Wedding Dress Code For Guests

When going to a wedding, there will be a dress code established by the bride and groom. It can be challenging to decipher what that dress code means. Here are the most commonly used dress codes for wedding guests, so your guests can dress appropriately.

Black Tie

A black tie wedding will generally be an evening ceremony and reception. If you’re going to a formal wedding, this is what you will probably see on the invitation. A woman should wear a long evening gown covering the ankles. Men should wear a tuxedo, a black bow tie and a cummerbund. Patent leather shoes are also suggested. 

Formal or Black Tie Optional

When you use this phrasing, you are saying a little less formal but still appropriate. For women this means wearing a floor-length gown, a fancy cocktail dress, or a dressy pants suit. The key difference between this and Black Tie for women is that the dress can show your ankles. Men have the option of wearing a tuxedo, however, they can also wear a dark suit, with a white shirt, and a conservative tie. 


This dress code is a middle ground between semi-formal/casual and formal/black tie optional. This wording is not usually used for a day wedding, but for an informal evening wedding. Women may wear a tea length, knee-length, or midi dress, paying attention that your dress is not overly embellished or fancy. Pants suits are also appropriate. Men need to wear a suit and tie, but it does not restrict the suit color and accessories in color.

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

When deciding what to wear for a wedding with this dress code, the key is the time of day of the wedding. Darker colors are appropriate for an evening wedding and lighter colors for a day wedding. Women should wear a below the knee dress, or a dressy skirt and top. A nice pants suit can also be considered. Pair your outfit with nice heels, wedges, or formal flats. Men should wear a dress shirt with slacks in dark or light, depending on the time of day. A suit or dinner jacket should also be included.

Causal or Day Time

Casual or day time implies that mostly anything goes, however; jeans, shorts, and tank tops should not be worn unless stated. Business casual is a great guideline for what to wear when you see this phrase. Women should wear a summer sundress, a skirt, or pants and a nice blouse. Hair and makeup can be natural. Men should wear dress pants with a button down or a polo.

While these are the most commonly used terms, it will be helpful to search and find the exact dress code based on your invitation. Check out our collection and blog for other tips.

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