If a wedding couple sets a dress code, follow it. In Finland, occasions such as weddings are still regarded strictly formal – unless stated otherwise on the wedding invitation.
There are many unwritten rules regarding wedding dos and don’ts for Finnish weddings, and they’re mostly similar to European and American rules. Most wedding couples will dictate the dress code on the wedding invite. If you’re unsure, ask the wedding party or people you may know that are also attending the wedding. Read more about weddings, venues, and clothing on review platforms such as Suomiarvostelut. They’ll give you more insight
As the majority of Finnish weddings take place in summer, and during the day, you should pick out your outfit as a guest before the time. Check the weather for the day of the wedding and plan your outfits accordingly. The location of the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception (if not at the same venue) will also guide you as to what you can and can’t wear.
The first big ‘No’ for wedding guests is to not wear white. That is unless the wedding invite requests that. Wearing white is reserved for the bride only. This leads to the second ‘No”: don’t wear an all-black dress, either.
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Wedding ceremonies are usually held in churches. It is customary that wedding guests arrive at the wedding ceremony in their full outfits: jackets, ties, shawls, and more. You can then remove layers as the ceremony moves to less formal aspects. Finnish churches also require women to have their shoulders covered while in church. Wrapping yourself in a shawl or blazer is seen as ideal in that situation. Once you leave the church, you may remove the shawl or scarf to feel more comfortable.
Regionally speaking, men usually wear dark suits in the north of Finland to weddings while women wear cocktail dresses and summer dresses. In the south, men prefer to wear light-coloured suits and women opt for romper suits. Another quirky hallmark of Finnish weddings you’re glad to know now.
Men should wear button-down shirts and ties. Slacks are acceptable, as are khakis, suit pants, linen blazers, and loafers. Men shouldn’t wear denim, sweatpants, or sneakers.
Women should wear cocktail dresses, summer dresses, romper suits, fitted jumpsuits, sandals, wedges, and heels – but not stilettos. If your legs are showing, it is customary to wear stockings to weddings. The general rule of thumb is that women should wear bright colours to daytime weddings and darker hues for nighttime events. Cocktail dresses shouldn’t be revealing. And, don’t go too bold with your colours: the main attraction should always be the bride.
Most women carry a second change of clothing – from a more formal dress to say a summer or cocktail dress – for the wedding reception. They also remove their heels or sandals to instead wear shoes better suited to dancing. After all, a wedding is a celebration and celebrations are not complete without dancing.
The bottom line to deciphering a wedding’s dress code: if you’re not sure, rather err on the side of more formal. You can also dress a little down (by removing a tie, for example) than trying to dress up a pair of denims at a wedding.