What Are Wedding Dress Codes

Weddings are a special occasion for any couple. Whether you’re attending a black-tie wedding party or a relaxed summer beach wedding, you’ll want to look your best for such a memorable occasion.

Coming up with the proper wedding attire can be a challenge for party guests. That’s why wedding dress codes are an important part of party planning to give your guests an idea of how to dress up. Here we break down the different types of wedding dress codes.

From formal wedding dress codes to more relaxed and casual outfits, we’ll give you a rundown of how to show up in style according to each dress code. 

Standard Dress Codes For Weddings

pink wedding outfit

If event decorators have certain guidelines and standards for event decor – from wedding tablecloths to event chair covers – the same goes for wedding outfits. Although there aren’t any hard and fast rules for how to dress in weddings, you will want to show up according to the dress code.

Coming up with the right wedding guest attire will depend on the dress code for wedding parties you're going to. Different dress codes call for different standards on how to style your outfit. In the next section, we walk you through the most popular dress codes and how to dress in line with each one.

What Are The Most Popular Wedding Dress Codes?

Keep up to date on outfit trends and witness your loved ones’ wedding in style with these top tips for different types of dress codes.

1. White Tie Wedding Attire

white tie wedding attire

The white tie dress code is the most formal wedding attire among all the dress codes. Think of the type of formal wear at grand dinner banquets, decadent royal events, and official state gatherings.

For white tie weddings, women are advised to wear floor-length gowns complete with heels, clutch purses, and a tasteful dash of luxurious jewelry. For the bridal entourage, you may want to look into infinity dresses for bridesmaids for that full-length gown with different styling options.

For men, full tuxedos complete with tails are the standard. Pair this with a formal white shirt and vest. Complete the look with a bowtie or necktie and some dashing footwear. Think of oxfords or other similarly classy formal shoes for men.

2. Black Tie Wedding Attire

black bow tie

A black tie wedding is also a formal dress code. Although it is a bit less formal than a white tie wedding, it still requires guests to come in their best formal attire.

For the ladies, this means a good option would still be floor-length gowns that go beyond the ankles. Opt for light, airy, and glamorous materials such as organza, satin, or silk. Women can also opt for pantsuits that give off a formal feel.

The best formal dress code for men would consist of tuxedos, bow ties and vests paired with some formal shoes. Since it’s a tad less formal than a white tie event, tuxedos aren’t required and can be substituted with a formal suit in dark colors paired with a formal tie.

3. Cocktail Wedding Dress Code

cheerful bridesmaid

Cocktail attire couple looks call for a more laid back vibe with just enough balance of comfort and elegance. 

For women, knee-length dresses are the standard instead of full floor-length gowns. They can also opt for tea-length or midi length skirts and dresses. In terms of style, they can go for fancier and bolder dresses that still exude a balance of relaxed formality. 

For men, a safe and standard option would be a suit and tie to give off a clean and crisp, yet relaxed look for cocktail wedding parties.

For weddings that have a business cocktail attire dress code, this simply means keeping the dressiness of a cocktail attire but meshed with the more formal and conservative style of a business attire. Think of dresses with hemlines above the knee, closed-toe shoes, and deep, rich solid colors instead of flash neons. Keep it relaxed yet classy. 

For men, opt for a suit paired with a crisp and clean formal shirt, topped off with a tie and a neat classic pocket square. You can also opt for a combination of smart trousers and a jacket paired with some formal polished footwear. 

4. Semi-formal Wedding Attire

wedding guest

Semi-formal wedding dress codes are a tad bit more casual and relaxed compared to cocktail wedding dress codes while still exuding style. For women, this means dresses that go below the knee or a classy pantsuit. Pair these with some stylish heels, wedges, or flats depending on the look you want. You can also opt for a stylish skirt paired with a fashionable top.

For men, they can go for some formal looking slacks with a crisp dress shirt. This gives a nice balance of formal wear and casual comfort. Pair with some leather shoes for a polished look. 

5. Festive Wedding Dress Code

festive dresses

Have fun and get creative with this relatively new and playful dress code. Go for bold colors and whimsical designs.

Festive wedding attires give you the freedom to dress in statement pieces. For women, go for cocktail dresses in bold colors. Pair these with stunning accessories and a stylish bag to complete your look.

For men, they can opt for a suit with interesting details or texture. Top off with a bold-colored tie. Even pop in a colorful pocket square for some pomp. You can be more bold with your choices for this dress code. 

6. Casual Wedding Attire

beautiful girls

This wedding dress code is among the most relaxed out of all the different types. Casual wedding dress codes allow for a comfortable look. These are perfect for outdoor weddings and garden parties. 

For women, summer outfits such as sundresses are a good option. Pair these with some stylish and comfortable sandals or wedges.

For men, a safe outfit choice would consist of khaki pants or dress pants. Pair these with a collared polo shirt. An additional option, top off with a tie if you want a touch of formal wear incorporated into your look. 

7. Destination Wedding Attire

summer outfit

Perhaps the most relaxed wedding dress code, destination wedding attires call for both style and function. Beach weddings entail sun, sea, and humid temperatures. Guests will want to dress with this in mind.

For both men and women, lightweight materials for dresses and pants are a must. Think polyester or linen.

For the ladies, you can still opt for some light and airy sun dresses paired with wedges or some stylish sandals. You can opt for a cute sun hat and some sunglasses if the weather gets too hot.

For the men, button down tops made of lightweight materials are recommended as well. You can choose designs that give off a slightly formal feel to balance off the relaxed feel of airy fabric. Top off the look with some square pockets.

What Is The Wedding Dress Code If Not Specified?

If your wedding invite doesn’t come with a dress code, it's really best to ask the bride and groom, or the event coordinator. This will give you a clear idea of how to dress and style yourself as a guest.

Is the dress code coat and tie? Should you be wearing a full length gown or a white semi formal dress? It’s best to get this cleared off with the couple or wedding planner. 

If they’re too busy, you can also default to a formal looking and lengthy cocktail dress for indoor weddings. This gives you the option to blend in with both casual and formal wedding settings.

Harmonizing your Party Venue and Dress Code

Giving out a dress code helps guide your loved ones into their best wedding guest attire. It also allows you to make sure your party decor, event linens, and your guests wedding attire all work together and complement each other.

For wedding parties, from white tie events to festive wedding parties, decorate your party table setting with wedding charger plates for an instantly elegant and elevated look. For white-tie and black-tie events, champagne colored charger plates are a perfect option.

Jazz up your event space with some pipe and drape kits and wedding arch backdrop. These are sure to glam up any party space. 

You don’t have to shell out too much money on these wedding decor and outfit ideas. There are dozens of ways and tips on how to throw a small wedding ideas on a budget.

Party in Style at any Wedding Party 

You’ll never be found feeling confused on how to style yourself for a loved one’s wedding with this basic guide on how to navigate the different wedding dress codes.

From formal wedding attires to more relaxed and casual wedding dress codes, you’re now equipped to style yourself at any wedding party.

These are only quick guides on how to style your wedding guest outfits. You can definitely mix and match to get the right attire for any special occasion. Create your own looks with your distinct personal style.

For more styling tips and design inspiration, visit our blog, Youtube, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts for more styling ideas.

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