Tips About Wedding Guest Attire

January 5, 2018 11:03 pm30 commentsViews: 1705

Formal Wedding Attire

If a bride expects tuxedos and evening gowns on her guests, chances are that she’ll include this information. Things get confusing with words like ‘suggested,’ ‘invited,’ and ‘optional.’ Chances are the bride would probably love people to dress up but doesn’t want them to incur the cost of wedding guest wear that might make them decide to not attend the wedding.

– Black Tie – Tuxedos on the men and cocktail dresses or evening gowns on the women.
– Black Tie Suggested – Men should wear a tuxedo or a formal dark suit and white shirt. Women can wear a dressy suit, a long dress, or a formal –
cocktail dress.
– Formal, Black Tie Optional, Black Tie Invited – Follow the same options for ‘black tie suggested.’

Semi-Formal Wedding Guest Attire

Semi-formal is harder to interpret; the time of day can offer some guidelines. When in doubt, go a bit dressier. Men can always remove their suit jacket at the reception. Women can go simple in the style of their clothing and wear a dramatic piece of jewelry if they are afraid of looking underdressed. Chances are people will interpret semi-formal in a variety of ways, so there is no right or wrong. When no suggestions are offered, follow the guidelines for semi-formal.

– Beach Formal – Although this seems like an oxymoron, the bride is hinting that she doesn’t want her guests to show up in bathing suits and shorts. Men should wear a nice summer suit where women can wear a dressy sundress and flat sandals. Guests should think about what they would wear to a nice restaurant while on summer vacation. Even if the invitation doesn’t specify beach formal, guests should dress so they look like they are attending a wedding instead of a volleyball game.

– Semi-Formal – Men should wear a suit and tie. For a daytime or spring/summer wedding, wear a lighter color suit. If the wedding is during colder months or in the evening, a dark suit will look more formal. Women can wear a blouse and skirt or street- or tea-length dress for a daytime wedding. For an evening wedding, go with a cocktail dress or dressy suit.

Casual Wedding Attire

For guests to a beach, backyard, or daytime wedding, casual clothing may be appropriate. However, this is still a wedding, so guests should dress nicer than they would if they were running errands on the weekend. Think business casual; skip jeans, shorts, and tank tops. Men should wear dress pants with a button-down or polo shirt. Women can wear a sundress or a pretty top and skirt. Women can also wear pretty jewelry that they would on the weekend.

When in doubt about proper wedding attire, ask a bridesmaid, groomsman, or the parents of the bride, unless the bride is a close friend that the guest would be talking to before the wedding as a matter of course. Remember, daytime colors can be lighter than colors worn to an evening wedding (and a black dress on a female guest is acceptable). When in doubt, go slightly dressier and remove a suit jacket or embellished cardigan to simpler clothing underneath.


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