When planning your wedding, you have plenty of sartorial decisions to make: what you’ll wear, how you’ll outfit your bridal party and, finally, how you’ll instruct your guests to dress. That final decision is an important one, as it can dictate the look and feel of your wedding. So should you keep it casual or go for black-tie?
First, think of your venue, so that the dress code fits the vibe of the place—and so that guests will be comfortable. You don’t want guests in four-inch heels teetering through the sand at a beach wedding! Then, think of how you want your wedding to look. Do you want a more formal feel, or a more laid back, colorful look? (At RiverCrest, we’ve seen both!) Now, keep reading for a quick primer on the modern-day dress code, so you can figure out what’s best for your wedding day.
Black Tie: The most formal of dress codes. For women, this typically means a floor-length gown, and for men, a black tux. This dress code is best for super-formal, evening weddings.
Black Tie Optional: Men can wear tuxes, but don’t need to rent if they don’t already own one. A formal dark suit is appropriate. Women can wear a long gown, or a formal cocktail-length dress with fancy shoes and jewelry. Use this for formal, evening weddings if you’d like to invite guests to go all-out, but don’t want to force ultra-formal on everyone.
Cocktail: For her, a short dress or chic pantsuit (although a maxi dress can also work, provided it’s not very dressy). For him, no tux required; a suit and tie is fine. This works well for most weddings—from glitzy ballrooms to laidback barn weddings— as guests can generally wear what’s already in their closets.
Beach Formal: Think destination or shore wedding attire. For guys, a lightweight summer suit, and for girls, a sundress with sandals.