How to choose right guest dress for bridal wedding | ByCouturier

Posted by Darvinty on April 17th, 2019

At some point in our lives, most of us face a challenge that is only presented on wedding invitations: deciphering the dress code. Often, the language used to describe the appropriate type of attire for the event leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you don’t attend these sorts of occasions often. So, if you don’t know your “black tie optional” from your “dressy casual,” here are some guidelines to get you on the right track.

White Tie

A white tie wedding is the most formal of the lot. Traditionally, this means floor-length wedding dresses for women and tuxedos for men. This is also an appropriate time for women to wear opera-length gloves, either in white or color coordinated with the dress, but the addition of gloves is optional. In fact, even men are encouraged to have a set of gloves in either white or gray for the affair.

Black Tie

Black tie weddings are also highly formal, though they provide more flexibility that their white tie counterparts. Black tie weddings are still an evening affair and men are still typically expected to wear a tuxedo, but there is no need to wear gloves. Women get additional options aside from full-length formal wedding dresses in that upscale cocktail dresses, dressy separates, and formal “little black dresses” can be appropriate.

The most important part for women is that they should stay with formal dresses regardless of the length. When in doubt, consider whether the look would be appropriate when pictured next to a tuxedo. If it doesn’t seem to fit that level of formal attire, then it is best to consider other options.


When a wedding invitation requests semiformal or dressy casual, it is often easier to think of it as a business formal event. Men will traditionally wear a suit in a style that would apply for a more formal work environment. Women may also choose pant suits or a similar, work appropriate dress.

In some cases, the casual even releases guests from the traditional suit and tie requirement. Men can wear slacks with a collared shirt while women may choose pants and a blazer or a pencil skirt and blouse. The important part, again, is not to aim too informal. And this means jeans, no matter how nice, are simply a no-go.

Dressy Casual

Dressy casual is the first point where jeans may be an option. However, they should be in good repair and not overly worn or faded. Additionally, they should be dressed up with items like a sharp blazer or dressy blouse. Shoes should remain on the more formal side, as sneakers or anything similarly casual would be inappropriate.

Beach Formal

A wedding on a beach automatically means certain formal attire is likely not required, as it is understood the attire needs to be appropriate for the sand and surf guests will encounter. However, that doesn’t mean jeans and t-shirts with flip-flops are going to fly. Since a beach wedding you will be up against the elements men should choose a summer suit (no ties required) that works with sandals while women should select a dressier sundress that can be tea or a knee length a-line wedding dresses with a flat sandal.

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