Wedding Dress Code: The Guide for Guest Attire
As you finalise the details for your upcoming wedding, don't forget to address what guests should wear! It can be confusing to determine the dress code for a wedding, but our guide will help make it easy. Whether you're having a formal black-tie affair or a more casual beach ceremony. Wedding dress codes are one of the wedding industry’s great mysteries. Although their intention is to make figuring out what to wear easier and clearer, they often have exactly the opposite effect. After all, who knows what “Hollywood casual” or “sailor chic” really mean? Well, we got you covered. So read on for all the details on what guests should wear to your wedding.
Let’s look at what the different types of wedding dress codesare.
Below, we outline the most common wedding dress codes that you’ll see on an invitation or wedding website. Most dress codes include a range of acceptable attire, so choose an outfit within the bounds of the dress code that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
1. White tie
White tie is likely the most formal dress code that you’ll see at a wedding— even more formal than black tie. Attire options include formal floor-length ball gowns and evening dresses or long-tail tuxedos. However, white tie weddings are very rare, this type of dress code is mostly used by the A-listers and for those who intend their wedding to be a little more extra… which we are all for by the way!
2. Black tie
One step under white tie is black tie, which may be what you picture for a formal wedding. This means guests should be dressed in tuxedos, evening gowns, or ball gowns. Black tie weddings are usually held in the evening at a luxury venue.
While black tie weddings are still common, they’re starting to embrace the individual style a bit more. To achieve the distinctly unique black-tie wedding you're dreaming of, invite your guests to dress black tie with a personal twist. This way, you're not sacrificing the formality of your celebration, and you'll have memories and photographs to cherish that feature your gorgeously dressed, loved ones showcasing elements of their personal style beyond a snapshot of 30 black gowns in a row.
3. Formal/black-tie optional
This is one of the most common wedding dress codes. Most guests will dress in an evening dress (usually mid or floor length) or a dark suit or tuxedo. Because “formal” is a fairly broad category, you could always specify in a bit more detail on the invites you send.
4. Cocktail/semi-formal/dressy casual (my personal fave)
Cocktail or semi-formal attire is common for outdoor weddings and is a bit more casual than formal attire. Good choices include a cocktail dress or formal summer dress, a suit and tie, or waistcoat and skinny jeans. Cocktail dresses typically have a hemline between mid-thigh and mid-calf — a floor-length gown would likely be inappropriate in this circumstance.
If you’re having a to a destination wedding in the sun, you may want to add to your invites “beach casual,” “resort wear,” or “destination” listed as the dress code. While “beach” inherently indicates a casual vibe, it’s likely guests will dress up a bit with by wearing smart shorts, shades, and a linen shirt while others will go for a sundress and floppy hat.
If you’re having a themed wedding, we actually love you! We love a good festival wedding! We’d defiantly recommend clearly adding a section for ‘Dress Code’ on your invites. From fairy-tale to Gatsby to Halloween, there are a lot of unique wedding themes out there. The important thing here is to have fun and play along with whatever your theme dictates.
Festive attire is usually on invitations for holiday weddings, such as those taking place on Christmas or New Year’s Eve. You should generally follow semi-formal or formal attire guidelines, and maybe throw in a nod to the season in the form of sparkles, sequins, or holiday colours.
And last but not least…
7. Casual/come as you are
This one is tough because casual means different things to different people. We would suggest steering clear of this one as much as possible. If you are going down this route expect your guests to wear a simple dress or jumpsuit with a polo or button-up shirt.
Now that you know all about the different types of wedding dress codes, it’s time to choose what type will work best for your special day. Will it be a formal affair? A semi-formal event? Or maybe something a little more casual? No matter which code you decide on, make sure to communicate it to your guests so they can show up looking their best. And if you have any questions or need help deciding, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always here to help make your wedding as wonderful as possible!