Dress Codes


Dress codes at wedding ceremonies is something many people can struggle with, not only the guests. Often people misunderstand what different dress codes mean and rather than considering their options some couples put it into the ‘too hard basket’. The only issue with that is dressing incorrectly for the event is more likely. This does not bother some people, however the bride and groom may be offended if people don’t dress appropriately. If the guests have been informed of the dress code prior to the event, it is more likely to be adhered to. One statement I don’t like on an invite, unless it’s for 21st, is ‘Dress to Impress’ – impress whom?

As a guest, I personally find it tough to know what to wear when the dress code isn’t stated on the invitation. I never want to turn up to an event underdressed. I am a strong believer of respecting wedding ceremonies, as they are lovely sacred moments where guests should dress appropriately. Although as a celebrant I can assure you there are some who dress as though it’s just another party.

It also depends on whether or not what your guests wear bothers you – if it doesn’t, trust them to make up their own mind. You may decide to put a little note on your invite such as; dress smart casual, which generally means no jeans with the possibility of no tie for men, women may choose to wear pants.  Alternatively if you prefer or your venue requires men to wear a jacket you may want to further research different dress codes.

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Lounge suit – This is probably the most common and most appropriate for a semi formal wedding before 5pm. This suggests that men should wear a suit with a shirt and tie and women a dress suitable for daytime.

Cocktail – This is the evening version of lounge suit; usually for weddings starting after 5pm. Men (in theory) should still wear a shirt and tie and suit jacket, however women should wear a more evening appropriate style of dress.

Morning suit – This is where it starts to get dressy – used for a formal day time wedding, usually men are expected to wear tailcoats and waistcoats and women a formal daytime dress and hat.

Black tie – Formal by most people’s standards, men are expected to wear a tuxedo and bow tie and women an evening gown or cocktail dress.

White tie – The most formal dress code for upscale weddings, ball gowns for women and dress coats with waistcoats for men.

Most couples don’t feel the need to be strict with the dress code on their invitations and are happy to state smart casual, semi formal or formal.  Make sure however you are aware this may be open for interpretation by your guests. If you want to give your guests a little more guidance you could state cocktail dress optional therefore they understand what you expect most people to wear.

How do you feel about dress codes? Do they often confuse you?

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Thank you to Untamed Images for the photos on the blog this week. Have a look at the other great work that they do at the Untamed Images Website.



Filed under wedding ideas, Wedding Planning, wedding tips

2 responses to “Dress Codes

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