Wedding Guest Dress Codes

What they all mean and what to wear!

Covid is calming down and wedding season is upon us. That means lots of postponed weddings and lots of different dress codes. Scroll down for a list of all the different dress codes and what you can wear to each! And check my Instagram reels for more info!

White Tie

The most formal dress code. Ya cant get any fancier than this. This is the dress code used for royal banquet and state dinners and this years Met Gala!) In the traditional definition, women should wear formal floor length dresses and men should wear a tuxedo with tails. Pants and jacket should be matching colors. Women should accessorize with formal jewelry and heels.

Black Tie

Typically means it is an evening event. In the traditional definition, women should wear floor length dresses that do not reveal the ankles. Men should wear a tuxedo with a black bowtie or simple black tie. This is one of the stricter dress codes with less room for interpretation. For men, black tie requires a tuxedo. The difference between a tux and a suit can be found HERE.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

Men do not need to wear a tuxedo but they should still wear a suit and tie. Women can wear a floor length dress as in the black tie dress code but they can also wear a dressy tea length dress with heels or formal flats. 


More formal than a day event but more casual than a night celebration. Men should still wear a suit and tie, but women can play around a little more with this one. Women should wear a knee length or tea length dress. You can also wear a dressy jumpsuit. 

Semi Formal or Dressy Casual

Women can wear cocktail dresses (no shorter than just above the knee), a knee length skirt and top pairing, or a nicer jumpsuit. Men should wear a dress shirt and slacks with the option to wear a tie. This category is also a bit more dependent on the time of day. Darker more formal colors should be worn for an evening event while lighter more colorful fabrics should be worn for an afternoon event. Semi formal gives a bit more room to dress comfortably but be sure not to dress to casual. Women also have the option to wear wedges in addition to heels and dressy flats. 


This is a relatively new dress code and I had to do a little more research on this one. It seems like it is a similar dress code to semi formal/dressy casual but where guests are encouraged to play a little more with colors. Cocktail dressed with bright patterns for women and men in suits with a fun pocket square or a dress shirt and pants with a bolder tie. 


This typically indicates that the event with be held outdoors or on the beach and that it will be much more laid back. Though not so laid back that you can wear jeans, shorts or tank tops. Women can wear a sundress with sandals (no sneakers). Men an wear dress pants or khaki pants with a collared shirt. But steer clear of t-shirts and tennis shoes. 

Tropical or Destination

Very similar to casual but typically the weather is hotter and more humid (depending on the location of course). In addition to sundresses and sandals, women can add a sunhat for any outdoor festivities. Men should still wear dress pants or khakis with a collared shirt. 

If you are still in doubt, ask the bride and groom! I promise they will not take offense. I’m sure they would rather have you dressing appropriately than not asking and standing out. It is their day and your goal is to dress for the occasion without making a scene. The biggest piece of advice I have for you is to not out dress the bride and DON’T WEAR WHITE.

Also for more wedding tips check out my post on Wedding Etiquette!



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