The Dress Code: What Your Wedding Guests Should Wear

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One of the questions brides- and grooms-to-be get from their guests is what to wear during the wedding. That’s why setting the dress code is important — you wouldn’t want someone to wear jeans and sneakers at your formal reception, or a tuxedo during your beach ceremony.

It’s not enough, though, to state “black-tie optional” or “casual attire” on your invitation, lest your guests would wonder what they mean. It would be very helpful if you specify what kind of outfit you would want them to wear on your big day. But if you are as confused on how you want your guests to dress in, here’s a quick guide:

Casual – means your wedding has a laid-back vibe. Ladies can wear a sundress or a blouse and skirt. Men can go for khaki or dress pants and a polo shirt. Depending on how informal your wedding ceremony is, you can allow your guests to wear jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts (unless you say you don’t want them to).

Semi-Formal – also “dressy casual”. You would be requiring your guests to be in a cocktail dress or coat over a shirt plus trousers. If the ceremony takes place in the morning, they can wear something light-colored. Darker hues are ideal for evening weddings. Jeans and t-shirts are a no-no.

Cocktail – means your guests need to dress up a bit. Dark suits for men are perfect. Women can put on a cocktail dress or an elegant dress that comes in jewel tones or even black.

Formal – may also mean “black-tie optional”. Male guests can go for tuxedos but have the option to wear a dark suit and a dark tie. An evening gown or a formal cocktail dress is recommended for females.

Black-tie – says tuxedos, cummerbunds, and bow ties are in order for men. A stylish long gown in dark hues, like black, or a sequined evening dress is perfect for the ladies.

The venue of your wedding can also give your guests clues on what they should wear. Tell them if you are having an outdoor ceremony or reception, like at the beach or in a barn, so they can dress appropriately. Inform them of your wedding dress code early on so they could prepare — and you won’t have to fret about what they will be wearing on your big day.

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