Wedding Invitation Dress Codes Decoded

wedding dress codes
photo: David’s Bridal

Wedding season is upon us and you’re probably being flooded with wedding invitations with different dress codes, or perhaps some with no dress codes at all! What is a chica to wear? Between black-tie preferred and semi-formal, the language can get a bit tricky. Well not to fear, here are the top five most common dress codes all decoded to help make your dress shopping a cinch.

Black-Tie or Formal:

Black tie is one of the most formal dress codes and is pretty common for evening weddings (think Oscars inspired). Women should wear long evening gowns or can also wear dressy cocktail dresses.  Men should wear a tuxedo or literally a black bow tie.

Black-Tie Optional:

This is one of the trickiest dress codes. It basically alludes that the wedding will be formal, but technically men can either wear a tuxedo or opt for a dark suit and tie; look for dark colors such as navy or grey. Women can get away with wearing what they would wear to a black-tie event, either a long formal gown or a cocktail dress.

Semi-Formal or Cocktail:

A semi-formal dress code is one of the most common wedding dress codes on invitations. Weddings can generally take place during the day or night.  Women can wear a cocktail dress or opt for a dressy suit. The most important thing to keep in mind here is the time and location of the wedding. For example for an outdoor daytime wedding, you can look for a cocktail dress in lighter colors such as yellow or pink in a light fabric such as chiffon. Men can wear a suit and tie.


A casual dress code is pretty much a no-fuss attire. Women can wear a sundress, cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and blouse. Men can keep is casual with trousers a polo or a buttoned-down shirt. Just remember don’t go too casual either, jeans and shorts are a big don’t for women.

Beach Formal:

With summer in full swing, you’ll probably have a few summer weddings. Women can wear a short sundress or a dressy maxi dress. Flats are also your best friend, especially if you’ll be walking in the sand. That doesn’t mean flip-flops, a pair of embellished flats or metallic flat sandals would go perfect. Men can wear linen or khaki pants or dressy knee-length shorts with a polo or button-down. Leather flats for men are also a must.


Article Posted 3 years Ago

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