While a wedding doesn’t revolve around guests’ personal style, it is important to understand and follow the dress code. But this isn’t always easy – what are the dress codes and what exactly do they all mean?
White-tie is the most formal of the dress codes and is not used frequently. For women, a floor length gown is expected along with equally formal shoes (preferably heels) and sophisticated jewelry. Men are expected to wear a tuxedo with tails with a crisp white dress shirt, formal vest or cummerbund, and bowtie.
- Black-Tie and Black-Tie Optional/ “Formal Attire”
Black-tie is a tier down from white-tie in terms of formality. Women are again expected to wear a floor length gown or equally formal and elegant pantsuit or jumpsuit that hits the ground. Tuxedos with a black bow tie are a must for men, although long tails are not required. Formal dress shoes are also expected.
Black-tie optional or “Formal Attire” is essentially what it sounds like-you can opt for black-tie attire (as seen above), however it is not required. If you choose to go a little less formal, a dark and well fitted suit with nice shoes is acceptable for men and a cocktail dress is perfectly fine for women.
Cocktail attire is a happy medium when it comes to the spectrum of formality. Women should wear cocktail dresses that have a shorter hemline than evening gowns – knee length and midi length are perfect. You can certainly play around with accessories and jewelry here- but don’t overdo it. For men, a classic suit and tie with a nice button down will do.
In comparison to cocktail attire, semi-formal is a tad more casual. So, for women, a nice dress that is a bit less formal than cocktail will do (perhaps with less beading and ornate detail). Men can wear slacks paired with a nice button-down shirt and a tie.
Out of all of the above dress codes, this is the most casual. However, this does not mean that you can wear jeans and a tank top. For women, a flowy sundress with sandals or heels is perfect. A fun jumpsuit or skirt with a pretty top is also appropriate for this dress code. For men, a button-down with dress pants or khaki pants is appropriate; a nice blazer can be added to slightly elevate this look.