The city of Sonoma is home to one of California’s northernmost missions, along with the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, a popular wedding destination. There are also dozens of charming and iconic churches throughout Sonoma and Napa, so a couple who wants a church wedding has plenty of options. If you’ll be in a church, you should expect to wear your Sunday best, quite literally. Church weddings tend to be on the more formal end of the scale, so invest in an appropriately long dress or skirt, as well as a wrap if you’ll have bare shoulders. Choose solid colors and modest patterns with minimal accents. The Mission Inn & Spa isn’t quite the same as a church and offers outdoor ceremonies, but couples getting married here tend to like to keep it dressy as well.

Country Wedding Attire

You may know someone who wants a little country in their wedding celebrations, and if that’s the case, there’s no shortage of barns and farms in the area that can host a ceremony and reception. Rustic-chic is all the rage and your wedding fashion can easily match. Expect this style of wedding to be more casual, so have fun with your look. Go bohemian with and maxi skirt set, or wear leather boots with a short lacy dress for that touch of cowgirl and class.

Hopefully these tips for what to wear to a wine country wedding have helped you figure out how to dress for the next big event! Here at PUNCH Clothing, we have tons of fantastic wedding guest attire available throughout the year. You’ll find maxi dresses in solid colors and patterns alike, bohemian floral prints, beautiful cocktail dresses for festive receptions, wrap dresses perfect for beach weddings, and tons more. Come visit us to give the outfits a test spin.

Above all, we want you to remember a few cardinal rules of attending weddings:

  1. Don’t wear white! Unless the bride gives you the okay, that is.
  2. Check your invitation. It’s always the first place you should look for guidance.
  3. Wear what makes you feel comfortable and look great.
  4. Dark colors don’t show wine stains, just saying.
  5. Have an awesome time partying with the happy couple! Change to your dancing shoes if you’re really gonna party late into the night!

You can find our stores in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. We love to help style our customers, so don’t be shy about asking about the latest looks and accessories.

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