Wedding Guest Dress Code

Wedding Guest Dress Code

Wedding Guest Dress Code

When you’re a guest at a wedding, the last thing you want to do is to not look the part. How will the wedding photos look if you are dressed differently to everyone else? You’ll also spend all day feeling like the proverbial sore thumb.

Sometimes though, the invitation you receive is of no help whatsoever. If it simply says “Black Tie”, what does that mean, exactly? If you’re a chap, would be okay for you to turn up for the occasion wearing jeans and a tee shirt as long as you’re wearing a black tie?

To help you out, and to stop you from performing a tie-the-knot faux pas, here is our guide to wedding guest dress codes, and what they actually mean.

White Tie

This is the very summit of expected dress. It is what you would wear if – for some reason – David Cameron summoned you to a formal dinner at number ten.

Ladies – a very formal, elegant floor-length gown

Gentlemen – a tuxedo or dinner suit, long black jacket complete with tails, formal white shirt, white vest, bow tie, grey or white gloves and formal black shoes

Black Tie

The second tier of wedding dress code, usually for an evening event.

Ladies – a short but appropriate cocktail dress or a floor-length grown. If you unsure about what is suitable, then ask the people organising the event

Gentlemen – a tuxedo or dinner suit with a black bow tie, black vest or cummerbund and formal leather shoes. If it’s a summer wedding then a white dinner jacket with black trousers is also acceptable.

Black Tie Optional

You have a bit more options here, and you can be a little more individualistic.

Ladies – a cocktail dress, a long dress, or suitable separates

Gentlemen – a tuxedo or dinner suit, white shirt, appropriate tie

Dress Casual

Make your own choices depending on the venue and the time of the year. Evening weddings require dark, formal colours. If it’s a daytime affair, choose lighter colours and fabrics.

Ladies – cocktail dress or suitable skirt and top

Gentlemen – suit and tie

Festive attire

This one can leave wedding party guests feeling really confused. Basically, you are being given the green light to have a little fun when choosing your attire. You can be really inventive as long as you don’t become the centre of attention (shame on you if you try to!)

Ladies – cocktail dresses or party dresses in vibrant colours with suitable accessories

Gentlemen – suit and tie with the additional of a suitably casual tie


A ‘casual’ wedding is typically one that’s to be held outdoors, so it’s likely to be a relaxed affair.

However, there are still some ‘no no’s’ such as jeans, shorts, vests, tee shirts and muscle tops. If you are not sure about what’s acceptable, don’t be afraid to ask.

Ladies – a summer dress that is not too formal

Gentleman – dress or khaki pants with a short or long-sleeved shirt in a pastel shade. Whether you wear a tie or not is up to you.

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