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What Are The Main Types Of Wedding Dress Codes?

When attending a wedding, your outfit needs to reflect the desired level of formality to show respect for the occasion and couple’s preferences. In this guide, we explore the main types of wedding dress codes, providing you with more detailed advice to help you dress appropriately and confidently.

White Tie

White Tie is the most formal dress code, typically associated with royal, state, or high-society events. This dress code also applies to some glamorous weddings.

Men should wear a black tailcoat with matching trousers, a white wing-collared shirt, and a white pique bow tie. A black patent leather belt, braces (suspenders), and black patent leather shoes must round off the attire. Optional accessories include a black top hat, a white pocket square, and white gloves.

Women are expected to wear floor-length evening gowns in understated colors, avoiding anything too flashy or revealing. Elegant jewelry, stylish clutches, and sophisticated hair accessories or hats are welcome additions.

Black Tie

Black Tie events are more common than White Tie but still require a high level of formality.

Men should wear a classic black tuxedo with a white dress shirt, a black bow tie, and a black vest or cummerbund. Choose black patent leather shoes and black dress socks, while a white pocket square and a boutonniere can be classy adornments.

Women can choose between a sleek, full-length gown, a sophisticated cocktail dress, or a dressy suit. Accessories should be on the classy side, with statement jewelry and elegant clutches fitting the bill.

Black Tie Optional

This wedding dress code provides flexibility for guests, allowing them to opt for a more casual alternative to the Black Tie dress code if they prefer.

Men can wear either a classic black tuxedo or a dark suit with a conservative tie. If choosing a suit, stick to dark colors like black, navy, or charcoal gray.

Women can wear a full-length gown, an upscale cocktail dress, or a stylish evening suit. Accessories should complement the chosen outfit and lean toward the elegant side.

Semi-Formal / Dressy Casual

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual dress codes may vary based on the wedding time and location, but they offer a balance between formal and casual attire.

Men are expected to wear a tailored suit with a dress shirt and a tie, accessorized with leather dress shoes and a leather belt. Lighter suit colors are suitable for daytime weddings, whereas darker colors are best for evening events.

Women can opt for a knee-length cocktail dress, a sophisticated skirt with a coordinating blouse, or a dressy jumpsuit. Jewelry and accessories that complement the outfit are encouraged, as long as they don’t clash or overpower the look.

Beach Formal

Beach Formal weddings require a level of elegance that also feels comfortable in a beach setting.

Men should wear a summer-weight suit, usually made from lightweight materials such as linen or cotton. A long-sleeve shirt without a tie is acceptable, paired with linen pants or khakis. Dressy sandals or loafers are appropriate footwear choices.

Women can dress in a lightweight, breezy sundress, a mid-length skirt with a stylish blouse, or a fashionable jumpsuit. Flat sandals are recommended, while accessories might include a sun hat, sunglasses, and minimal jewelry.


A Casual wedding dress code allows guests to relax and feel comfortable, but it doesn’t mean that everyday streetwear is appropriate.

Men can wear dress pants or khaki pants with a collared shirt, such as a button-down or polo. A casual blazer can be added for an extra touch of refinement. Closed-toe shoes or dressy loafers are suitable footwear options.

Women might choose a sundress, skirt or pants with a pretty blouse, or a relaxed jumpsuit. Accessories can be more casual and fun, with colorful statement jewelry, cute flats, or sandals.