Spring is in the air, and lovebirds everywhere are tying the knot! As invitations start to flood your mailbox, it's time to brush up on your knowledge of wedding dress codes. Don’t know a black-tie look from a semi-formal one? Don't fret! We're here to save the day with a fabulous guide to dress codes that’ll make you the belle of the ball – or beach!
Black Tie: Black tie weddings are the crème de la crème of formal events. Think awards season! For the ladies, it's time to bring out the show-stopping gowns. Choose a glamorous floor-length dress in a luxurious fabric like silk, satin, or chiffon and a sophisticated shade like classic black or a deep jewel tone. Pair your ensemble with statement accessories like sparkling earrings or a dazzling clutch. As for the gentlemen, a tuxedo is the way to go. Stick to traditional black or midnight blue and pair it with – you guessed it – a black tie.
Black Tie Optional: For black tie optional affairs, you have the freedom to dial up or down the formality. Ladies can still go for elegant floor-length gowns or opt for a sophisticated cocktail dress instead. Experiment with rich colors, intricate patterns, and beautiful textures. Gentlemen can choose between a tuxedo or a well-tailored dark suit with a dress shirt and a tie. Don't forget to add polished dress shoes to complete the look.
Formal: Formal dress codes allow for a touch of personal flair while still maintaining a polished appearance. For ladies, floor-length gowns, dressy separates, and chic cocktail dresses are all excellent choices. For men, a tailored suit in a neutral color like charcoal gray or navy blue would be perfect. Pair it with a dress shirt, a tie, and leather shoes.
Cocktail: Cocktail attire calls for a balance between formal and fun. Ladies can opt for knee-length or tea-length dresses in vibrant colors or playful prints that fit the venue and time of day. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flirty silhouettes and statement accessories to express your personality. For men, a well-fitted suit in a lighter color such as would work great, or you could go with a brighter, more eye-catching hue to ensure you stand out in the crowd.
Beach Formal: Beach weddings call for a relaxed yet refined approach. Ladies, go the effortlessly elegant route with a flowy maxi dress or a chic sundress. Choose breathable fabrics to stay cool under the sun, embrace soft pastel hues or tropical prints to match the beachy ambiance, and make sure to wear comfortable sandals or wedges that won't sink into the sand. Men can go for light-colored linen suits or khaki pants with a button-down shirt. Skip the tie and complete the look with loafers or boat shoes.
Semi-Formal / Dressy Casual: The semi-formal dress code falls right between formal and casual and gives you the freedom to showcase your personal style while maintaining a touch of sophistication. Ladies can opt for knee-length dresses, stylish jumpsuits, or dressy separates and play with bright colors and interesting patterns. Gentlemen can go for a suit in lighter colors like light gray or beige. Pair it with a dress shirt, and you can skip the tie if you prefer a more relaxed vibe.
Daytime / Casual: Daytime or casual weddings allow for a more relaxed approach, but that’s not to say that anything goes. A wedding is still a big, momentous event after all! Depending on what’s appropriate for the setting, ladies can wear anything from a cute sundress to a stylish jumpsuit. Gentlemen can use business casual attire as a guide and wear slacks or khaki pants with a button-down shirt, adding a blazer or a tie if you feel like being a little dressier. And shorts, athleisure wear, jeans, and sneakers should be off-limits even for a casual wedding.