Feb 2, 2019

What to wear for a wedding in Sweden | How to dress the Swedish way

What do you wear for a wedding in Sweden? Whether it’s a summer or winter wedding in Sweden, we like to dress up but still keeping the Swedish cool. Most weddings in Sweden are pretty relaxed events even though there are a few upscale exceptions of course. I’m just going to do a quick break down and relate to the 25 weddings I shot the previous year, 17 of them here in Sweden.

what to wear to wedding in Sweden

Formal Versus Relaxed

Depending on how formal you want to go, but with formal attire, I mean black-tie weddings. Of the 17 local weddings, only 5 had a Black-Tie dress code. Black-Tie in short means this is a super swanky event, and all the guys should wear tuxedos, and the ladies should wear long gowns. Or they can opt for a cocktail dress, as long as the skirt isn’t too short. Your outfit should always be appropriate, and the wedding invite will state the dress code.

Now, it’s Sweden. I’ve seen guests in dinner jackets, and suits on formal events and no one would raise an eyebrow. I’ve seen women in shorter cocktail dresses killing it, and the bride and groom did not mind a bit. So I would like to submit that we aren’t super strict with dress codes here in Sweden as long as you dress nicely and wear it well. Elegant accessories are always welcome!

What to wear for a wedding in Sweden

Smartly dressed wedding guests from a previous wedding in Sweden, Stockholm

The Swedish Way

The bulk of my local weddings are very relaxed celebrations when it comes to dressing code and traditions. So if you are invited to a wedding in Sweden and the invitation says cocktail attire or semi-formal you could wear a suit and tie if you are a guy and a cocktail dress if you are a girl. But you could definitely wear a longer gown too, and everyone would be ok with that. Or why not a fashionable pantsuit?

Unusual And Fancy

It is very rare that weddings in Sweden are White-Tie events. Out of all the weddings I shot during 2018 only one was a White-Tie wedding. What does that even mean? White-Tie means a long-tail tuxedo (for the gentlemen) and they are certainly very lavish and opulent affairs. As a lady, you should dress in a full-length ballgown and definitely add some jewelry to that outfit. This dress code is perhaps the most unusual in Sweden; you’d much rather find the dress code “Casual” on a wedding invitation than White-Tie.

Groom in white tuxedo

There’s something special about a white tuxedo. Tell me I’m not the only one that loves when the bride and the groom are in all white?

Basically, we are a bit apprehensive about overdressing. Swedes are good at keeping it on the low down. Although we love to dress in black, at least in Stockholm, avoid it for summer weddings. Red is also something you want to duck. Due to an old saying that you never wear red on a wedding since that signals you’ve slept with the groom or something of a sort. Ops! Nothing that holds any accuracy nowadays, but a fun anecdote to be aware of.

Stay Warm

You’d always want to bring a wrap or shawl. Winters are cold but the summer evenings can get a bit chilly too. Wedding receptions are 99% indoors with short breaks when guests go out to mingle in-between the many speeches that are the tradition. Another great thing to bring is an extra pair of shoes. The perfect heels will be ready to be switched out by the end of dinner. Swedes like to dance and party hard, LATE into the night. Like late, late. Put those dancing shoes on so you can keep partying well into the early morning hours.

What I Wear To A Wedding in Sweden

A cute dress or a flowy skirt and neat top are my to go-to outfits for basically every wedding. Sometimes I sport a jumpsuit, and if it has pockets it’s a winner in my opinion. I try to blend in with the guests so all types of everyday wear are out of the question. The most important thing for me is to pick an outfit that is practical to work in and still looking the part. As mentioned, weddings in Sweden are mostly relaxed affairs so pantsuits are definitely a good choice of outfit!

what I wear to a wedding

Here you can see what I wear to a wedding!

I hope this gives you a few ideas on what to wear to a wedding in Sweden. And as always, happy to answer any questions!

Cheers, Isabelle

Need more wedding planning advice? Or haven’t the perfect wedding venue yet? I think you might like this post. Top 20 Swoon-Worthy Wedding Venues In Sweden.

  1. This is great information for brides, grooms, and their guests! And I LOVE the image of the bride and groom both in white! Stunning!!

  2. Andrea says:

    What great ideas for wedding attire. And your wedding photography is gorgeous! truly enjoyed your post.

  3. Marie says:

    Beautiful pics, but I have to say that the “red dress on a wedding implies that you’ve slept with the groom” isn’t a Swedish tradition.
    It’s something that’s spread on social media from other countries (and I have a feeling that it was invented on social media more than being an actual tradition).
    I had never heard about it before my daughters told me this a couple of months ago when I was heading for a wedding.

    • isabelle says:

      Dear Marie, that saying is way older than social media, it has been around since the 70ies. I doubt it is something spread as a rumor from other countries. Sincerely, Isabelle

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