Wedding invitations are meant to be relatively straightforward. Be here at this time, on this date. Easy right? However, brides love to add that confusing little line, generally at the bottom, which details what you should be wearing on the day. You can often feel like Indiana Jones trying to decipher a series of hieroglyphics when reading into what “casual attire” means. That’s why we’ve put together this manual on all things wedding attire from the glamorous “white tie” to the oh so vague “semi-formal.”
White – Tie
Probably the rarest dress code, it won’t be that often that you come across a white tie dress code for a wedding, but ladies and gents, take note. If your bride and groom care enough to plan a white tie event, you bet that they’ll care what their guests rock up in! The most formal of attires, you should be looking at classy and elegant floor length gowns. Skip the bedazzle and sequins and keep it simple and stylish! You should also take “white tie” very literally as the boys are expected to be wearing a white bow tie and slip on shoes with no laces.
Black Tie or Formal
The funner and more relaxed sister to the white-tie dress code. A black tie-wedding is still considered formal but a lot looser. These events will generally start past 6pm and the bride and groom will usually harbor a love of seeing dressed up guests partying it up on the dancefloor after quite a few glasses of champagne.
Floor length gowns are usually the way to go and feel free to dabble in patterns, beading and more. For the boys – black tuxedos, suits and ties.
Cocktail or Semi-Formal
The most common dress code – this one can be a little vague and confusing to some. Think of that dress you wore to your year 8 dance or your year 11 formal (a fab updated 2016 version of course.) Short elegant dresses are a must, but you can also get a little creative here and have some more fun than you could with a white tie event. An easy rule to go by is to skip the bling on anything long but on short dresses – feel free to bedazzle. Knee length dresses are perfect for this event, pair with a blazer over your shoulders and a fab pair of shoes.
Rule number 1 – just because it’s a breezy beautiful beach event – this does not mean that any sheer or remotely sheer kaftan or dresses are okay! Cover up just a tad and aim for something classy and ceremonious. Think of a summer evening dress that you’d wear to dinner on a balmy night. Anything short, long and flowy will all pass and colours and patterns are your best friend. A stunning hat and bejeweled accessories will also compliment your gorgeous frock. For the guys – opt for fresh linen and khaki pants.
This one takes the cake as the hardest and vaguest dress code out there. Casual can certainly mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. Generally, an evening dress that you’d throw on to a mid-week date is okay – playsuits and jumpsuits are also acceptable but do be careful with your fabric choice. You don’t want anything too heavy or casual like a knit fabric. If you’re still unsure, have a good look at the venue to get an idea of what to throw on.
For a garden wedding, go ahead and channel your inner Charlotte York. Think edgy floral dresses at any length. At a garden wedding you can go with a shorter option just above the knee or at knee length but if you’re feeling more boho that day, maxis are also an option. Just do not skimp on the floral! Your brides heart will break just a little if you don’t embrace the bloom. If you can’t do the standard floral pattern, go for something more abstract. Coloured suit jackets and khakis are also a guy’s best friend at this ceremony.