“On the invitation, should we tell guests what to wear to the wedding?”

If you have a preference, yes. The invitation is about providing your guests with as much information about the event as possible. Wedding attire for everyone involved should correspond to the style and formality of the celebration. I believe ALL formal invitations should include dress instructions. This is usually included at the bottom, as the last line of the invitation itself.

Sadly, most people these days have no idea what “Black tie optional” means. Here are some guidelines:

  • Casual attire: Jeans, shorts, and tank tops are probably not appropriate. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume this means business casual.
  • Semiformal or Dressy casual: Depending on the time of the event, guests should dress somewhere between formal and casual. Darker, more formal hues for an evening affair; light colors for a daytime event.
  • Beach formal: For an elegant beach wedding, guests should dress to impress, but also consider the elements (sun, sand and water). If you’d wear it to a nice restaurant on a summer day, it’s appropriate.
  • Black tie optional: slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required but the event is still formal enough to wear one.
  • Black tie: The second most formal wedding dress code and usually means the wedding is an evening affair. Dark suits and cocktail dresses.
  • White tie: The most formal wedding attire. Guests should dress they’re accepting an award at the Oscars: tuxedos with tails and full-length ball gowns.

Two final notes: While there is some debate about this, I don’t think guests should EVER wear white to a wedding. Also, it’s always better to have your guests be overdressed than underdressed.

1 Comment on Often asked: Guest attire

  1. Christine @ Bridal Banter
    April 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm (5 years ago)

    Thanks for the link! And I agree — give guests attire guidelines! Most people simply want to look appropriate for your wedding. Better to help them out than to keep things a mystery.


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