Have you finally received a long-awaited wedding invitation from a friend or family member? As important as finding the perfect wedding gift or making travel preparations are, figuring out what to wear can be a major challenge – especially if you’re not sure if you’ll be able to adhere to the dress code.
Do you know the difference between formal and semi-formal? How about the finer points of a black-tie dress code? Before you head out and buy a new wedding ensemble, we here at Nanina’s in the Park want to help you pick the perfect attire so you’re not feeling over- or underdressed on the big day. Here are the most common wedding dress codes and how to pull them off.
For the truly laid-back couple, casual attire gives guests the freedom to wear whatever they’d like, but this doesn’t mean that you should show up in shorts and flip-flops. Colorful sundresses for ladies and polo shirts/button-downs and pants for men are the perfect comfy chic look for a casual wedding setting.
- Cocktail Attire/Semi-Formal
This is a step up from casual attire and is designed to allow guests to feel breezy and comfortable, while still showcasing their own unique sense of style. This dress code is ideal for ladies who love to wear cocktail and tea-length dresses, while men can easily get away with a shirt/tie with a blazer or sport coat combination.
- Formal/Black Tie Optional
This dress code is one step below an official Black Tie setup, as it means that while the wedding party will be dressed in formal attire, it is optional for all guests attending. A good way to start putting together an outfit for the occasion is to focus on a dark suit or a tuxedo for menswear, while ladies can comfortably dress for this occasion in a formal gown or an evening pant suit.
- White Tie
This is the most formal of all the wedding dress codes and you should expect your attire to be similar to the wedding party. Think something along the lines of attending a White House state dinner or another type of elegant affair! Men are expected to be decked out in their best tuxedos, while full-length gowns are par for the course for the ladies.
- Themed Attire
Last but not least, a couple may throw a curveball at you with a themed dress code, such as Beach Casual, Festive Attire or Texas Formal. These can vary greatly based on how casual or formal the couple would like the event to be, but if this happens, a good way to get started is to plan your outfit around a specific piece or accessory. For instance, if it’s a beach formal wedding, pick one piece of casual wear (sandals, linen shirts, flats) and then appoint the rest of the outfit with more formal pieces that adhere to traditional wedding fashion. Experiment to find the right combination that works for you!