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The Dress Code – Wedding Guest Attire & Etiquette

It’s wedding season! And chances are you’ve got at least a few nuptials on your calendar this year. But no matter how many weddings you’ve been to, the question always remains: “What do I wear?” Have no fear, future wedding guest! From “white tie” to “casual” we’ve compiled our best dressed tips for every possible dress code.

White Tie

The crème de la crème of all dress codes, so you’ll want to bring your “A” game.

(Think: a White House state dinner or a visit with the Queen).


Treat yourself to a formal, floor-length evening gown and glamorous hair and makeup to match. If you’re unsure of appropriate colors run your options by the bridal party for approval.

white tie wedding attire dress code


 A traditional tuxedo is the only choice for a white tie event. Tails are optional, a vest is not. And take your style cues from the name itself, your jacket, pants and shoes can be black, but your tie, shirt and vest should be white.

wedding dress code white tie

Black Tie

So the Queen may not be in attendance, but you should still be dressed to the nines.

(Think: a fundraising gala or art auction).


Your hemline doesn’t have to graze the floor, but confirm your shorter dress choice with the bridal party to gauge the level of dressiness.

black tie wedding dress code guest etiquette


A tuxedo is still the preferred outfit of choice for the guys. But you can have a bit more fun with your accessories. Match your tie and vest to the colors of your date’s dress and you’ll be sure to impress.

black tie wedding guest attire

Formal or Black Tie Optional

Also known as “Tuxedo Optional,” this event is formal enough for a tux, but not so formal that it’s mandatory to wear one. So you can loosen your tie but you’d still better wear one.

(Think: a fancy dinner party or a restaurant that is reservation only).


A long dress, formal cocktail dress or fancy separates are all good options for this dress code.

black tie optional women wedding guest dress code


If you don’t already have a tux, don’t sweat it. A formal dinner jacket is more than appropriate.

formal wedding guest attire dress code

Semi-formal or Cocktail

The most common wedding dress code, you should already have something in your closet that falls in this category.

(Think: a nice dinner out or a first date).


A cocktail dress or a nice dressy skirt and top are great options. Choose your color based on the season or time of day, i.e. pastels in spring, darker colors in the evening, etc.

wedding guest attire cocktail semiformal dress code


 A classic button down and slacks combo never goes wrong. Jacket optional.

mens cocktail attire wedding guest dress code


This is quickly becoming a wedding dress code trend. An invitation labeled “festive attire” is the go ahead to have a bit more fun with your look. Use the overall wedding theme as your style guide.

(Think: a theme party, but a classy one).


Play with bolder colors than you would for a cocktail party. Or add some texture with a statement necklace or a fun piece of head wear.

wedding dress code festive guest attire


 Add some funk to your suit and tie with a bold pocket square, patterned suit or a bright tie (or all three)!

festive mens wedding attire guest dress code


A casual dress code usually indicates the ceremony will be outdoors, giving the entire event a more laid back vibe. However this is not license to show up in jeans and t-shirt.

(Think: A church picnic or a nice brunch with friends).


A summer sundress is a good starting point. Choose a simpler fabric like cotton or linen to avoid overdressing.

casual wedding outfit dress code


Nice slacks or khakis and a simple button down shirt or sweater are all safe options. A tie may or may not be appropriate, check with the bridal party if you’re unsure.

casual wedding attire men guest dress code

And, as always, if you have questions go ahead and ask. Pay attention to the formality of the invitations, pre-wedding events and wedding website to help narrow down your choices. And don’t forget the gift! Custom thank you cards from @Marrygrams are a welcome addition to any newlyweds desk. Shop here!