Everyone knows the golden rule: don’t wear white. Beyond this, trying to decipher all of the different dress codes can seem a bit daunting. Here, we’ve decoded the most common wedding dress codes so that you arrive appropriately — and confidently — to the celebration.
The most formal of all dress codes. Think of the Oscars or dinner at the White House. Men should wear a tailcoat, a formal white shirt, white pique vest, and a bow tie. Black, formal shoes and even white gloves for dancing are appropriate. Female guests should wear a formal floor-length ball gown. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are also appropriate.
The next formal of dress codes. This usually indicates that the wedding is an evening affair. Men should wear a tuxedo. A cummerbund, black bow tie, and patent leather shoes are also suggested. For women, there are two options: a formal cocktail dress or a floor-length evening gown.
Formal or “Black Tie Optional”
This language suggests the affair is slightly less formal than Black Tie. A tuxedo isn’t required, but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate. For gentleman who want to go a bit more casual, they can wear a white shirt with a dark suit and tie. Women are free to wear a long dress, formal separates, a dressy suit, or a chic cocktail-length dress.
Semi-formal or Cocktail
Depending on the time of the event, semi-formal is somewhere in between formal and casual. If a wedding is taking place at 4 or 5 p.m., you should wear something that easily transitions from day to night. A dark suit and tie are appropriate for men, while a cocktail dress or a long skirt and top combination would work perfectly for women. If the invitation does not make note of a specific attire, these are the guidelines guests should follow.
Casual attire often times means anything goes, however staying away from jeans, tank tops, and shorts is a safe bet unless specifically requested. Men should wear dress pants with a button down or polo and women should wear a sundress or a skirt or pant with a nice blouse.
Photo Credits: Header Image by The Nichols // White Tie Wedding by Norman Jean Roy // Black Tie Wedding by Tec Petaja // Formal Wedding by The Nichols // Semi-formal Wedding by Johannes Huebl // Casual Wedding via Gallery Hip