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Wedding Guest Attire 101

 March 20, 2023

So you’ve been invited to a wedding celebration and you have no idea what to wear. Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered. You can determine a certain level of fanciness of the wedding based on their invitation. Some invitations will specify a dress code for their guests to follow, especially if the venue is upscale and they’d like their guests to be prepared. Brides will state’ black tie’ or whatever dress code they choose either directly on the invitation or on a separate ‘details’ page.


What If The Invitation Doesn’t Provide A Dress Code? 


If the invitation does not directly address guest attire, do not panic. If you are close to the bride and groom you can reach out to them and ask, otherwise the venue, time, and invitation can help give you an indication. If the invitation is exquisite and filled with detail, you can probably assume the dress code will be a bit fancier. When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a little black dress or a simple cocktail dress. 


What Are The Wedding Dress Codes 



Casual wear is for the fun-loving, free-spirited couple that wants their guests to be comfortable. If you’re doing an outdoor, summer wedding, casual attire is popular because of the hot weather. This could include button-up shirts and jeans for men, and sundresses for women. 




Your semiformal wear is what we would consider cocktail attire. Men can wear suits without a tie or even a jacket, and women can wear fairly dressy attire fit for a cocktail hour. 


Formal or Black Tie Optional


When the invite calls for formal wear or a black-tie optional, you’ll want to keep it fancy, but it can be slightly more casual than a full-on black tie. Men can opt for a tuxedo to a dark-colored suit instead, and a chic cocktail dress or a dressy separate is perfect for women. 


Black Tie


Evening wear is most appropriate here. What is Evening wear? For men, this typically means a dark tuxedo with a white dress shirt, and coordinating accessories like a tie, vest, or suspenders. Women are typically expected to wear formal or floor-length gowns.


White Tie


White Tie is the most formal of all the wedding dress codes. Although it’s rare to see many white-tie weddings here in the Pacific Northwest, we thought we would include it just in case (you never know!).

A good rule of thumb to remember is to avoid wearing white, for obvious reasons, as well as avoid wearing the wedding colors. You can usually determine what the colors will be based on the invitation. The last thing you want is to show up looking like an extra bridesmaid on accident.


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