Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Codes


Getting ready for your loved one’s upcoming wedding can be both exciting and overwhelming. Yet, ensuring you have all the essential details can require a lot of preparation. One of the most important items for guests to consider is the couple’s chosen wedding dress code. Wedding dress attire can range from gala-worthy, floor-length gowns to casual summer dresses and everything in between. Knowing what outfit best suits the event while showcasing your unique style can be difficult. Explore our breakdown of the nuances that differentiate the dress codes to ensure you and your plus one arrive at the event dressed for the occasion. 

White-tie wedding attire

For women

On the formal end of the wedding invitation dress codes lies white-tie attire. Consider galas or high-end celebrations when dressing for the occasion. Women should wear floor-length evening gowns, heels, and delicate jewelry that effortlessly elevate the look. A princess formal dress captures the grandeur of the special day with a sweeping skirt that dramatically contrasts against a fitted bodice.  

For men

White-tie wedding dress code consists of a complete tuxedo ensemble. Ensure you select a jacket with tails to pair with a formal white shirt, a vest, a bow tie, and black trousers. Complete the look with gloves and sleek black loafers to exude timeless elegance. 

Black-tie wedding attire

For women

Slightly less formal than white tie, a black-tie wedding dress code still requires floor-length gowns for women are still required, but in a more relaxed silhouette. Select a satin formal dress that gently hangs to complement your natural figure. For those who prefer highlighting their curves, consider picking out a mermaid formal dress for a tastefully sensual look. Accessorize your chosen gown with classic heels and a small clutch in a contrasting color.

For men

Men, however, don’t need to wear a full tuxedo ensemble. Instead, a black suit with a formal white shirt and tie is acceptable, and opting for classic black loafers is the best bet.  

Black tie optional or formal wedding attire

For women

A formal wedding dress code allows for slightly more flexibility for wedding guests. Women have more options when curating their formal wedding guest look. Longer dresses are still encouraged, but sophisticated cocktail dresses are also acceptable. Strike the perfect balance by selecting an evasee formal gown in a lightweight fabric. Decide between a whimsical chiffon or georgette formal dress and achieve elevated elegance with a relaxed feel. 

For men

Dark suits are still encouraged for men, but you have the option to choose a shade like navy blue or deep burgundy, and black ties aren’t necessary, though they can add a polished final detail to your attire.

Cocktail or semiformal wedding attire

For women

Semiformal or cocktail wedding attire consists of a middle ground between a formal and a more casual dress code. It isn’t necessary to pick out a floor-length gown, though a longer style in tulle or simple crepe exudes a more relaxed look. Alternatively, consider a short cocktail dress, accessorizing with kitten heels and bolder jewelry to capture your unique taste. For a more playful silhouette, a jumpsuit in a vibrant color showcases your modern fashion sense and allows for optimal freedom of movement as you enjoy dancing the night away. Having difficulty choosing which design is best tailored to you? Follow our comprehensive guide on cocktail dresses for weddings to help narrow down your options. 

For men

Suits are still encouraged for men for semiformal wedding dress codes, but lighter shades are acceptable for daytime weddings. For summer ceremonies, consider a linen suit in beige or light brown for optimal comfort. 

Casual wedding attire

For women

On the opposite end of the dress code spectrum lies casual wedding attire. 

Women can choose between longer or shorter dresses, or even combine an elegant skirt with a blouse. If you prefer a longer design, consider picking out a maxi or sundress to ensure it isn’t too formal. Accessorize with flat or low-heeled shoes and avoid larger jewels to better adhere to the casual nature of your loved one’s celebrations.

For men

Suits aren’t required, and instead, men can pick out khakis and a button-down in their favorite color. Layering with a blazer is optional and ideal for outdoor weddings as the temperatures drop after sunset. 

Whether you’re getting ready to attend your loved one’s gala-worthy celebrations or a relaxed ceremony, knowing the differences between the wedding dress codes can help you create the perfect outfit for the memorable event. Choosing the right one not only demonstrates your respect for the couple but also allows you to dance the night away in optimal comfort. With these helpful distinctions in mind, you can begin the hunt for your wedding guest attire assured you’ll find the best ensemble for you. 

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