Wedding season is officially in full swing, and along with the invites comes the inevitable stress about what to wear that’s both stylish and appropriate. Each wedding has its own unique vibe, and often a dress code will be stated on the invite. But what do these dress codes actually mean? Here, I explain the most common wedding guest dress codes to help prepare you for any upcoming weddings this season!
Don’t mistakenly interpret a casual dress code to mean you should show up to a wedding in jeans and a tee. Casual wedding attire calls for a simple dress or jumpsuit—or you can surprise everyone and wear a totally on-trend suit!
Cocktail Attire (Semi-Formal)
This dress code is your chance to be the most playful; try a knee-length dress or skirt, colorful details, and your favorite style of shoe.
Formal Attire (Black Tie Optional)
This dress code is known as black tie optional because it means the wedding party will be dressed in formal attire (gowns and tuxedos), while guests have the option to dress formally as well. A safe bet is to find a cocktail to floor length formal dress.
This is where we get to pull out all the stops, ladies! Choose a formal dress with a jewel color tone and statement-making details. Think of this as your red carpet moment.
The most formal of dress codes, this requires a proper (usually more conservative) gown, typically floor length. If you want to go shorter, opt for a tea length dress and dress it up with heels and sleek accessories.
If your invite doesn’t state a dress code, don’t fret! Base your outfit on the design of the invitation, the location, the day/time of the wedding… and of course, it’s always a safe bet to just ask!