While it may be one of the most popular types of dress, cocktail attire for a wedding is not always easy to navigate.

It’s somewhat classy, somewhat casual. Formal enough to match the occasion, but comfortable enough to dance the night away.

Sounds easy enough, right? 


That’s what I thought.

And guess what, that’s how your guests feel, too. 

Actually, we found that most of your guests’ questions come down to one of categories.

 And by answering them, you either: 

  1. Help them make a decision
  2. Give them details about your wedding they don’t know.

“What should I wear?” definitely falls under the first category. 

But as always, we’re here to help and have the answers ready for you! 

And instead of giving you more cryptic explanations, we found several outfits that scream cocktail attire.

Pro tip: Link this post to the FAQ section of your wedding website where you discuss your guests’ outfits and 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 Cocktail attire for a wedding?

When you attend a wedding that has listed cocktail attire for the dress code, you 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.

What is Cocktail attire for women?

For the ladies, I’m sorry to say that it’s a blessing and a curse to have a lot of options.

Long story short, cocktail attire for a woman is a mid-length dress made out of a more formal fabric like chiffon, satin or velvet. A pantsuit or romper is fair game, too. And so are most colors and patterns. 

If possible, you will want to wear heels and accessorize with a few key pieces like some pearl earrings or a statement necklace. Your accessories should add to your outfit but not overpower it.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to look classy but not stiff. 

Choose colors and patterns of the season like florals in spring, bright colors in summer and darker hues or metallics towards the end of the year. 




  • Mid-length dress made out of a more formal fabric like chiffon, satin or velvet
  • Pantsuit or romper
  • Choose colors and patterns that fit the season like florals in spring


  • High Heel Shoes
  • Few pieces of nice jewelry like pearl earrings or a statement necklace

What is Cocktail attire for men?

For the guys, cocktail attire consists of a well-fitting suit with a tie (optional), a belt, and clean shoes. 

The color palette should consist of darker hues of blue, gray, black or brown. It can be solid-colored or in a subtle, traditional pattern.

Really, it’s as easy as that!

(Which can’t be said for many other types of attire like black-tie or formal) 




  • Well-fitted suit
  • Colors should be darker hues of blue, gray, black or brown
  • Can be solid-colored or have a subtle, traditional pattern


  • (optional) Tie
  • Belt that matches your clean shoes

What is Cocktail attire for a girl?

While the dress code is not typically strictly enforced for the little ones, you will want to make sure that they still match the rest of the party. 

For a little girl, cocktail attire would be a nice dress with a tulle underlay to give it a fun and twirly poof, kitten heels and a pretty headpiece.




  • Festive dress 


  • Fun shoes
  • Headband

What is Cocktail attire for a boy?

There’s not much that’s cuter than a dapperly dressed boy. 

Cocktail attire for a little boy includes dress pants and a button-down shirt at a minimum. 

Ideally, you would want to add a tie and blazer. But let’s be real, that may be more trouble than it’s worth. 




  • Dress pants with a button-down shirt
  • (optional) Blazer


  • (optional) Tie or bowtie

Now you’re a total expert when it comes to cocktail 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!