Dress code ABC

Invited to a wedding and not sure what to wear? Between Black Tie Optional and Semi Formal, dress code language can be pretty tricky to decipher! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In the coming two articles we have listed a couple of wedding do’s & don’ts so that whatever happens, if you’re being looked at, it’s because you’re just plain awesome!

Dress code

Dress codes… who knows what they actually mean? What is a dress code anyway? The DC is what the bride and groom expect you to wear to the wedding. This could be anything from White Tie, Black Tie, Dressy to Casual. Say what? The thing to remember is that the bride and groom have decided on a certain style for a reason; the dress code matches the atmosphere of the day. Furthermore, obviously they want any guests to feel embarrassed by being over/under dressed. Even if the word itself makes your palms sweat, it's important to respect our friends' wishes which mean we may need a dictionary to figure out what to wear. When in doubt, stick to the code and you can’t go wrong.

The Invitation Says "White Tie"

No, this doesn’t mean you have to persuade your +1 to wear a white tie. Think along the lines of the Oscars or Dining in the Royal Palace. Safely said, this is the most formal of all dress codes so anything that wouldn’t look bad on a red carpet is a sure thing

Ladies: We’re talking long gloves and a formal floor-length evening gown. Make-up and hair can be glamorous and dramatic. You can go all out with this one!
Men: A tuxedo, long black jacket with tails, a formal white shirt, white vest and bow tie, white or grey gloves, and black formal shoes are appropriate.

The Invitation Says "Black Tie"

A bit less ceremonial than the White Tie but still formal enough. This usually means the wedding is an evening event. Again, think along the lines of tuxes and gowns and going a bit more over the top than you’d normally do.

Ladies: You can go a bit dressier and wear a formal floor-length gown, or choose a short, classy cocktail dress. Shorter dresses have become acceptable as long as they are dressy and stunning. If you’re uncertain about the length, the bride or maids can fill you in about the if you are thinking of going for something a tad shorter.
Men: A tuxedo. A black bow tie, black vest or cummerbund, and patent leather shoes are also suggested.

The Invitation Says "Formal" or "Black Tie Optional"

Ok, this is where it gets a bit confusing. The wording here suggests something slightly less formal than black tie. Optional meaning that some people, (like the bride & groom) are going to dress like this, but you don’t have to.

Ladies: A long dress, dressy separates, or a formal cocktail dress.
Men: A tuxedo isn't required but the wedding is still formal enough for a man to wear one.

The Invitation Says "Semiformal" or "Dressy Casual"

Think your Sunday best! Definitely not too formal but it still has to look as if you put a bit of effort into it. The way to dress for this one depends on the time of day though: go for lighter colours during the day and more formal darker tones colours if the event takes place at night.

Ladies: A cocktail dress or a long, dressy skirt and top.
Men: A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day.

The Invitation Says "Festive Attire"

Relatively new, this one can leave many guests scratching their heads. Festive Attire falls under the semiformal category, and asks of you to get into the spirit of the wedding. Basically, guests are given the go-ahead to have fun and play with their look. Opt for cocktail-party attire featuring bolder colours and playful accessories. Often though “festive attire” is used to describe what you should wear to a holiday wedding.

Ladies: A cocktail dress or party dress in a fun colour, paired with playful accessories.
Men: A nice suit brightened up with a colourful tie.

The Invitation Says "Casual"

Generally, casual means anything goes. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume business casual to be on the safe side. There is a chance that “casual” means the wedding is taking place outside, on a beach, in a park. However, even though you might feel very tempted to wear short and flip-flops, you should still make it look classy.

Ladies: a pair of fitted skinny’s, combined with killer heels and a nice little top will do the trick. If the wedding is outside, a wavy summer sundress is appropriate (just make sure the fabric isn't overly formal). Be careful that it’s not too wavy though, summer breezes can cause you to show a bit more than you were planning on sharing. Make-up and hair can be natural and every day.
Men: Dress pants or khaki pants with a button-down shirt, and sport jacket or sweater.

To finish, even the dress codes can have additions such as Optional, Suggested or Preferred. Preferred meaning We really, really want you to dress this way which is much different from "optional," meaning We are going to dress like this but you don't have to. Suggested is a nice way of saying that You should wear this.

So there you have it! All you need to know about dress code ABC. Next time we’ll fill you in on what to wear when the invite doesn’t state a dress code.