Guide to wedding dress codes

If you have never been to a wedding before and have recently received an invitation, you may be puzzled by the request to wear certain clothing. Gone are the days for many couples where they are happy for their guests to wear whatever they want.

So, here is everything you need to know about wedding dress codes, what they mean, and how to adhere to them without sacrificing your own comfort.

Why Do Couples Choose Dress Codes for Their Weddings?

There are a few reasons that couples might want their guests to dress a particular way at their wedding. Some want their wedding photos to look perfect or want to create a certain atmosphere at the venue by having everyone dress their best.

Some themed weddings request a dress code so that guests are included in the theme, perhaps to celebrate the couple’s traditions. A dress code is often used to signify the kind of event the wedding will be, whether that means extremely formal, semi-formal, or laidback and casual.

What Are the Different Wedding Dress Codes?

Here are the basic rules about the most common dress codes for weddings:

  • Black-tie weddings require guests to wear dresses that cover their ankles, smart suits, or tuxedos.
  • Formal weddings don’t demand tuxedos or ankle-covering dresses but still require smart suits and cocktail dresses.
  • Semi-formal weddings allow for more freedom,and wearing a tuxedo or floor-length dress could be too formal for this kind of event.
  • A casual dress code means dressing smartly and comfortably, avoiding denim, sneakers, and tank tops.
  • If you are attending a destination wedding, choose clothing that is appropriate for the climate but still dressy.
  • Themed weddings might take some preparation on your part since you will most likely need to find an outfit that matches the theme.

Not every wedding has a stated dress code included on the invitation. Some couples might even tell their guests to wear whatever they like, in which case, seize the opportunity to dress in your fanciest and most glamorous outfit.

What Should You Wear?

Within each dress code, there will be some room for personal adjustment. If you can’t walk in highheels, for example, find equally smart footwear for the occasion that doesn’t impact your mobility.

There is some flexibility when it comes to climate and venue, too. Fall wedding guest attire, for example, may differ from the expected outfits in other seasons.

This will also depend upon the location of the wedding and the weather forecast, as well as the venue and your own comfort preferences. You might be more sensitive to the cold than others, in which case, be prepared with a tasteful item of outerwear that doesn’t break the stated dress code.

What to Wear When There is No Dress Code

Some wedding invitations might not state a dress code at all, in which case you might want to reach out to the couple just to check if they have any preferences. If they don’t, it is best to wear something formal and comfortable so that you can share the fun of their big day.