A Simple Guide on What to Wear to a Wedding

Figuring out what to wear to a wedding often depends on the season and the theme of the wedding. However, there are some apparent wedding fashion faux pas to avoid.

Wedding invitations should list the style of the wedding, but these words can be vague and may sound like jargon. What is a white-tie wedding? How casual is a casual wedding anyway?

Often, the wedding venue can lend a clue. There may even be part wedding photos from the venue to serve as inspiration.

To figure out the proper wedding attire for your next wedding, check out our simple guide below. 

White-Tie or Black-Tie

The most formal dress code is white-tie. This is on par with state dinners at the White House. Think of Michelle Obama for inspiration–floor-length evening gowns with classy jewelry and a clutch.

Men need to wear a tuxedo jacket with tails and everything underneath it white. That means a formal white shirt, a white vest, and a white bow tie.

Just beneath white-tie informality is black-tie. Again, women should wear their best wedding dress–unless they own a formal pantsuit. Again, men need a tuxedo jacket, but the vest and bowtie should be black. 

Formal Attire

Formal weddings may also be called black-tie optional, which means your best wedding tuxedo isn’t required. They may wear a formal suit and a regular tie. Womens’ wedding clothes may show the ankles, and a sophisticated cocktail dress is more acceptable. 

A Cocktail Wedding

Cocktail weddings are fun and popular. Midi, tea-length, and knee-length dresses are more appropriate than floor-length gowns here. Men must wear a suit and tie, but a tuxedo would be too formal. 

Dressy-Casual and Semi-Formal

The proper wedding attire for semi-formal or dressy-casual weddings depends on the time of day. Early weddings call for lighter colors, while late weddings call for dark.

These weddings often occur outdoors, so avoid heels that make it difficult to walk. Dressy flats or wedges are appropriate. 

Women have the option of a comfortable but dressy, two-piece look like a skirt and blouse. Men don’t need a suit jacket or tie, but their dress shirt and slacks should still look nice.

Casual Wedding Attire

Like semi-formal weddings, casual weddings are often held outdoors or on the beach. In this case, even dressy sandals can fit the bill.

A nice sundress is acceptable, but don’t show up in a bikini. Men shouldn’t strip down to a tank top, but they can simplify with a collared shirt. 

If staying on the beach for the wedding, consider hiring a professional company like Spring Cleaners for dry cleaning services after the wedding.

More Options for What to Wear to a Wedding

Figuring out what to wear to a wedding starts with the wedding invitations.

Whatever you wear, just make sure to stay away from anything white. Try not to match the wedding party, and don’t wear anything too loud. If nothing else, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family of the bride and groom to see what they’re saying. 

For more curious topics about weddings, relationships, and beyond, check out our page. 

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