You finally RSVPed for the wedding, but now you don’t know what to wear. We’ve all been there before—rummaging through the closet and aimlessly scrolling to find the perfect outfit. Dressing the part at a wedding is necessary and shows great guest etiquette. However, if the invitation doesn’t specify or you don’t attend weddings often, deciphering what to wear can be tricky due to the many different dress codes. From formal to black tie to semiformal, you may be stumped knowing how formal or casual you should look.
The best way to get a clue about the dress code is by looking up the venue. The location will set the tone for the rest of the wedding’s style and the appropriate attire. If the venue looks more casual, go for a more laid-back look, but if the venue looks more luxurious, you may want to go for a formal look.
We have you covered with our handy fashion guide for wedding guest attire to end your worries and stress. In this article, we will break down common wedding guest dress codes to help you arrive at the celebration in style.
White-tie attire is the most formal dress code. When you think about white-tie attire, you should consider elegant events like royal banquets or state dinners. While white-tie weddings aren’t as popular today, knowing what this dress code entails is important if you get invited to one.
White-tie wedding attire typically involves formal floor-length gowns with glittering accessories, sleek shoes, and gloves. This dress code also requires a tuxedo with tails, a formal shirt and vest, a bow tie, gloves, and formal shoes like oxfords.
Black-tie attire is one of the most formal wedding dress codes. If a wedding is black tie, there’s a chance that the wedding is scheduled to take place later in the day—around 6:00 p.m. If you’re required to wear black-tie attire, expect to see simple tuxedos with black ties and long formal gowns.
However, it’s important to note that this dress code is also stricter, with very little room to move outside the box. If you’re wearing a tuxedo, you need to ensure that it’s not a black suit or separates. However, if you’re wearing a gown, you can dress it up with refined jewels like pearls and sleek heels with a statement clutch.
Tip: If you’re attending a wedding with a black-tie optional dress code, it’s optional for guests to wear black-tie attire, but a midi-length dress and dark suit are acceptable.
Formal attire is one of the most common for weddings, and it still gets tricky to decide what to wear. Formal is an umbrella term for the many other types of formal attire like semiformal, beach formal, or dressy casual. Formal attire is the slightly less formal version of black-tie optional attire. This means that tuxedos and long formal gowns are not required. Guests can wear nice cocktail dresses or suits and will still be within the dress code.
You may think that casual attire means “come as you are,” but that’s not the case. Casual wedding attire is relaxed and comfortable. Weddings with casual attire typically happen outdoors or are more intimate than the others. When dressing up for a casual wedding, think business casual. You can never go wrong with a blazer and chino pants or a simple dress with accessories and a cute pair of heels.
With casual weddings, you have more room to think outside the box and add flair to your attire. You can experiment with different colors, fabrics, and patterns. However, don’t take casual attire too far. Avoid wearing athleisurewear or tennis shoes to the wedding.
More recently, couples have begun having themed weddings and receptions, asking the guests to have some more fun with their looks. For example, some teams may ask their guests to wear a specific color or follow themes like Studio 54, Fairy Tale, or The Great Gatsby. This option will help the couple get their desired aesthetic while guests have clear instructions on how they should arrive.
Cocktail attire is more formal than casual attire but not as formal as black tie. It’s another popular dress code that balances elegance and comfort. Instead of a floor-length dress, you should look for a tea-length or midi-length one. If you choose to wear a suit, you can wear a casual jacket and dress shoes.
We hope our fashion guide helps you find the perfect wedding guest attire! Remember to search the venue and look at the wedding time to better gauge the required dress code. Whether you’re attending a black-tie event or a beach-formal wedding, you will look your best.