What to Wear to the Post-Wedding Brunch as a Guest, According to Stylists

It's a less formal event than the wedding itself, but you still want to look put together.

guests at a day after brunch

Photo by David Bastianoni

It's becoming more and more common to get invited to a post-wedding brunch, which happens the morning after a couple says "I do." If you've been received an invitation to one as part of a larger wedding weekend, you're probably wondering what's appropriate to wear. Brunch tends to be a casual affair, but when it's a wedding brunch, the dress code suddenly becomes a little unclear.

When trying to decide what to wear to a post-wedding brunch as a guest, you should keep a few things in mind: First and foremost, even if it's a fancier brunch, it's definitely going to be more casual than the wedding, which means floor-length gowns, high heels, and suit jackets aren't required. What's more, this event takes place the morning after everyone's partied all night. In other words, you're going to be tired (and maybe a little hungover), so comfort is important here. Opt for a look that is relaxed and practical, but still looks put together and stylish.

Meet the Expert

  • Lesley Brickman is a Los Angeles-based luxury bridal stylist and owner of The One Gown. She is a wedding gown scholar who helps brides, mothers of the bride/groom, and wedding guests shop for their perfect looks.
  • LaTonya Turnage of Elite Secrets Bridal is a full-time fashion entrepreneur who worked as a makeup artist before turning to bridal styling.

For more specific advice, we've consulted with two expert stylists who offer some easy-to-copy outfit ideas to wear to a post-wedding brunch.

How to Decide What to Wear to a Post-Wedding Brunch

Before you start searching your closet or your favorite store's website, take a look at the couple's invitation or wedding website. Have they indicated a specific dress code for the post-wedding brunch? While it's less common, some couples will ask guests to wear a specific color or dress for a theme. If not, we suggest paying close attention to three main cues: the season, venue, and thedress code selected for the wedding.

Based on the Season

When choosing a post-wedding brunch outfit, stylist Lesley Brickman says season is the most important factor to consider. "For warmer months, I suggest a sundress or chic matching set for ladies," she says. A midi dress or a nice romper can also be acceptable. Jeans are okay to wear, just make sure they fit well and aren't distressed. For men, attire suggestions during the warmer months is similar: relaxed and comfortable without being too casual. "Men should wear linen shorts, polo shirts, and even short-sleeved button-up shirts" suggests bridal stylist LaTonya Turnage. In the winter, prioritize warmth. "For winter events, cozy up in a sweater dress or your favorite cashmere turtleneck and jeans," Brickman notes. Men can wear something similar, like a nice sweater with fitted jeans or trousers.

Turange also advises that colors should be based on the season. For cooler months, like in the fall and winter, opt for darker hues like navy blue, black, burgundy, or hunter green. For warmer months, light colors like pale blue, pink, lavender, cream, and yellow are nice options.

Based on the Venue

Where the brunch is being held can tell you a lot about what you should wear. "A summertime brunch at a beachside resort would be a great time to wear your brightly colored sundress and sandals," Brickman notes. "If you see that the brunch is being held at a hotel—likely where many of the guests are staying—then you can go more casual with jeans and a top or a casual midi dress." If the venue seems fancier, then you should likely wear a dress or trousers, or even a casual suit instead of jeans. "For museums and grand hotels, your fashion choices should be a tad more formal," Turnage says. "Women can opt for a cocktail style dress, and guys can add a tie to step up their casual khakis and slacks."

Feel free to also ask the couple, or a member of the wedding party, if there are going to be any activities to take into consideration. "Some hosts offer 'events' at the day after brunch, such as mini-massages, tequila tastings, and even bowling," Brickman points out. "Be sure to do your research on the invite or the couple's wedding website and pack accordingly!"

Based on the Wedding Dress Code

If all else fails, think about the dress code the couple outlined for the evening before. If you were invited to a black-tie wedding, the brunch likely won't be quite as formal, but it could be an indicator that the event won't be ultra casual. "Consider the wedding ceremony’s dress code when packing for the farewell brunch, but don’t use it as your sole guideline on what to wear," Brickman says. "Most brunches call for guests to 'Come As You Are,' meaning to show up casual and comfortable, especially since many guests may be departing for the airport or the car trip home."

