Getting dressed for a wedding as a guest is tricky. Why? The most challenging thing is choosing acceptable attire, especially when you haven’t been to many wedding celebrations before. The dress code is traditionally listed in the invitation to explain the overall style of the event. So once you get one, read it through with utmost attention to every detail. Guest dress code options may vary from formal white-tie attire to a casual one. In fact, there are so many of them that it's easy to get overwhelmed. Well, we are ready to help you out. Here are the most common wedding guest dress codes explained.
When it comes to formal dress codes, white-tie takes the cake. White-tie attire is often required for events like royal banquets, state dinners, and extremely formal weddings. If you have been invited to such a celebration, wear a formal floor-length evening gown, and pair it with some elegant heels. Accessorize the dress with glittering jewelry, a clutch, and elbow-length gloves (but that's optional). As for men, white-tie wedding attire includes a dark tuxedo with tails, pants that match its color and fabric, a formal white shirt, a white vest, and a bow tie. For footwear, choose derby shoes or oxfords.
The word that describes black-tie weddings perfectly is fancy. This dress code is as formal as a white-tie one and usually indicates that the celebration will take place in the evening. As black-tie is on the stricter side among dress codes, it leaves little room for interpretation. So what attire would be a perfect fit? Women should attend the event in a formal floor-length gown that doesn’t reveal the ankles or an elegant pantsuit. Men should be dressed in a black tuxedo, black vest, black bow tie, and leather shoes.
Sounds quite confusing to decipher, we know. In reality, the meaning of it is not that difficult. Black-tie optional is a slight variation on black-tie. Couples choose this type of dress code to create an elegant dinner party vibe without putting too much pressure on the guests. Men have the option of wearing a tuxedo or formal dark suit with dressing pants, a white shirt, and a conservative tie. As for women, they can either choose a floor-length gown that shows the ankles, a midi or knee-length cocktail dress, or a dressy pantsuit.
The cocktail wedding dress code is on the flexible side. That is why it’s considered one of the most popular. Cocktail attire is the perfect balance between comfort and elegance. Such outfits should be slightly less formal than black-tie optional, still with a little casual touch to it. Forget about floor-length dresses and tuxedos. Instead, women should opt for a tea-length or midi dress, or a pantsuit. Men are required to wear a suit and a tie. While deciding which outfit to choose for a cocktail wedding, remember one rule: stay classy and polished but don't overdo your look.
Sometimes this dress code can be confused with the cocktail one, yet there are slight differences. When it comes to dressing for a semi-formal wedding, time of the day plays an important role. For a day time celebration, choose light colors and fabrics, as for the evening events — aim for darker and more formal colors. Chic jumpsuits or pantsuits, below-the-knee dresses would go perfectly! However, try to avoid any sort of beading or statement accessories. Pair your attire with heels, flats or wedges. Men should opt for a dress shirt and slacks with a tie as an optional accessory. And don’t forget that the color should depend on the time of the day!
Casual is the most relaxed dress code out of all we listed above. The word "casual" written on the wedding invitation indicates that the celebration will most likely be held outdoors. However, a wedding is a wedding, so you shouldn’t cross the line with your outfit. Jeans, shorts, and tank tops aren’t welcomed at such an event unless the to-be-weds specify it in the invitation as acceptable. The best outfit choice for women is to wear an elegant sundress or a casual maxi dress paired with comfortable wedges. A win for men is attire that consists of a collared shirt matched with dress pants or khaki pants. A tie or sports jacket is acceptable, though not required. Plus, be mindful of the weather. If it’s windy, take a sweater with you.
Hosting themed weddings is quite popular among couples who love adding a creative touch to everything they do. Such celebrations usually require the guests to match a particular concept or theme. Some to-be-weds ask their guests to wear one color, like all-white, to create a unique vibe or aesthetic. Other couples prefer movies or books inspired celebrations. The Great Gatsby-themed weddings are probably among the most desired ones. So be ready to find attire that would fit a specific concept.