Wedding Guest Attire & Etiquette

Bijgewerkt: jan 21

What to wear to a wedding can be confusing & there always seem to be these unspoken rules of do's & do not's. Lets chat through them...

Why Follow The Dress Code:

First & foremost following the dress code is a sign of respect for the couple and the monumental event. Your attire should always be respectful, tasteful, conservative & appropriate. It should also reflect the tone of the day that the couple is wanting to capture.

Why You Should Note A Dress Code On Your Invites:

Dress codes & rules of etiquette were design to ease the stress of "what to wear" for your guests. It helps your guests to know what is expected & eliminate the question of being too casual or too dressy in comparison to your other guests. You want your guests to feel comfortable so that they can focus on having fun & celebrating your new marriage!

What To Do If A Dress Code Isn't Clear:

  1. Check the invites & detail cards for any hints

  2. Check their wedding website for additional details

  3. If you know any of the bridesmaids, they would be the next best resource to ask since they likely know a lot about what the bride is hoping the day is like.

  4. If you still can't get your hands on any details, reach out to the bride or groom directly to ask but keep this as the last resort & never within the week of the wedding.

General Wedding Guest Attire Guidelines If A Dress Code Isn't Clear:

Day Time Ceremony (Before 4 pm)

Daytime weddings are more casual, and so lighter fabrics, festive colors, and less-formal attire is the rule. 

For women, a nice sundress dress, romper or jumpsuit are good choices.

For men, a suit in neutral colors ranging from light grey, navy blue & charcoal.

Evening Ceremony (After 4 pm)

For evening weddings more formal styles, longer dresses, and gowns are appropriate for women.

Men should wear darker suits in navy,  black, & deep gray.

Specific Dress Code Attire & What They Mean:

Casual Wedding Attire

Women should wear nice pants with a pretty top, skirt & blouse or a casual sundress. Heeled or structured flat for footwear. Never flip-flops or sneakers.

Men should wear a nice collared or button-down shirt in a short sleeve or long sleeve paired with a nice dress pant. Ties are optional. Unless it’s a casual outdoor wedding or a beach wedding, usually a little more formality is better than being too casual.

Semi-Formal Attire

Women should wear a cocktail length dress, midi dress, romper or jumpsuit.

Men should wear a suit or sport coat & tied with dress shoes.

Black Tie Optional or Formal Attire

Women should wear an elegant cocktail dress, long formal dress, jumpsuit or pantsuit are all appropriate options as long as the fabric & color choices are formal colors & fabrics such as satin, chiffon, velvet or silk. Sparkling accessories are encouraged for formal events!

Men should wear dark suits & dark neutral bow tie or tie. If you happen to have access to a tuxedo or wish to wear one, that is a nice bonus!

Black Tie Attire

Women should wear a full-length formal gown with heels. A long or ball gown style skirt paired with a dressy top is also a great look. A formal pantsuit or jumpsuit is also appropriate given the cut & color are sophisticated and elegant.

Men should wear a tuxedo in a dark color with either a cummerbund, vest or suspenders. A black tie is also a necessity!

White Tie Attire

Women should wear a floor-length, formal evening gown (No knee-length dresses here!).

Men should wear a tailcoat with a white vest, white shirt, and tie with white gloves (gray is an acceptable choice as well), and fine black shoes without laces.

What Not To Wear To A Wedding

1. White or Off-White
2. Jeans, Hats & Non-Collared Shirt
3. Anything Too Revealing
4. Anything wrinkled
5. The Wedding Party Colors or Dress Styles
6. Head to Toe Black (It is okay to wear a little black dress with nice jewelry but remember that it is likely that staff, DJ, Wedding Planners, Catering, etc will all be in black so do something to stand out)

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