What to Wear: Wedding Attire

Wedding season is upon us! While picking out the perfect wedding guest outfit can be part of the fun, it also can have you wondering what the difference between a semi-formal and a black tie dress code is anyway. This article will break down the most common types of wedding attire dress codes, and what you should wear to each one. 


What to Wear: Wedding AttireLet’s start with the most casual wedding attire – a casual dress code. Things you shouldn’t wear to a casual wedding include jeans, shorts, tank tops, or tennis shoes. For women, a wedge or a block heel is the perfect shoe, paired with a midi dress in a seasonally appropriate color and pattern (think florals in the spring and jewel tones in the winter). Men should opt for a casual suit or blazer if it’s chilly, or simply a dress shirt paired with dress pants and a casual loafer shoe, like these Steve Madden loafers that you can find at Nordstrom.


What to Wear: Wedding Attire

Semi-formal attire is a bit more formal than casual attire. A below-the-knee dress or an elegant pantsuit paired with heels or formal flats is the perfect semi-formal outfit for women. Floor-length gowns are typically not appropriate for semi-formal weddings. Men should choose a dress shirt and dress pants with an optional tie, layered with a blazer or suit jacket in the cooler months. 


A small step above semi-formal, cocktail attire is a very popular dress code choice. Cocktail weddings tend to be formal, but not quite as formal as a formal or black tie wedding. Women could opt for a full-length dress, but a knee-length or midi dress could be appropriate as well. This one-shoulder midi dress would be the perfect option for a winter cocktail wedding. Shoes should be more formal, a heel being your best option. Men should always wear a suit and tie with dress shoes to look classy and polished at a cocktail wedding.


Somewhere in between cocktail and black-tie dress codes, formal attire gives wedding guests a bit more flexibility in their outfit choice. Men may opt for a tuxedo, but it is not required. A sophisticated suit would also be perfect at a formal wedding. As far as women’s attire is concerned, there isn’t much difference between formal and black-tie events. Floor-length gowns are the best option to wear to a formal wedding.

What to Wear: Wedding AttireBlack Tie

The most formal dress code, you should always dress to impress at a black-tie wedding. Women should wear a floor-length gown or an elegant pantsuit, while men are required to wear a tuxedo. Patent leather shoes would pair wonderfully with a men’s or women’s outfit at a black-tie wedding. These stunning patent leather oxfords would look great with any men’s tuxedo.

It can be a daunting task to pick an appropriate outfit for a wedding, but this guide should make it easier next time you receive a wedding invite. And remember, when in doubt, it’s best to ask the couple for examples of what to wear to their wedding.

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