How To Decode The Wedding Guest Dress Code Skip to main content

When you’re designing your wedding invitations, there are obvious pieces of information to remember to include, such as the venue address and the date and time of the event. There is also one important detail to remember to include that will help guests determine what they’ll wear to your event: the dress code request.

The terms frequently used to define the dress code can be a bit confusing, so we’re here to help you crack the wedding dress code.

White Tie

White Tie Attire is the most formal request, even above most awards ceremonies. Women are expected to wear full length gowns in dark or neutral colors, and men are expected to wear a full black tuxedo with tails, a white shirt, vest, and bow tie, and black shoes.

Black Tie

Weddings are generally a formal event,so requests for black tie dress are fairly common. For men, this means a request to wear a tuxedo. A tuxedo is comprised of a vest, bow tie, patent leather shoes and a cummerbund. For the ladies, this is typically a floor length formal gown. A shorter dress is also acceptable, but stick to dark colors and formal fabrics. A dressy little black dress (LBD) with complementing jewelry would also be acceptable.

Black Tie Optional/Formal

Many couples are choosing the Black Tie Optional/Formal dress code for their weddings. This lets guests know that the wedding party will be wearing formal attire but it is optional for guests. This doesn’t mean guests should show up in jeans and tennis shoes! Women should still opt for formal floor length dresses, the LBD, or a dressy jumpsuit. Men have the option of wearing a tuxedo or a formal suit.

Festive Attire

Festive Attire is not frequently used, yet more common in the winter months. This attire suggests that the guests take liberty in being a little creative with their outfits. Patterns, sequins, velvet, and other eccentric pieces are perfect for these weddings. Outfits should follow the semi-formal or formal guidelines, but steer away from simple black dresses. Suits and ties of any season-appropriate color are perfect for gentlemen, and we recommend a funky patterned tie if the suit is simple black.

Cocktail Attire/Semi-Formal

This dress code is in between formal and casual. A formal dark suit with a tie for men is appropriate. For the ladies, the infamous LBD with complementing accessories or a brightly colored cocktail dress are great options.

Garden/Beach Attire

Typically used during the spring and summer months, Garden and Beach Attire are becoming more and more popular. Sundresses and floral jumpsuits are appropriate, and should fit the vibe of a garden or beach. Soft colors are recommended for all guests, so khaki, pastel, and neutral tones are great for the gentlemen. Trousers with a button down shirt is suitable, and a tie is optional.


For a relaxed wedding, the casual dress code is appropriate. This allows guests to wear what they want within reason, of course. Casual dresses such as sundresses are great for the spring/summer months, whereas a midi or flowy dress with sleeves would be great for the colder months. Gentlemen should wear trousers and a button down or a polo shirt depending on the season, and a tie nor jacket are necessary.

We hope this information has helped you understand the wedding dress code a little better to make the best decision for your wedding. We would love to hear all about your wedding event, so contact us today!

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