A Guide to Every Kind of Wedding Dress Code

After receiving your wedding invitation, your next thought is deciding what to wear. Dressing up for a wedding can be challenging, especially if you have not attended many weddings. You may not know what pitiful to pick and may even be tempted to pick one of your old party outfits.
Fortunately, some couples save their guests by setting their wedding dress code beside other wedding planning elements. Formal attire is usually the most common, but many dress codes may appear on a wedding invitation. Read on to learn more about wedding dress codes.

White Tie

White ties are fading in popularity on wedding invitations but are leading in formality and extravagance. If invited to such a party, dressing accordingly is unavoidable. If you are a man, the dress code implies wearing a tuxedo with tails, a formal white shirt, a white vest, a white bowtie, and classy formal shoes for men, such as derby or oxfords. If you feel fancy, you can add a pair of white gloves.

On the other hand, women have more options, with the safest being a formal floor-length evening gown and pairing it with jewelry, heels, and an elegant clutch. While wearing heels is preferable, ensure they are comfortable enough to walk in them. Women can also wear voluminous ball gowns paired with gloves and jewelry. However, ensure your gown is floor length depending on the venue’s formality.

Black Tie

A black tie is an indicator of a formal wedding and indicative of the wedding being an evening event. The dress code applies similar principles as the white tie, requiring women to wear floor-length gowns, embracing color, patterns, or beading. Women can also wear an elegant pantsuit to the wedding.

In men, a full suit is mandatory, and tuxedos are welcome. You can pair your suit with formal shoes for men. Depending on the wedding season, feel free to play with the suit fabric and color. For instance, wear a white dinner jacket for a summer wedding.

Black-Tie Optional

As the name indicates, a black-tie optional dress code indicates something slightly less formal than a black tie is acceptable. You can think of such a dress code to merge formal fashion and a black tie. The wedding timing can help understand the dress code, with evening weddings indicating a more formal style. For an evening wedding, consider a more upscale outfit.

A tuxedo is unnecessary but can still be appropriate for men. Instead, consider a normal suit paired with formal shoes. In women, a dress code similar to a black tie is ideal, but it may be more acceptable to wear a dress revealing your ankles, unlike in the black-tie code. Whatever your pick, always aim for an elegant look hence be keen on your dress details and design.

Cocktail or Semi Formal

A cocktail wedding dress code balances elegance and comfort. Guests have more freedom with colors, patterns, and hemlines. The dress code is more casual than a night celebration but formal than a day wedding. However, do not confuse this dress code to mean casual.

Women should consider shorter dresses, including knee length, tea length, or midi dresses, jumpsuits, pantsuits, or patterned suit jackets, while still looking dressed up. Men should put on a suit and tie. The bottom line is to appear polished yet not too fancy to avoid taking away from the newlyweds.


Beachy wedding dress codes are for hot and humid affairs. There are two subcategories of beachy wedding dress codes; the beachy formal and beachy cocktail. Women can wear cotton sundresses paired with sandals, sunhat, or wedges. On the other hand, men can wear chino or khaki pants or a pair of shorts with a button-down shirt. A beachy wedding dress code requires less formal shoes for men, such as a light-colored pair of loafers or woven styles and accessories like scarves, shawls, sunglasses, and playful jewelry for women.

Themed Wedding Attire

Fun-loving couples prefer themed wedding attire for their guests to join in on the fun. The theme can be a shared interest between the couples or just a way to create a fun environment. Couples request their guests to stick to a specific color theme in themed weddings. A color-themed wedding attire enables couples to achieve their desired aesthetic. Other couples can request their guests to wear inspired celebrities or film looks.


Wedding dress codes guide you on how to show up for your loved one’s big day, and knowing in advance will help with accurate preparations. If the couple is unclear on the wedding dress code, ask them or their close friends what they intend to wear. You can also consider the wedding venue, weather, and timing and stick to the basic wedding etiquette rules by avoiding jeans or all-white. Whatever your choice, ensure you are confident and comfortable in your outfit.

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