From Rustic to Romantic: Exactly What to Wear to a Backyard Wedding

Including the best 'fits you can buy right now
Collage of three backyard wedding attire outfits
Photos, From Left to Right: Reformation, Suitsupply, Azazie
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Elizabeth Kadar
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Elizabeth Kadar
The Knot Fashion Contributor
  • Elizabeth is a freelance fashion, beauty, lifestyle and commerce writer with more than 10 years of editorial experience writing for top tier publications, including The Knot, TIME, Forbes Vetted, Hearst, Brides, Today’s Parent and many more.
  • Elizabeth freelances as a copywriter, specializing in fashion, and has worked with major brands like Maisonette.
  • Prior to writing, Elizabeth worked in fashion PR in both New York a...
Updated Sep 05, 2023
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There's no place like home so why not get married there? With backyard weddings continuing to grow in popularity thanks to their sentimental value, the pandemic and the soaring costs of traditional venues, what to wear to a backyard wedding is a question that's bound to pop up as all your besties start getting engaged—and finding the right outdoor wedding attire isn't always the easiest.

Is it okay to dress down? Can you wear a gown? Does your partner have to wear a suit? So many questions. The time of year, overall vibe or theme of the big day and the dress code can all help guide you in the right direction. But if you're looking for a little inspiration, from rustic potluck receptions to fancy garden parties, we got you. Read on for our top backyard wedding guest attire style tips, plus all the best 'fits to dress for the occasion.

What to Wear to a Backyard Wedding

Sorry, denim is still a don't. While backyard weddings are typically a little more relaxed, the dress code for an outdoor wedding can vary widely from dressy casual to formal and everything in between. Dressing for the weather and choosing the right shoes though should always be top of mind.

Use The Venue As Inspiration

No two backyards are alike. For example, if your friend rented a giant mansion with a pool and is having a big blowout black tie event then that's a whole lot different than an intimate wedding in a quaint backyard with a boho vibe. If you're unsure, Kim Appelt, Fashion Stylist and Author of Style For Everybody, suggests seeing if you can look up the location of the venue on Instagram and see pictures of what it looks like. "There's a lot of variability in backyard weddings, everything from a casual barbeque to a fairytale-like setting."

Depending on the vibe, you can pick your dress or suit color/separates to coordinate. For an ethereal boho backyard wedding, opt for earthy colors or nature-inspired prints. For a more semi-formal wedding guest dress, opt for something sleek and simple with cool cutouts, especially if it's hot out.

For the guys, if it's a more casual vibe you can get away with chinos and a nice short or long-sleeve button-up shirt in a solid color or a fun print.

Pick Your Fabrics Wisely

The majority of backyard weddings tend to take place when the weather is nice out. So a late spring, early fall or even a midsummer date is often the case. For this reason, Appelt stresses selecting dresses and suits in breathable fabrics for warm-weather weddings. "Look for lightweight fabrics and natural fibers like linen," she suggests. "And make sure you steer clear of fabrics that don't breathe like polyester."

Don't Forget Your Outerwear

Even in the heat of summer, the weather can drastically cool down as the sun sets. And while you could always borrow your date's jacket, it's best to bring your own just in case. "The type of jacket you choose will depend on the venue and the weather," notes Appelt. "An oversized blazer thrown over your shoulder is always a beautiful look with something simple like a slip dress," she says.

For more casual, rustic weddings, a jean jacket is appropriate. Want to add some edge to your backyard wedding attire? Dress up your dress with a leather jacket. And if you can't be bothered to carry a coat with you all night, consider a lightweight pashmina for summer or a classic cropped cardi for spring.

Choose Shoes You Can Easily Walk In (And Won't Get Ruined)

"Depending on the theme and the location of the wedding, flat shoes are always amazing," says Appelt. "Wedges are currently trending, as are slingback pointed flats; the choice is yours, depending on your style of dress." Look for comfortable shoes that are easy to walk and dance in and won't give you blisters. Embellishments will add a touch of elegance if you need more formal backyard wedding shoes. And if you're going to push your luck in a pair of stilettos, you'll definitely want to invest in some heel stoppers so you aren't sinking into the ground all night.

For men, the only tip Appelt would give is to think about whether the grass is wet. "You may not want to wear brown leather shoes that will stain with water or crisp white shoes that will also get stained," she warns. Dressy sneakers in classic colors are a comfortable choice for a more casual backyard wedding.

Backyard Wedding Guest Dress & Attire Ideas

From casual backyard wedding guest attire to formal 'fits for dancing the night away beneath the stars, we've curated a list of the chicest, comfiest and coolest outdoor ensembles to nail every dress code. And if nothing on our list strikes your fancy, be sure to check out our favorite retailers, like Todd Snyder and J.Crew, for where to buy men's wedding guest attire, and go-to destination like Reformation, Lulus, Anthropologie and Nordstrom for where to buy wedding guest dresses.

Reformation Joana Silk Dress in Hyperion

Blue floral Strapless Silk Wedding Guest Dress
Photo: Reformation

We love this fresh take on a floral for a more formal or semi-formal spring or summer backyard wedding. The fabric is a lightweight and airy silk charmeuse that'll keep you cool and won't cling to your body when the sun is beating down. Bonus: you won't have to worry about the dreaded underarm sweat stains either! It's also easy to move in and would look so chic paired with a white or blue low wedge you can easily walk in. And if you're not into prints, there's plenty of chic solid color options to choose from.

Season: Spring or summer

Dress Code: Semi-formal or formal

Todd Snyder Floral Corduroy Shirt in White

White floral corduroy button up shirt
Photo: Todd Snyder

Not gonna lie, we're kind of obsessed with this super soft, floral-printed "baby cord" shirt, which would look killer at a rustic backyard wedding. It leans both casual when paired with chinos or dressier underneath a suit jacket. And it's much more exciting than your typical white button-up for the guys who want to show a little personality or dress according to the theme.

