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Wedding Dress Codes: Decoded

Wedding season is upon us, and with it comes the question of what to wear. Dress codes can be confusing, especially when they have specific names like "white-tie" or "cocktail". Here's a breakdown of the most common dress codes you may encounter, along with some suggestions for both men and women on what to wear this season!



White-Tie

This is the most formal dress code, typically reserved for very formal events. For women, a floor-length gown is a must. Look for a dress that’s fitted at the top and flares out at the bottom, like a ballgown. Pair it with high heels, statement jewelry, and a clutch. For men, a black tailcoat, trousers, a white bow tie, and patent leather shoes are required.


Black-Tie

Black-tie is less formal than white-tie, but still very dressy. For women, a floor-length gown is still appropriate, but a shorter cocktail dress can also work. Look for something elegant and sophisticated, like a long sleeve dress with a slit. Pair it with heels and a clutch. For men, a black tuxedo, black bow tie, and dress shoes are required.


Formal or Black-Tie Optional

This dress code gives guests a little more flexibility, but it's still a formal affair. For women, a floor-length gown or a dressy cocktail dress is appropriate. Look for something that’s sophisticated but not overly formal, like a silk wrap dress. Pair it with heels and a clutch. For men, a dark suit and tie is appropriate, but a tuxedo is also acceptable.


Cocktail

Cocktail attire is dressy, but not as formal as black-tie or white-tie. For women, a knee-length or midi dress is appropriate, like a classic little black dress. Look for something that’s stylish and flattering, like a fitted sheath dress. Pair it with heels and a clutch. For men, a suit and tie is appropriate, but a blazer and dress pants can also work.


Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

This dress code is a step down from cocktail, and means guests should dress nicely but not too formally. For women, a knee-length or midi dress is appropriate, like a floral printed dress. Look for something that’s stylish and comfortable, like a flowy A-line dress. Pair it with heels or dressy flats and a clutch. For men, a blazer and dress pants or a dress shirt and khakis are appropriate.


Festive

Festive attire is a dressy dress code with a fun twist. For women, a cocktail dress in a bold color or with embellishments is appropriate. Look for something that’s festive and playful, like a sequined dress. Pair it with heels and statement jewelry. For men, a suit in a bright color or with a fun pattern is appropriate, paired with dress shoes.


Casual

Casual attire doesn't mean wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but it does allow for a more relaxed outfit. For women, a sundress or maxi dress is appropriate, like a floral printed dress. Look for something that’s comfortable and easy to wear, like a flowy maxi dress. Pair it with sandals or dressy flats and a small purse. For men, dress pants or khakis paired with a dress shirt or polo shirt is appropriate.


Tropical or Destination

This dress code is typically reserved for beach weddings or weddings held in tropical locations. Men can wear a linen suit or dress pants with a button-up shirt, while women can wear a sundress or maxi dress in a lightweight fabric.


Concept Style/Themed

This dress code is more specific and may require guests to dress according to a certain theme or concept. It could be anything from a 1920s Gatsby theme to a Great Outdoors theme. It's important to follow the specific instructions given by the couple.


Come As You Are

This dress code is the most casual and allows guests to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. It's important to remember that even though it's casual, you're still attending a wedding and should dress appropriately.


What dress code do you plan to have your guests wear at your wedding? We always love to tell our clients that sharing more information is better when it comes to attire requests. Giving your guests guidance will minimize tons of questions coming your way, and will allow guests to feel confident in their outfit choices on your day. Cheers! xx

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