Wedding Dress Code 101

Mentioning dress code on your wedding invitations is often encouraged. Why? It ensures your event stays as formal or as casual as you want. Plus, wedding guests appreciate knowing exactly what is expected of them for attire. After all, no one wants to show up to a black tie wedding wearing khakis.

But, how do you politely tell your guests what to wear? In your wedding invitation suite.

Wedding Dress Code 101 Featured invitation: Classic Couple Wedding Invitation

But where does the dress code go on the wedding invitation? That's the easy part! If your ceremony and reception are at the same location, the wedding dress code should be printed at the bottom center of your invitation. For example:

Maxwell and Emma Hanaford
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Rebecca Susan

to

Alex Benjamin Burke
Saturday, the fifteenth of September
two thousand and twenty four
four o'clock in the afternoon

The Lilian Garden
100 North Pointe Avenue
Hanka, Washington

Dress Formal

If the ceremony and reception are in separate locations, your dress code should be printed on the reception card. For example:

Please join us for a reception
immediately following the ceremony

Emmerson Ballroom
837 Lakeside Drive
Hanka, Washington

Dress Formal

Wedding Dress Code 101 Featured invitation: Classic Couple Reception Card

Once you learn how wedding invitation dress code works, it's time to decide what your dress code will be. This part is a little trickier, so we put together a guide to explain some standard wedding dress codes.

Take a look and decide what fits your wedding style best.

Casual Wedding Dress Code

How to say it on your invitation: Casual Dress

What it means: Casual dress means wedding guests can wear pretty much anything they want.

What to wear: We recommend a casual dress for the ladies and dress pants with button-down shirt or polo shirt for the guys. But, if the wedding is at a rustic location, or extra casual like a barbeque, even jeans and cowboy boots will do!

Cocktail or Semi-Formal Dress Code

How to say it on your invitation: Cocktail Attire or Semi-Formal Dress

What it means: Cocktail Attire or Semi-Formal Dress is a step up from a casual dress code. Think more tailored clothing. They both mean the same thing, so choose the term you like best.

What to wear: A nice dress for ladies and suit and tie with a sport coat for the gents.

Beach Formal Wedding Dress Code

How to say it on your invitation: Beach Formal Attire

What it means: Beach inherently indicates casual, which is why formal is tacked on to the end — it's still a classy affair.

What to wear: We recommend a formal summer sundress (tea-length or knee-length) with flats for the ladies and a summer suit with linen shirt, linen pants or khakis and sandals for the guys.

Formal Attire or Black Tie Optional Dress Code

How to say it on your invitation: Formal Attire or Black Tie Optional

What it means: These two phrases are very common in today’s weddings. They indicate that the wedding party will be in formal wedding attire, and it's optional for all guests.

What to wear: We recommend a dark suit or tux for the men and formal evening wear (floor length dresses or evening pant suits) for the women.

Black Tie Wedding Dress Code

How to say it on your invitation: Black Tie

What it means: Black Tie usually indicates an evening affair where the men where tuxedos and the women wear formal gowns of any length.

What to wear: For the guys, a black tux. Women should wear a formal gown of any length.

White Tie Dress Code

How to say it on your invitation: White Tie

What it means: This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes. We’re talking soirees at the White House kind of evenings.

What to wear: The gentlemen dress in long-tail tuxedos and the women don full-length ball gowns. If only we could be so lucky as to attend one of these fabulous affairs!

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