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Wedding Guests - Attire

Have you just received a wedding invitation in the mail for a close family member or friend and you are simply unsure what to wear? Many people planning to attend weddings feel the same way. Obviously, you know you want to dress up and look nice, but what exactly does that mean?

First, remember that your choice of attire will be dependent on a number of things to include the time of year, the time of day, and the type of wedding. You also want to pay close attention to the wedding invitation in that if the wedding will be out of the norm, the bride and groom will often advise guests what type of attire would be considered appropriate. For instance, if the wedding will be a Halloween theme and the couple wants all the guests to come dressed accordingly, they will let you know on the invitation.

The nice thing about wedding attire is that once you know the season, time of day, and type of wedding, the appropriate attire would be the same from one geographical region to another. Let us first look at morning weddings. These are becoming more and more popular, especially for couples that want to have more time of celebration with friends and family. In this case, a woman should wear a dress, skirt, and nice blouse, or suit while the men should wear a suit or sports coat with slacks. If the wedding is more traditional, then the men should also add a tie.

For afternoon weddings, the attire choices become a little trickier. If the wedding were semiformal, the men would wear black tie and the women dresses. However, if the wedding will be formal, the men would stick with the black tie but the women could choose a nice cocktail dress or formal wear. However, if the wedding will be informal, then the women could wear a dress, pantsuit, or skirt and blouse while the men would wear slacks and a nice shirt.

Finally, evening weddings present an entirely new rule for attire. If the wedding will take place after 6:00 p.m. but the bride and groom did not mention formal attire on the invitation, then you should plan to wear clothing that you would wear to any other social event held at the same time of day. This might include a stylish dress, elegant pantsuit, or dress suit for women and for men, dark suits, or slacks with silk shirt and tie. However, if the wedding were to be formal, the women would want to dress elegantly or white tie and the men in tuxedos.

If you do receive a wedding invitation but it has the attire written and you are not sure what the code means, we have outlined the most common attire terms used to help so you will know exactly what to wear.

White Tie Long, evening gowns for women and tails for the men

Black Tie Semiformal wear, which would be a tuxedo for the men and elegant, floor length gowns for the women

Black Tie Optional This means the couple wants the guests to come Black Tie but they are leaving the guests a little room to choose a nice stylish dress for the women, and suit and tie for the men.

Cocktail Attire (Festive Dress) In this case, the woman would be expected to wear a fancy cocktail dress that is elegant and sophisticated. The men would wear a dark colored suit that is handsome and stylish.

Creative Dress This term means to dress looking incredibly stunning but to be creative and come as you like

Casual Attire For this case, you would need to get a little more information as to the theme of the wedding. Casual can mean any number of things. For example, if the church were to be in a church, then the women could wear a skirt and blouse or slacks and a blouse, and the men khaki pants and shirt. However, casual could also mean an outdoor wedding on the beach, an intimate wedding at a friends home, and so on. Therefore, if you are unsure ASK!

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