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Your Guide to Wedding Dress Codes for Guests

Photo by Lindsey Morgan Photography

We’ve all been there. You receive a wedding invitation and are completely confused by the dress code. While most wedding dress codes are formal attire, there are tons of other dress codes that can appear on a wedding invitation. Semi-formal and casual are also popular in the wedding space, but they tend to be a bit harder for guests to settle on a level of formality. If you’re stressing about what to wear to your next wedding, we are here to help! We broke down the most common wedding guest dress codes so that you arrive appropriately dressed for the celebration. When in doubt, check the FAQ page on the couples’ wedding website. Usually, if there is a specific request, it will be outlined there.


This style of dress is typically used for formal, evening events. Women should wear floor-length gowns. A cocktail dress may be acceptable if the wedding seems a bit less formal. Additionally, women can wear an elegant pantsuit if they’re more comfortable in that. For men, black tie calls for a tuxedo or fitted dinner jacket with a formal shirt and a black tie or bow tie.

Formal or Black-Tie Optional

This dress code is slightly less formal than that of a black-tie wedding. A tuxedo isn’t required for men but can still be worn if preferred. If you’re opting for a suit, a formal dark suit, white shirt, and tie are acceptable. For women, dresses are the same as above: a floor-length gown, fancy cocktail dress, or dressy pantsuit.


This style of attire is very popular in the wedding space. It is elegant, yet comfortable. Women can opt for a tea-length, knee-length or midi look for dresses, or a pantsuit may be worn. Men should wear a suit and tie.

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

For this style of dress, it is important to pay attention to when the ceremony will take place. If the ceremony will take place during the evening, darker more formal colors are recommended. Light colors and airy fabrics are intended for earlier ceremonies. Women should wear a dress, dressy skirt, and top, or pantsuit styled with heels, wedges, or formal flats. Men should wear a dress shirt and slacks with the option to wear a tie. Semiformal gives you flexibility when it comes to comfort, but be cautious of being too casual.


This style is exactly what it sounds like. Guests should wear attire in accordance with the theme dictated by the couple.


This style of attire usually indicates the wedding is being held outdoors on the beach so the event will be much more laid-back. Women can wear a sundress or floral patterned mini-dress with wedges or dressy sandals. Men should wear dress pants or khakis paired with a collared or button-up shirt. Men have the option to add a tie or sports jacket to their look.

Come As You Are

Some couples may ask their guests to show up how they see fit. This dress code can be a little confusing, so take into account the location of the wedding and the time of day when selecting a look to wear.

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