What to Wear to a Wedding: Dress Codes Defined.

Melanie Sutrathada shares what to wear to a wedding..jpg

Wedding season is upon us. You’ve probably gotten your invites and have been staring at them hoping some dress code clarification will jump out at you. Let’s face it, knowing what to wear to a wedding can be…stressful and confusing. And unfortunately, you’re not from Hogwarts so you don’t have the ability to wave a wand to fix the problem (reason #1,208,756 that I wish I wasn’t just a muggle). To make sure you show up dressed appropriately, I’m going to break it down and don’t worry - I’m going to keep it simple. 

Black Tie Dress Code. 

This is one of the most common and formal of wedding dress codes. When you think of a fancy wedding – think black tie. Men have to step it up at black tie and wear a tux. Sorry guys, but a tux is really your only option for a black tie wedding. Women have more flexibility here. Well, women don’t have essentially one option anyways. Long gowns, formal cocktail dresses and even formal pant suits can be worn. The key, obviously, is to step it up and make sure you’re not choosing anything too casual. Leave the sandals and sundresses at home for this one. 

Formal or Black Tie Optional Dress Code.

The wording with this dress code tends to throw people off, with good reason. But it’s essentially just saying that it’s not quite as formal as black tie. And really, the only difference between this dress code and black tie is for men. It is still a formal event, however men aren’t required to show up in a tux. Men, you have two options with this dress code. Either a tux OR a formal suit, you will generally want to keep it on the conservative side though so avoid bold colors, prints, etc. As for women, you should still keep it on the formal side and dress according to black tie dress code.  

Semi-formal or Dressy Casual Dress Code.

Seriously, these wedding dress codes are something else. Let’s be honest - formal and casual are two completely different things, which is what makes this dress code an enigma. Women should dress in cocktail-esque clothing. Remember it’s DRESSY casual, not just casual. Men can stick to a classic suit for this wedding. Two main things to keep in mind for this dress code 1) consider the time of day the wedding is happening light colors for daytime, dark for nighttime and 2) it is still a semi-formal wedding so don’t just see ‘casual’ and think you can show up in your flip flops. 

Casual Dress Code.

If you have an invite to a casual wedding you’re probably just as lost as you would be with a formal wedding dress code. This one comes with a fine line. You shouldn’t show up dressed too formal OR too casual. Men can skip a jacket altogether for this kind of wedding and just stick to dress pants and a dress shirt. Please guys, make sure it’s a collared shirt! Women can wear a casual dress, think something along the lines of a summer dress. But ladies…no flip flops with your dresses. 

While your wardrobe is an area you can have fun and take chances, when it comes to getting dressed for a wedding it’s best to play it safe. You don’t want to be that person who shows up wearing the wrong thing. Unless it’s your wedding…then by all means wear what you want (;