So you chose your wedding guest attire and are now bombarded with questions about what “Garden Party” attire really is or if “Black Tie” really means you have to wear a black tie. 

Or worse, they don’t ask and show up dressed completely wrong for the occasion.

“Sorry Uncle Kenny, you can’t wear your “good” denim overalls to our wedding even though it says “Casual Attire”.”

While it may be obvious to some, not all your guests will know right away what they should grab from their closet. 

To make it easier on them, and on you, we have compiled the Ultimate Guide to Wedding Guest Attire. 

In this post, you’ll find absolutely everything you need to know about wedding guest attire.

Just click the link to jump to the section that you need or scroll down to see all of the dress codes explained. 

Black-Tie Attire

Black-Tie Optional Attire

Formal Attire 

Semi-Formal Attire

Cocktail Attire

Garden Party Attire 

Casual Attire

Pro tip: Link the post that corresponds with your wedding’s dress code to the FAQ section of your wedding website where you discuss your guests’ outfits. You can also send it to anyone who is unsure of what to wear! It’ll save you a lot of explaining.

And/Or, you can link this Pinterest board to inspire your guests.

What is Black-tie attire for a wedding?


Black-tie attire for a wedding is a very sophisticated dress code that may require some serious preparation from your guests. 

However, it is only the second most formal wedding guest attire a wedding couple can choose. 

(All my fellow Downton Abbey fans will know that white-tie is actually on the top of the fancy-pants scale.)

When you attend a wedding that has listed black-tie attire for the dress code, you should dress in formal wear, but with dark, muted colors. 

To respect the formal event, you should make sure your shoes and accessories are classy and polished.

Click here for your complete guide on Black-Tie Attire!

What is Black-tie Optional attire for a wedding?


Black-tie Optional attire for a wedding is one of the more formal dress codes. 

As the name suggests, Black-tie Optional is based on Black-tie attire but with a bit more flexibility. 

It is great for couples who want to make their wedding a very elegant affair without putting extra strain on their guests, since not too many will have a black tuxedo or floor-length gown readily available. 

Despite all its advantages, Black-tie Optional attire is not often seen as a choice for wedding guest attire.

Click here for your complete guide to Black-Tie Optional Attire!

What is Formal attire for a wedding?


Formal attire for a wedding is a small step below black-tie attire on the fanciness scale. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this dress code is, well…  formal. 

The big difference to black-tie attire lies in that other colors are acceptable as well, however, no matter the season, you will want to stick to darker colors and stay away from patterns.

Click here for your complete guide to Formal Attire!

What is Semi-Formal attire for a wedding?


Semi-formal attire for a wedding includes dress codes like cocktail attire and garden party attire. 

On a scale from formal to casual attire, it is somewhere in the middle with lots of room for interpretation. 

Generally, since weddings are events that call for a certain level of formality, you will want to err on the side of more fancy. 

Suits for the gents, a dress or dressy shirt and skirt for the ladies. 

Choose darker colors for weddings in the evening or fall/winter, and lighter hues for earlier ceremony times and seasons.

Keep your accessories minimal and classy while still expressing your individuality. 

Click here for your complete guide to Semi-Formal Attire!

What is Cocktail attire for a wedding?


Cocktail attire for a wedding means that wedding guests should wear clothing that is close to formal wear, but with colors to match the season. 

You still want to respect the semi-formal event but are free to add your personality to your attire with color and other accessories.

Click here for your complete guide to Cocktail Attire!

What is Garden Party attire for a wedding?


Garden party attire for a wedding is a semi-formal dress code. 

While your basics stay the same, dress for the ladies, suit and dress shirt for the gents, this is a great time to loosen up on the fit and get more adventurous with colors. 

Summery colors like pastels, coral, turquoise, and shades of tan and grey are definitely a great choice.

Accessorize with floral prints for the perfect garden party look! 

Click here for your complete guide to Garden Party Attire!

What is Casual attire for a wedding?


Casual attire for a wedding is one of the least formal dress codes a couple can choose. 

Keep in mind, though, that their wedding is an important event and deserves respect, which you can show by dressing the part.

The fit of your outfit can be more relaxed and fabrics can be informal including seersucker, cotton or jersey. 

Colors should match the season and time of the wedding. For example, light or pastel colors for springtime and a daytime wedding, darker colors for fall, winter or an evening wedding. 

Click here for your complete guide to Casual Attire!

Now you’re a total expert when it comes to ANY attire for a wedding!!

Remember to share this post and Pinterest board with all of your wedding guests to give them an idea of what to wear on your special day! 

Did we answer your wedding day dress code questions? Let us know in the comments!

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