Are you tired of feeling confused and uncertain about what to wear to weddings? Have you ever found yourself standing in front of your closet, agonizing over the appropriate dress code? We are here to help you decipher the code and ensure you’re dressed to impress at any wedding. Get ready to put your fashion foot forward. Here are some helpful tips to be the best-dressed guest at every wedding you attend.


What You Should Be Expected to Wear to a Wedding

What exactly should you wear to a wedding? Dressing appropriately for a wedding is essential to show respect for the couple and the occasion. The attire you choose should reflect the formality of the event and any specific dress code mentioned on the invitation. For a formal wedding, opt for a classic suit or a tuxedo if you want to make a statement. A dark-colored suit with a crisp white shirt and a conservative tie is a safe and sophisticated choice for a semi-formal wedding. If the wedding is more casual, you can wear a dress shirt with dress pants or chinos, paired with a blazer. 

For women, a cocktail dress or an elegant dress suit is suitable for a formal or semi-formal wedding. A knee-length or midi dress, paired with appropriate accessories, can be worn for a more casual wedding. By dressing in line with the dress code and showing respect for the couple’s special day, you will feel confident and a part of the celebration.



White Tie versus Black Tie

When it comes to wedding dress attire, understanding the difference between a white tie and a black tie dress code is crucial. This allows you to dress appropriately and follows the event’s level of formality. Here’s what you need to know:

  • White Tie: This is the most formal dress code for weddings. For men, it means wearing a black tailcoat, white shirt, white bow tie, black trousers, and black patent leather shoes. Women should opt for a full-length evening gown, preferably in a dark or neutral color, and pair it with elegant accessories like gloves and statement jewelry.
  • Black Tie: This dress code is slightly less formal than white tie but still requires a polished and sophisticated look. Men should wear a black tuxedo with a white dress shirt, black bow tie, black patent leather shoes, and optional accessories like a vest or cummerbund. Women can choose between a formal cocktail dress or a long evening gown, depending on the time of the wedding and personal preference.
  • The Difference: The main difference between a white tie dress code and a black tie dress code lies in the level of formality. White tie is considered the pinnacle of elegance and is reserved for the most prestigious events, while black tie is more common and suitable for formal evening weddings.

Cocktail Dress Code

To adhere to the appropriate dress code for a wedding, consider opting for a cocktail dress. This dress code is perfect for those who desire to fit in and feel a sense of belonging. A cocktail dress is a versatile choice that strikes the right balance between formal and informal. It allows you to look elegant and put-together without being too overdressed or underdressed. 

When choosing a cocktail dress, aim for a knee-length or tea-length style in a fabric that is not too casual or too formal. Look for dresses in classic silhouettes with tasteful embellishments or patterns. Pair your dress with heels or dressy flats, and accessorize with complementary jewelry and a clutch. Remember to keep your makeup and hairstyle polished and chic. By opting for a cocktail dress, you can confidently navigate the wedding with style and grace, knowing that you have chosen an attire that is appropriate for the occasion.

Beautiful young woman choosing a wedding dress in a wedding salon.

Festive or Themed Dress Code

If you’re looking to add a touch of excitement and playfulness to your wedding attire, consider embracing the festive or themed dress code. This is a great option for those who want to stand out and showcase their unique style. Here are three ways you can rock a festive or themed look at a wedding:


  • Embrace the theme: If the wedding has a specific theme, such as a beach or vintage theme, take the opportunity to fully embrace it. Wear a flowy sundress and accessorize with beachy elements like seashell jewelry or opt for a retro-inspired outfit complete with a vintage hairstyle and accessories.
  • Play with colors: Festive attire allows you to experiment with vibrant colors and bold patterns. Go for a colorful printed dress or a suit in a bold shade like red or electric blue. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different colors and patterns to create a fun and eye-catching look.
  • Add whimsical accessories: Accessories are a great way to incorporate a festive or themed vibe into your outfit. Consider wearing a quirky hat, statement jewelry, or novelty socks. These small details can make a big impact and show off your playful side.


Casual, but not too Casual

Opting for a relaxed dress code that strikes a balance between casual and formal attire. You want to feel comfortable but still look put together for the wedding. This dress code is perfect for those who want to avoid being too overdressed or underdressed. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.

For women, a casual dress or a skirt and blouse combination is a great choice. Opting for fabrics like cotton or linen for a laid-back vibe. Pair it with some cute sandals or flats to complete the look. You can also accessorize with statement jewelry or a stylish hat to add a touch of elegance. Men can go for a nice pair of khakis or chinos, paired with a button-down shirt. Skip the tie and opt for a blazer or a sports coat for a more polished look. Loafers or dress shoes will complete the ensemble.


Key Takeaways – The TDLR Version

All in all, there are different ways that you can dress to impress, regardless of the dress code. Showing up in a way that is appropriately dressed, can convey a message to the wedding couple a sign of respect as well as that you got the memo. Here are the key takeaways:


  1. Dress appropriately for the wedding by considering the formality of the event and adhering to any specific dress code mentioned on the invitation.
  2. White tie attire is the most formal, consisting of a black tailcoat for men and a full-length evening gown for women, while black tie is more common for formal evening weddings.
  3. Cocktail dress code offers versatility with knee-length or tea-length dresses in a fabric that is neither too casual nor too formal, paired with heels or dressy flats and complemented with jewelry and a clutch.
  4. For festive or themed weddings, embrace the wedding theme with vibrant colors, bold patterns, and whimsical accessories to showcase unique style and stand out in a fun and eye-catching way.