What To Wear: Wedding Dress Codes De-coded

Hello everyone!

Today I’m talking about something I hope will be useful for you all considering we are entering wedding season! If your fridge is like mine, there is no stainless steel to be seen because every inch is covered with save-the-dates and wedding invitations. The themes range from backyard garden party to upscale ballroom… and with each theme comes a different dress code for each event.

Even if not explicitly stated on the invitation, you can often times gage the formality of an occasion by the invites and even the menu!

So, I’m going to de-code the most common wedding dress codes that may or may not be printed on your wedding invites!

If your friends’ wedding invite says…

  1. Black Tie:  When an invitation says black tie it is generally expected that the male guests will wear a tuxedo and women will wear a formal, floor length gown.
  2. Black Tie Optional: This one is more important for the men. This option means that men can wear a tuxedo, or just a nice suit. Women again should wear a formal gown, but there is more room for optional hemlines… a full length gown is less expected than for a black tie affair.
  3. Cocktail Attire: My personal favorite… Women have a broader range and can choose dresses that may have fun prints or asymmetrical hemlines.  Men should wear a suit (you can even go with lighter grays or blues) or just dress pants and a nice shirt (with or without a sport coat).
  4. Casual: Casual wedding attire is not everyday casual as we are used to. You shouldn’t show up in distressed jeans and a t-shirt. But, you can be more comfortable and laid back. Generally, men should wear khakis or chinos with a polo or button-up; and women should wear a cute sundress or skirt.

*Tip: If you have been invited to a Black Tie or Black Tie optional affair and you’re not an heiress who regularly attends balls… I recommend using a site like Rent The Runway. This is a great site where you can rent designer gowns (and tops, skirts, and accessories). This is a great option because you may never wear the dress again, so why pay full price to buy it when you can rent it for a fraction of the cost! I have rented countless dresses from them and the process is so easy. I have been so happy with each rental!

Use this link for $30 off your first order! 

Here are some picks for each of the dress codes!

Black Tie:

Black Tie Optional: 



Rules for any dress code:

  1. Don’t wear white! (Obv)
  2. Nothing too form fitting.
  3. Nothing too short (you can follow the fingertip rule here).
  4. Avoid anything sheer… check your dress in good lighting to be sure!
  5. Wedges if it’s an outdoor wedding… you don’t want to be sinking in the grass!

I hope this post was helpful as you embark on the season of weddings! Don’t forget to have fun and celebrate the happy couple!

Photo Credit: www.kaleenacarolannphoto.com

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