Your Guide to Wedding Dress-codes

Have you been invited to a wedding and the invitation says to dress white-tie, black-tie optional, dressy-casual, or casual? What do these things actually mean? You don’t want to create a faux pas by attending the wedding wearing the wrong outfit, so here’s a guide to knowing what each dress code actually means.


Think the most formal wedding attire, perhaps something you’d wear to White House state dinners (if you were ever invited). Formal floor-length evening gowns are the only acceptable attire and you need to wear heels. Finish off your look with jewelry and a fancy clutch. Men should wear a tuxedo with tails, a white shirt, white vest, bow tie, white or gray gloves, and fancy shoes.

Black-Tie Optional

This dress code gives a bit more leeway as it’s a lot less formal than white-tie. Floor-length dresses, cocktail dresses, or pantsuits are appropriate with heels or flats. Men have the option of wearing either a tuxedo or a dark suit, white, shirt, and tie.


Dressy-Casual is less formal than black-tie optional and cocktail dresses, dressy skirts and tops, and pantsuits are options. Heels, wedges, and flats are all acceptable. Men need to wear a suit either dark or light, with a tie.


Casual attire weddings usually take place outdoors or on the beach so they are much more laid back. This doesn’t mean you can show up in flip flops and jean shorts. Wear sundresses and wedges or dressy sandals. Men can wear dress pants or khakis and collared shirts. Ties and sports jackets are optional.


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