Dress Code for Wedding Guests

Being invited to a wedding is always an honor, but choosing what to wear can become quite a headache. In this blog, we will explore the various dress codes for guests, offering practical advice for both men and women to ensure you never get your outfit wrong. We’ll cover formal, semi-formal, and casual ceremonies, and give you some tips on accessories and colors to avoid. Ready to learn how to always look your best?


Receiving a wedding invitation is exciting, but it often comes with the dilemma of what to wear. The dress code can vary greatly depending on the type of ceremony, the time of day, and the season. Let’s see together how to decipher the instructions on the invitation and choose the right outfit for every occasion.

Formal Dress Code

When it comes to a formal dress code, you enter the territory of black tie or white tie.

Black Tie For men, black tie requires a black or dark blue tuxedo, a white shirt, a black bow tie, and polished shoes. A vest or a cummerbund can complete the look.

For women, black tie involves a long gown or an elegant cocktail dress. Accessories should be refined: elegant jewelry, a clutch, and high heels are perfect.

White Tie White tie is even more formal. Men must wear a tailcoat with a tailcoat jacket, matching trousers, a white shirt with a stiff front, a white waistcoat, and a white bow tie. Shoes should be black patent leather.

Women should opt for a long evening gown, preferably with long gloves. Accessories should be precious, like pearl or diamond necklaces.

Semi-Formal Dress Code

The semi-formal dress code, or cocktail attire, is less rigid but still requires a certain level of elegance.

Cocktail Attire Men can choose a dark suit with a shirt and tie. Colors can range from dark gray to navy blue. Shoes should be elegant, such as loafers or oxfords.

Women can wear a cocktail dress, which can be knee-length or slightly above. An elegant jumpsuit can also work. Accessories should be chic but not excessive.

Casual Dress Code

For weddings with a casual dress code, there is more freedom, but a certain level of sobriety should still be maintained.

Smart Casual Men can wear chinos with a shirt and, if desired, a sport jacket. Shoes should be clean and in good condition, such as loafers or derby shoes.

Women can opt for a summer dress, a skirt with an elegant blouse, or palazzo pants with a shirt. Shoes can be more comfortable, such as low-heeled sandals or ballet flats.

Accessories and Colors to Avoid

Regardless of the dress code, there are some accessories and colors to avoid to ensure you don’t overshadow the bride or look out of place:

  • White: Reserved for the bride, so avoid it unless specified otherwise.
  • All Black: Unless required, all black can seem too somber.
  • Bright Red: It’s a color that draws too much attention and may distract from the bride.
  • Jeans: Unless explicitly indicated, avoid jeans even for casual weddings.

Final Tips

Always remember to read the invitation carefully: if there are dress code instructions, follow them to the letter. If in doubt, it’s better to ask the bride and groom or someone from their entourage. And finally, be yourself but with an extra touch of elegance to best celebrate the special day of your friends or family.

Ph @thomasharrisphotographer

Take a step closer to your big day and contact us on +39 348 296 3473 or by email at info@fattoriapaterno.it

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