What really is formal attire for a wedding? 

True, wedding dress codes are not always the easiest thing to figure out. 

While for some formal attire is nothing short of a Tom Ford suit with diamond-studded cufflinks, for others it means putting on “the good” pair of overalls. 

To be honest, neither one of those is your best choice, but we’re here to clear up the confusion and show you what formal attire for a wedding is. 

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 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.

What is Formal attire for women?

Women should choose a floor-length or below-the-knee-length dress in a dark color.

Stay away from bright colors or patterns, but if you feel like your outfit needs a pop, accessorize with some earrings or a clutch.

You will absolutely want to wear heels to complete the formal look.





  • Floor or below-the-knee-length formal dress in a dark color 
  • Heels


  • Few, quality pieces of jewelry 
  • Small clutch

What is Formal attire for men?

Formal attire for a man is slightly more casual than black-tie attire, meaning while you want to stick to dark colors and stay away from patterns, it doesn’t have to all be black. 

You will want to pick a well-fitting suit or tuxedo with a clean, white, ironed dress-shirt.

A tie or bowtie is definitely a must as are clean leather shoes. 




  • Dark suit or tuxedo 
  • White dress-shirt


  • Tie or bowtie 
  • Leather shoes 

What is Formal attire for a girl?

A wedding that calls for a formal dress code may not always be kid-friendly.

If the wedding couple does choose to include children in their celebration, they should be dressed the part!

Formal attire for a girl consists of a formal dress in any color with sparkly accents.

Tulle is usually a great fabric that adds a fun spin while upping the level of formality. 





  • Formal dress


  • Formal shoes
  • Curled hair or updo
  • (Optional) Headband

What is Formal attire for a boy?

Little boys in suits are probably the cutest thing ever! And luckily, that’s the perfect choice if the wedding invite calls for formal attire. 

For a little boy, formal attire includes a dark-colored suit with a white dress shirt. 

A tie or bowtie can make the outfit extra formal, but they’re not a must. 





  • Dark-colored suit 
  • White dress shirt


  • (Optional) Tie or bowtie 

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