It’s that time of the year again. Your Facebook feed is probably polluted with countdown and engagement photos, your mailbox littered with save the dates and invitations….as the quote from my favorite movie, Wedding Crasher’s goes, (you may have guessed it) ‘It’s wedding season kid!’ I know this post is a little late, being half way through the summer, but better late than never! And these dress code rules and dress options will apply to events beyond simply a wedding.
Whether you have 20 weddings to go to this season or just that one that you want to look great for, I have got you covered with this list of wedding guest dresses that are appropriate for every dress code!
White Tie Wedding Guest Dresses
If you thought “black tie” was formal, you are in for a surprise here. The white tie dress code is the most formal of all wedding attires. This dress code tends to be observed by members of high society and royal families due to their high costs, so they aren’t common. But I have included it in the list just in case.
If you are bringing a date to a white-tie wedding, let it be known that men are expected to wear a tuxedo which is made of a black tailcoat worn over a white tuxedo shirt with a pointed wing collar. It is paired with matching black trousers, a white bowtie, and a white pique waistcoat with either black patent lace-up oxfords or black patent leather opera pumps. A good watch and cuff links are additional accessories perfect for this dress code. Unfortunately, the gents cannot be creative with their attire, it needs to be this.
On the other hand, women should dress in floor-length gowns that are a formal/grand ball gown with rich jewels. These gowns should be purchased from a designer boutique. Accessory options include jeweled clutches, a tiara if you are married, a pair of elegant heels, and full-length white gloves.
Below are some of my favorite dresses that are acceptable for a white tie wedding or white tie event.
Black Tie Wedding Guest Dresses
One step down from white tie in formality is black tie. This wedding attire usually means an evening event. In this dress code, all men guests wear a tuxedo. However, the men have some sartorial options within that category.
For men, they are expected to wear a tuxedo for black tie events, but instead of white, they can opt for black vest and black bowtie.
For women, this type of wedding guest dress attire also requires fancy dresses—but they are not expected to be designer as they are for the white tie events. Although, of course, I don’t really recommend opting for a cheapo dress either. You should leverage a formal floor length which of course does not show the ankles at the dress’s hem in a seasonal color. However, a sophisticated cocktail dress is acceptable if the party feels slightly less formal. Women can also wear elegant pantsuits.
Coming to women’s jewelry, consider semiprecious jewelry for an evening event and pearl jewelry for a daytime wedding. For this dress code, leave the tiara for the bride. Complete your attire with heels. Below are some of my favorite black tie dresses.
Formal or Black Tie Optional Wedding Guest Dresses
The name here indicates something a bit less formal compared to a black tie. It is a marriage between a black link and a cocktail dress code. This means guys can either opt for a tuxedo or a dark suit with a white shirt and a conservative tie. If acceptable, they can also wear a print tuxedo or a brocade.
I love this dress code because of the variety of women’s dress options. Women can therefore choose to wear either a gown, a pair of jumpsuits, cocktail dresses, beaded pantsuits, or full-length dresses. As for the ladies, there is no significant difference between formal and black-tie attire. The only difference is that back-tie optional allows women to wear a dress that reveals the ankles. Of course, you can choose from the black tie list above, but below are some of my other favorite picks for black tie optional wedding guest dresses.
Cocktail Wedding Guest Dresses
Cocktail is a marriage (so to say) between casual and formal wedding attire. It is a small step above semiformal and less formal than a black-tie and black-tie optional. It is a common wedding guest attire that strikes a balance between elegant, comfortable, and typically more formal than a day wedding and more casual compared to a party.
Men must wear a suit paired with a tie despite the wedding setting. Remember not to wear something overly fancy or embellished that will take away the attention from the newlyweds in your quest to look elegant and classy.
Women can opt for a cocktail dress with a tea-length or knee-length or a dressy beaded suit dress instead of a full-length dress. One classic option for a cocktail dress is an elegant little black dress with black dressy heeled sandals or black pumps paired with a pearl or diamond necklace. Below are my favorite cocktail dresses for your next wedding.
Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual Wedding Guest Dresses
The name of this wedding attire says it all. The dress code falls somewhere between formal and casual. Some people describe it as relatively dressy, and I love it because it gives both men and women flexibility.
However, an essential part of semiformal dressing is considering the time of the day the wedding will occur. Consider light fabrics and colors for daytime parties and more formal and darker colors for a night party.
Women can wear anything from a beaded cocktail suit to a sundress. Another classy, elegant option for women is a classy top and skirt or a dress with a below-knee length. Pair the dress with formal flats, nice wedges, or a pair of heels. Avoid traditional heels stuck in the grass while walking across the lawn for outdoor events. Simply put, footwear should suit the location, and jewelry can range from pearls to gold and semiprecious stones.
On the other hand, men can wear suits with or without a tie. They should wear dark suits. They can wear slacks and a dress shirt with light or dark colors according to the time of day of the wedding. However, with semiformal code, be sure not to be too casual.
Here are some of my favorite options for semi formal or dressy casual weddings:
Casual Wedding Guest Dresses
This attire is suitable for outdoor weddings like those held on a beach. This means the party will be much more relaxed in terms of clothing. Among all the wedding guest dress codes, casual seems to be the most confusing. For starters, ditch your tank tops, shirts, and jeans when thinking of casual wedding attire unless noted as acceptable.
Note that the casual dress code varies depending on the location and time of day when the party will take place. Men can wear suits with no ties or khakis instead of dress pants paired with a shirt with a collar at its most formal. You can opt for a tie or a sports jacket or sweaters if you so, please. At its least formal, men can wear shorts and polos if accepted.
For women, a summer sundress is a good choice but ensure the fabric is not overly formal. If it is an outdoor wedding, both men and women can accessorize hats where guys can try a fedora, pork pie, or straw boater, while ladies can go for a full-brimmed straw hat or a simple fascinator.
Footwear in both cases is less restricted, but boat shoes may not be appropriate. Women can also wear more casual shoes like flats, wedges, and dressy sandals, but sneakers may not be acceptable.
Considerations to Keep When Choosing a Wedding Guest Dress
To make things even easier, wI have compiled a list of factors to consider when selecting wedding guest dresses 2022. Before taking these recommendations into consideration, it is essential to note that the most effective way to make a choice on a wedding guest’s dress code is to understand the party in terms of the time of the day, venue or location, and season in which it is being held.
Pick according to Season
First thing is first, essential to consider the season in which the wedding is taking place and then decide on the best dress based on this information. Without considering this, you may feel too hold or cold in a dress for the entire party, which may be very uncomfortable. Shopping for your wedding guest dress according to the season does not only make you look classy but also makes you feel at your best.
While wedding guest dresses summer should be cool but not too heavy, wedding guest dresses fall and winter should be a little bit warm depending on the temperature and time of the day of the party. If you are not a fan of long sleeves, you can still wear the dress you want and keep warm. For instance, find a perfect jacket that will accompany your dress and add warmth, particularly in the evenings when the temperatures get cold.
Venue of the wedding
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a wedding guest dress is the location the wedding will be held. Imagine wearing something very formal when the wedding is on the beach. Out of place, right? While the goal is to look elegant, matching the outfit with the venue makes sure you impress and that you impress. You can use the venue to determine the style and type of dress suitable for the event.
For beach weddings, you may go for something light and flowing like a cocktail dress to make sure you stay comfortable. In the case of a luxurious location like a luxury hotel, a formal wedding guest dress is appropriate. A traditional dress will impress and match the aesthetic area.
Outdoor weddings held in a forest or garden call for light-flowing dresses until they take place in winter, in which case you may consider an additional attire to keep you warm.
Time of The Day
The time of the day when the wedding takes place is another vital consideration to keep in mind. What may be suitable for daytime parties may not go well with evening parties.
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