Invited to a wedding but confused by the dress code? You’re not alone. Many wedding guests struggle most with the decision of what to wear to a wedding. Different wedding dress codes include: Casual, Cocktail Attire/Semi-Formal/Dressy Casual, Beach Formal, Formal/Black Tie Optional, Black Tie White Tie and Themed.
A casual dress code is probably one of the most deceiving wedding dress codes. This dress code does not mean that you can wear jeans and a t-shirt. For women this means a summer dress and men should wear dress pants with a polo or dress shirt.
Cocktail attire, semi-formal and dressy casual are three phrases that mean the same thing. For this dress code women can break out their little black dresses or some other cocktail dress. Cocktail attire for men means a suit and tie or a sport coat.
Beach Formal is a dress code reserved for beach weddings. This dress code is typically applied to weddings at the beach as the beach is typically associated with casual dress. Formal is tacked onto the end so guests know that this is still a classy event even though it is at the beach. It is recommended that women wear a formal summer sundress with flats and men wear a shirt and tie with khakis or linen pants.
Formal or Black Tie Optional means that the wedding party will be in formal attire but it will be optional for all guests. In this case, men should wear a dark suit or tux and women should wear a floor length dress or evening pant suit.
Black Tie is where men wear tuxedos and women wear formal gowns of any length.
White Tie is the most formal of all wedding dress codes. This is where women wear full-length ball gowns and men wear long-tail tuxedos.
A themed dress code is designated by the bride and groom but is common for Halloween weddings where the bride and groom may ask that their guests dress up in a Halloween costume. Other theme examples include Mardi Gras, Masquerade, Steampunk, etc.
In general there are a few simple rules all wedding guests should follow. Women should always aim to avoid wearing white, off-white or ivory unless it is deemed a “white wedding” (not to be confused with the White Tie dress code. Both men and women should not wear shorts to a wedding unless specifically requested. If the wedding will be held in a church or other location that requires a heightened sense of modesty women should cover their shoulders and not wear anything that is low cut.
Contrary to popular belief black is an acceptable color to wear to weddings. This is most acceptable during weddings that are held at night as opposed to daytime weddings so just keep the timing of the wedding in mind when selecting your outfit.
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