A Guest’s Guide to Every Kind of Wedding Dress Code

All of us want weddings to end up perfectly. Be it ours, our loved ones, or even neighbours. These once-in-a-lifetime events are just too valuable for any errors. Aren’t they?

So, if you have a wedding happening around you, you might find this post super useful. That’s because here we discuss all possible ways to dress for a wedding. With this, we aim to help guests dress appropriately for the big day.

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Let’s get to it!

White Tie

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Perhaps, the most widely known dress code for weddings is none other than the very formal white tie. It’s the traditional dress code for weddings. Women will opt for full-length ball gowns, preferably in white or subtle colours. For men, we suggest long-tail tuxedos. Elite weddings may even involve hats, gloves, intricate accessories, and whatnot.

Black Tie

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Black tie weddings indicate that the event will most likely take place in the evening. So, men and women are advised to go a bit lighter with their formal wear. But only a level down.

Women should wear full-length gowns. If you’ve got a formal cocktail dress that gives a sophisticated vibe, then that will do too. For men, however, there aren’t many options. We suggest a tuxedo. They should go with a black bow tie, black cummerbund or vest, and leather shoes. Alternatively, in higher temperatures, you can go with black tuxedo trousers coupled with a white jacket.

Black Tie Optional

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Black tie optional is more or less the same as a black tie for women. An additional option here is fancy dress suits. The same applies to men. If a tuxedo seems too heavy of a dress, they can go for corporate dress suits or a suit that shows their ankles. The colours should be white, black, or anything subtle. Vibrant colours are not for this event!

Now, this depicts that black-tie optional is slightly less formal dress code than a white tie and black. But it retains its formal, sophisticated edge enough to not classify as semi-formal.

Cocktail or Semi-Formal

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Semi-formal wedding guest dresses happen to be a mix of emotions. You can pair a bold, vibrant colour with a formal cocktail dress. Perhaps, tie up a fancy bun and wear flats. Do you see the frenzy here? The purpose of this dress code is to bring the edge of uniqueness and life to the wedding event. Your style and taste are in accordance with the seriousness of the event.

To put it simply, you can opt for knee-length dresses, a fancy pantsuit, a long skirt paired with an elegant top, or a sophisticated cocktail dress. The colours can be solid and vibrant, especially for evening or night weddings. For daytime weddings, you can opt for lighter colours. But we recommend pairing it with something bold, like a fancy hair updo or hoops, for example.


Festive dress code is a new addition to the wedding dress codes. It’s one step ahead of semi-formal in a more fun and creative way. It does not encourage the guests to hop into their comfort zones as the casual dress code does. Instead, it urges them to bring in colours and life to the event in a grandiose manner. Just imagine you’re invited to the Met Gala. Determine how do you stand out.

Women are suggested to play with colours. Pair up your favourite cocktail dress with heels and even playful accessories. Men could sport a creative, bright tie, or a suit with jazzed-up looks.


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We mention this last because this is a rarity. Most people like their weddings to stand out from the rest of the events of their life and so they cannot help but incorporate super fancy and formal dress codes.

However, if you’re lucky enough to attend a wedding that calls for casual wear, then you know what to do! Pick the pair of clothes in your wardrobe that you consider the best. For women, we suggest casual knee-length dresses, while guys can go for polo shirts or button-down dress shirts. If the wedding’s located in a suburban area or on a beach, we’d recommend going for jeans, a shirt, or even throw on some cowboy boots.

Final Thoughts

By now, we hope you’ve got a complete command of dressing well for almost any kind of wedding. However, before we part ways, let us hush off that big grey cloud over your head. In case you have no idea how exactly do you choose which dress code to go with, then chill. It’s the host’s job.

The host will clarify which dress code to follow on the wedding invitation. Usually, it’s mentioned clearly with the same terms as those used above.

If you don’t find it, don’t panic! Ring the host and inquire. Keep it easy and fun!

Author Bio:
Shawn Mack is an experienced content writer who offers ghostwriting, copy-writing, and blogging services. His educational background in business and technical fields has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He is also fond of writing interesting articles on technology & digital marketing related topics.