Dress Codes Explained

Dress Codes Explained

You’ve got the invite, now it’s time to figure out what to wear! A wedding dress code can be daunting to decipher at first (what’s the difference between black tie and black tie optional, anyway?!), but we’ve demystified the most common wedding dress codes so you can show up feeling confident in your outfit. From black tie to cocktail to beach, our wedding dress code guide will help you nail the perfect look.

(Pssst, this guide isn’t just for wedding guest dresses...these tips can be used for other events, like charity galas or work parties, too!)

Black Tie Dress Code

Black Tie
Dress Code

dress to the nines for formal events

Note: Style your hair into a polished updo or add an elegant headpiece for an extra luxe look

1. Accessories: 2-3 statement pieces like chandelier earrings or a sophisticated bun topper

2. Outfit: Full-length gown with luxurious details—think allover embroidery or a dramatic silhouette

3. Shoes: Tasteful heels

Black Tie Optional Dress Code

Black Tie Optional
Dress Code

understated elegance is key

Note: If you choose a dramatic neckline, sweep your hair into a sleek updo

1. Accessories: Stick with 2-3 statement accessories, like dazzling earrings or a sparkly clutch

2. Outfit: Try a jumpsuit in a modern fabric, like crepe, for maximum comfort in a glam setting

3. Shoes: Metallic heels add an extra pop of sparkle

Cocktail Dress Code

Dress Code

sophisticated & semi-formal

Note: Perfectly tousled tresses offset a tailored shape for cocktail hour

1. Accessories: 1-2 statement pieces; a deep red lip pairs perfectly with crystal drop earrings

2. Outfit: Feel free to play around with color and silhouettes (as well as shorter hemlines!)

3. Shoes: Keep it clean and chic with neutral heels or flats

Daytime Dress Code

Dress Code

casual, chic & city hall ready

Note: Metallic accessories can elevate a look from “too casual” to “just right”

1. Accessories: Have fun with colorful, fashion-forward designs, like a scattering of jeweled hairpins

2. Outfit: A light and airy dress plays well with patterns and embellishments

3. Shoes: Classic heels or fancy flats in a neutral tone (yes, we count metallics as neutrals too!)

Beach Destination Dress Code

Beach & Destination
Dress Code

easy & island breezy

Note: For outdoor weddings, remember your SPF and sunnies!

1. Accessories: Natural stones and polished pendants pair easily with a beachfront setting

2. Outfit: Flowy silhouettes keep you cool (avoid shorter hemlines in case of high winds!)

3. Shoes: Wedges or embellished sandals are equal parts chic and practical


And for the Bride...

bridal white from morning to night

Note: Pull up your hair into an easy bun or messy pony for a glamorously undone vibe

1. Accessories: Try a pair of embellished hoops for extra flair

2. Outfit: A bridal jumpsuit paired with a fur topper is a dramatic post-ceremony look

3. Shoes: Hang onto your heels or throw on a pair of glittery sneakers to dance the night away

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