A Guide to Children Attire at a Wedding

Kids can be just as hard to dress as grownups. Check out Zola’s useful guide to kids’ wedding attire to make sure your little ones look spiffy.

By Amanda Mitchell

A Guide to Children Attire at a Wedding
Photo by Laura Anne Watson

There's something so heartwarming about having a child's presence at a major event like a wedding. But if it's hard to get kids dressed on a normal day, dressing them for a wedding is like a marathon. The main issue is finding a formal outfit that's comfortable enough for them to wear all day long—and anyone who's dressed in formalwear knows that "comfortable" and "formal" usually don’t go hand-in-hand.

Don't fear: Zola is here with the ultimate guide on how to dress a child for a wedding, so everyone will be better equipped to enjoy the day in style.

Remember CBS

CBS stands for comfort, budget, and size—the main things you need to keep in mind when shopping for children's formalwear.

Avoid itchy, rough fabrics that aren’t breathable. While it might be cute to have them wear a bow tie for photos, consider how practical the chosen attire will be in the long run. It's smart to avoid any external tchotchkes that will just be bothersome throughout the day.

If the kid in mention has been invited to be a part of the wedding party, consult with the engaged couple about their ideas for colors and outfit ideas. This is a good time to keep the budget in mind—is this outfit a one-time splurge, or are you purchasing an outfit that can be reused and re-worn for other formal events, barring a major growth spurt?

And speaking of growth spurts, consider sizing when buying your outfit. Kids grow, and they grow quickly, so if you're ordering custom clothes for a wedding party, it's better to go bigger and have them tailored in case of a sudden burst in height two months before the wedding. (In this case, you'll want to remember to account for alterations in the budget, particularly for girls' dresses, too).

The Dress Code Matters

Out of respect for the engaged couple—someone you like enough to attend their wedding—your kid needs to fit in with the dress code for the affair. If the wedding is black tie, your kids should wear a button-down shirt or a dress. If the wedding is more casual, a good rule of thumb is "dress like you're going to church with the grandparents." Kids can get away with a little more attire-wise at a less-formal wedding, but you still don't want them to stick out like a sore thumb.

Kids Shouldn't Wear White, Either

A Guide to Children Attire at a Wedding Photo Credit // Unsplash

It's obvious why one shouldn't wear white as a wedding guest. Unless it's a part of the dress code, it's considered rude and an attempt to upstage the bride. While no one will be thinking your kid is the person getting married (it's very common and popular to have the flower girl in a shade of white, cream, or light pink), it's better to err on the side of caution with light shades on the wedding day.

Consider Seasonality

As you would with your own outfit, it's important to keep the time of year and weather in mind when considering attire for a wedding. No kid is going to be comfortable in a floor-length navy ball gown in the middle of summer, nor will they love a button-down shirt and shorts in the winter. You can always bring a cardigan or a sweater along if getting cold is a concern, like at a beach wedding. Linens and laces for summer; satins and silk for winter.

Attire for Boys

Unless the dress code is black tie formal, it's unlikely your little boy needs to wear a full-on tuxedo to a wedding. It's easy to dress them up—consider a collared shirt, a bow tie, and some nice dress shoes to keep them looking adorable. If the event is more formal, try a suit jacket. For pants, keep it neutral—greys, blacks, navy, and khaki are always going to make for an appropriate wedding outfit.

Attire for Girls

A Guide to Children Attire at a Wedding Photo Credit // Unsplash

Baby girls and tulle skirts go hand in hand, and that combination can be worn year-round, with tights under the skirt during cooler months. As they get older, a floral sundress with a cardigan or a calf-length silk or satin dress with a sash is suitable for any wedding.

Attire for Teenagers

By the time your child is a teenager, they should be going along with the dress code as much as any other adult guest. Sundresses and cocktail dresses for young women, suit jackets and ties for young men. When it comes to shoes, dress shoes are good, but bring along a pair of flip-flops for your daughter. If she's not skilled in wearing heels, she'll thank you for thinking ahead.

Dressing kids for a formal event can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to be—they're just tiny adults, and nothing is as cute as a tiny little man or lady in dressy clothing. Consider your budget, the season, and the dress code, and you really can't go wrong.

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