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January 29, 2020

Wedding Planning 101

Wedding Planning 101: Wedding Dress Code Primer

First Things First: The point of designating a dress code for you guests and adding it to your invitations and/or wedding website is not to be fussy– but rather to help your guests understand what would be appropriate to wear at your event, just as you would want someone to tell you what to pack for a trip you didn’t plan. Looking for a quick primer of what dress codes actually mean? What about out best tips for all things guest attire? Well you’re in luck – it’s all below!

Wedding/Event Dress Codes in descending order of formality:

1.White Tie

Tailcoats and white starched shirts/vests/ascots/bow ties for men, long formal dresses, gloves, furs for women. For Royal/Society weddings, state dinners, ballroom functions and other uber formal events.

2. Black Tie

Tuxes for men, long formal gowns for women

3. Formal

Tuxes and/or suits for men, long dresses for women.

4. Semi-Formal

Suits for men; long, mid-length or tea dresses for women.

5. Cocktail

Suits or shirt/tie for men, short or cocktail dresses for women.

Pssssttt….. I absolutely think fancy jumpsuits can be formal. It all depends on fabric and structure. (Honorable mention)

Tip #1

Use the widely accepted terms for dress codes listed above. ‘Beach Formal’ is not a thing and made-up stuff like this will only confuse guests.

Tip #2

You’ll notice all those terms were very short. This is by design: dress codes are meant to be footnotes at the bottom of your invitation.

You as the married couple getting married can be (and often should) be dressed more formal than your guests.

Tip #3:

For your wedding website however, you can be more specific (and wordy) about how you wish your guests to dress, if you want. Also: if you really think some people may show up in jeans/shorts/whatever you don’t want – be sure to list that. Something like ‘We ask respectfully that you dress for the occasion and not arrive in *fill in the blank*.’

Tip #4:

Come to terms now with the fact that ultimately, you won’t be able to control what all your guests will wear. Make your best laid plans and then make your peace with it. It’s totally not worth it to worry about – and know that if there are guests wearing things that are inappropriate, it does not go unnoticed by other guests and they gossip – but only about those people, not about you or your wedding or your taste level. No one is going to think anything less of your wedding because Aunt Whoever showed up in jeans – it just looks bad on her. Vendors have heard it all. Trust me.

Photo Credits from top to bottom: Morgan Hydinger, Logan Cole, Brian Mosoff, Morgan Hydinger, Meghan Christine, Laura Pedrino, Palos Studio, SnapMotive.

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