Season: Fall

Dress Code: Country or Western attire, Casual, Semi-Formal

Lulus Mae Pointed-Toe Slingback Flats in Gold

Gold Pointed-Toe Slingback Flats
Photo: Lulus

Slingback pointed toe flats are having a moment, and they're the perfect elevated shoe to rock at a backyard wedding while still keeping it comfortable. Pair these versatile metallic gold Lulus flats with a chic midi or knee-length dress and wait for the compliments to roll in. They look super cool styled with jeans too for after the big day. And there's more color options, as well as suede styles, depending on what goes best with your dress and the season.

Season: Spring, Summer or Fall

Dress Code: Casual to Cocktail

J.Crew Athletic Slim-Fit Chino Pant in British Khaki

Athletic khaki slim-fit chino pant
Photo: J.Crew

Casual backyard summer wedding? These stylish slim-fit chinos are a 10/10, made with 99% cotton so you stay cool when the weather's not. The British Khaki color honestly pairs well with most anything, from a white lightweight linen shirt for summer to a tailored blue blazer for fall. They're also available in a variety of colors, including a dapper Overcast Blue and Catskill Green, that would be perfect for a fall backyard wedding.

Season: Spring, Summer or early Fall

Dress Code: Casual, Dressy Casual, Daytime Attire

Camila Coelho Morena Blazer in Dark Chocolate

Brown blazer
Photo: Revolve

This dark chocolate oversized blazer is such a vibe for an elevated Fall or Winter backyard wedding when you need to cover up (because it's cold!) but still want to look fashion forward. We suggest pairing it with a simple modern slip dress and minimal accessories for a cool girl that's also warm and cozy. The Nude Toffee color is also so stunning, and for spring or summer the Fuschia or Bright Orange adds the perfect pop of color.

Season: Fall, Winter

Dress Code: Semi-Formal, Cocktail, Formal

Greats The Royale Sneakers in Cuoio

Brown leather men's sneakers
Photo: Greats

These cult-fave leather sneakers look dope styled with a classic suit or worn with a nice pair of pants. And they're ridiculously comfortable so you won't be dying to take them off all night. They're sure to become a part of your regular shoe rotation post-wedding too.

Season: Fall, Winter, Spring

Dress Code: Casual, Dressy Casual, Semi-Formal

By Anthropologie The Odetta Ruffled V-Neck Dress in Turquoise

Turquoise Ruffled V-Neck Dress
Photo: Anthropologie

If you're on the hunt for a gorgeous backyard wedding guest dress for a casual country fall or rustic theme, this flowy long-sleeve boho frock is the dream. It's as comfortable and chic as it looks with the perfect skirt for twirling on the dance floor. Add some ankle or cowgirl boots and you're ready to boogie. It's available in petite, standard and plus sizes to fit a variety of body types and shapes.

Season: Fall

Dress Code: Casual or Dressy Casual

Suitsupply Mid Blue Lazio Suit

Navy blue wedding guest suit
Photo: Suitsupply

Outdoor fall weddings are hugely popular thanks to the cooler temps, crisp air and beautiful scenery. And while backyard wedding attire for men can be tricky, you really can't go wrong with a classic blue suit no matter the dress code. This slim fit wool suit is tailored to perfection for the modern man and will get plenty of wear for any future weddings, indoor or out.

Season: Fall, Winter

Dress Code: Semi-Formal, Cocktail, Formal

Show Me Your Mumu Trish Dress

One shoulder tangerine wedding guest dress
Photo: Show Me Your Mumu

Go bright or go home. If you're wondering what to wear for a backyard wedding in the middle of summer, this tangerine one-shoulder frock from Show Me Your Mumu is such a fun choice to beat the heat and show off your gorgeous summer glow. It's also available in a bold aqua blue, neon coral and several tropical prints that just feel like summer.

Season: Summer

Dress Code: Casual, Dressy Casual, Daytime Attire

Dandy Del Mar The Cannes Waffle Knit Shirt in Burnt Sienna

Burnt orange waffle knit polo
Photo: Dandy Del Mar

Which way to the beach? If your friends are having a hip summer backyard wedding or the beach literally is their backyard, then this waffle knit tee in burnt siena will fit right in paired with some breezy linen pants.

Season: Spring, Summer

Dress Code: Casual, Dressy Casual, Daytime Attire

Azazie Kenzi Pleated Chiffon Jumpsuit in Dusty Sage

Dusty sage Pleated Chiffon Jumpsuit
Photo: Azazie

We love the versatility of this pleated chiffon jumpsuit, which can honestly be worn from spring through fall and styled up or down depending on the dress code. For instance, throw on a jean jacket and chic sandals to create a more casual backyard daytime wedding look or dress it up with accessories and a strappy block heel for a fancier evening ensemble. The stunning, earthy sage green color works well for practically any season and has that natural, outdoorsy feel that'll fit right in.

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Dress Code: Casual, Dressy Casual, Daytime Attire

ASOS Design Loafers in Pale Blue

loafers in pale blue suede with snaffle detail and natural sole
Photo: ASOS

Backyard weddings are a great place to have a little fun with your fashion. These suede, light blue loafers won't break the bank but they will dress up your feet with a slight pastel pop of color that feels right on trend for a spring or summer outdoor wedding—and honestly even into early Fall paired with the right dress pants and a crisp button-down.

Season: Spring, Summer, Early Fall

Dress Code: Dressy Casual, Semi-Formal, Cocktail

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