Wedding Dress Codes Decoded

Wondering what in the world "Garden Attire is?" Or how casual "Beach Casual" is? Don't know the difference between "White Tie" and "Black Tie?" Here at TBS we love to cover a range of wedding topics on our blog and dress code is something that comes up in our studio a lot! So without further ado we are going to break down the traditional and the new dress codes for you so that you can tackle any of them in complete appropriate style!

White Tie:
This is the most formal of all dress codes and reserved mostly for official events but Does pop up for weddings also. For women this  dress code requires a full length gown and traditionally is worn with long gloves. Though nowadays the gloves are not a necessity.
For men it means a whole lot more! They are required to wear a tuxedo with a long black jacket that has tails, a formal white shirt matched with white vest and bow tie. On top of this they are required to wear white or gray gloves and black formal shoes (which are normally patent.)
In short, think what would Downton Abbey do? 


white tie.jpg

Black Tie also commonly referred to as Formal:
Typically "Black Tie" means the event will take part in the evening. Ladies, again you should really be wearing a floor length gown but if you opt for something shorter it should be "Tea length" or really very fancy if cocktail. 
For men again a tuxedo (normally black but white is appropriate in summer) but this time a black bow tie, black vest or cummerbund and patent leather shoes. 
If the invitation says "Formal" or "Black tie optional" you have a bit more leeway. For instance men could way a dressy dark suit in stead of a tux and cocktail as long as still quite dressy is acceptable for women. 


Cocktail or Semiformal:
This is quite a vague area of the topic so we think best to approach it depending on the time of day that the wedding takes place. If the wedding is during the day you can choose lighter toned cocktail looks and you can even consider separates if they feel smart enough. For night time darker tones and dressier accessories are the best approach.
Men should definitely choose to wear a suit but they can be more relaxed with how they wear it. Open neck with a pocket square is a nice touch for day for them.


This is becoming more and more popular as people have so much more freedom these days with how they choose to style their weddings. It suggests perhaps it may be outdoors or somewhere low key where comfort is important. 
Ladies can keep it simple with a sundress and comfortable shoes. Avoid anything too sexy or casual though such as jeans or tanks. 
Men would look appropriate in khakis or chinos and a short sleeved shirt. Shorts would only be appropriate if teamed with a button down or blazer.

Jenny yoo sabrina.jpg

There is also a whole new group of dress codes that are now commonly used on wedding invititations. This is thanks to people being more and more creative with where and how they get married.  

Beach Formal:
This is an increasingly popular dress code. It implies "we are getting married on the beach but please still make an effort."
For the ladies to keep in line with the formal requirement one should choose a summer sundress that is tea-length or full-length.  Although note flats are a good idea.
 For men a summer suit would be great. Linen is a great fabric for them for this. They could also opt for a sports coat and chinos or khakis. They could rock a loafer without socks which always looks great with those types of pants. 

Jenny yoo charlie_cassie.jpg

This one is a fun one! "Festive" as a dress code encourages guests to have fun with their look. Ladies can do a party or cocktail dress and team it with bold accessories and should'nt be afraid to choose bold colors. 
This applies to the boys too. Though they should still choose a suit, they can have fun with their accessories or color palette.

vanity fair.jpg

Garden Attire:
This should be treated much like Beach Formal though a shorter dress is appropriate. Also consider wedges over flats. Men should approach the same as Beach Formal.

Jenny yoo sabrina.jpg

If you like reading about wedding styling and dress options click here to continue reading.