If you're really feeling unsure, there is no harm in asking the couple or another member of the wedding party.

Post-Wedding Brunch Attire Ideas for Women

You'll ultimately base your outfit on the location and venue of the brunch, the season, and the attire specified by the couple, but even so, there are some general outfit ideas to keep in mind. "Regardless of the venue or season, an elevated midi dress will always be a winner," Brickman says. A shorter and casual sundress can be a great option if the weather calls for it, and you can even opt for a more casual jumpsuit or romper if you want. While dresses are a pretty versatile pick, you don't have to avoid pants. Brickman recommends a nice pair of jeans and a top or sweater, especially for fall or winter weather. Pick tailored jeans that aren't distressed and a top that is casual but nice—or even just a solid-colored t-shirt. You can also opt for trousers or nice shorts.

As for shoes, you can likely leave the heels at home. If you want some height, wear wedges or espadrilles. Sandals, flats, or even a very nice pair of sneakers are also acceptable. For cooler weather, boots are a great choice.

Post-Wedding Brunch Attire Ideas for Men

Again, keep the season, venue, and wedding dress code in mind when selecting an outfit. The below ideas are pretty general and can be worn to almost any day-after brunch. You can feel free to wear jeans, but make sure they're tailored nicely and aren't distressed. If you want to wear a t-shirt, make it a solid color and make sure it looks a bit more elevated (no graphic tees!), but a polo shirt or button-down is always a great choice. In warmer weather especially, Turnage highly recommends linen. "You can never go wrong with linen," she shares. If you don't want to wear jeans, a pair of chinos or trousers are a wonderful option. You can even wear a casual suit if you want to dress up a bit. Turnage also likes the idea of added accessories. "Add a trendy brim fedora hat to step up your brunch style," she says.

For shoes, opt for loafers or boat shoes. Try to avoid sneakers unless they are a solid color and look more elevated, and avoid athletic sneakers.

Post-Wedding Brunch Attire Etiquette

Generally, both Turnage and Brickman say that post-wedding brunches tend to be casual, and there aren't a lot of style "rules" that have to be followed. Still, there are some etiquette tips to keep in mind. The pros say that wearing something very casual is fine, but only if it works with the venue and is seasonally appropriate. "If the brunch is being held at a beachside surf shack, then by all means rock your chic coverup, suit, and sandals!" Brickman says. "Casual means different things to different people, so when in doubt, do your research on the season, the venue, and the couple's website to gauge the vibe of the event. As a rule, though, I always suggest my clients pick something a bit dressier than casual if there is a concern for what to wear."

Turange agrees, noting that guests should never show up too underdressed. "Avoid distressed jeans, sneakers with logos, or track running sneakers and flip flops," she says. "Unless the invites are specific to those trends, keep it comfortable, but venue and event appropriate."

You also don't want to look like you just rolled out of bed. "Showing up in your pajamas or the outfit you wore to the wedding ceremony is a major no go," Brickman says. "Likewise, save your gym attire for the weight room and your pool attire for the beach (unless the dress code specifically calls for beach chic). Ladies should avoid all white outfits as the bride will likely be in all white."

  • What is a post-wedding brunch?

    A post-wedding brunch (or breakfast) is a more casual gathering held the morning after a wedding. Although these are typically planned for destination weddings, they can be held for any type of nuptials. These brunches are a way to thank guests for coming and to say a final goodbye before the wedding weekend is over.

  • Is it okay to wear something casual to a day after brunch?

    Post-wedding brunches are typically pretty casual, but the venue will really clue you in as to how casual it will be. If it's held at the hotel where all or most of the guests are staying, it's probably more on the casual side. If it's held in a more fancy venue, then you may want to wear something chic and skip the jeans. Generally, you do not have to dress formally, but you also don't want to be too laid-back.

  • Is there anything you should not wear to a post-wedding brunch?

    Avoid wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, pajamas, leggings, athleisure, distressed jeans, flip flops, or graphic tees—basically, anything that is super, super casual. Guests should also avoid wearing all white as this is still something the bride might wear.

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