Your Guide To Wedding Dress Codes

bride getting ready before wedding in Brisbane

No one wants to be the woman or man who dresses too formal or too casual for a wedding! It's important to find out what's expected of the wedding guest dress code so you don't stick out like a sore thumb at your friend's big day!

However, figuring out the dress code is a trickier process than you might first think.

When you receive your wedding invitations and under "dress code" it reads an ambiguous description of - "smart casual" or "formal dress" or the infamous... "dressy casual" - it can leave your head spinning with confusion.

Is this a black tie wedding? Is it black tie optional? Is it semi formal? And so on...

At times, trying to decipher the wedding dress code can feel like a cryptic crossword.

But, not to worry - Emot is here to explain the A-Z of dress code terminology.

Know the wedding dress code before you buy that suit and black tie or formal gown otherwise you could be wasting your money.

wedding guests dressed for wedding in Brisbane

Smart Casual

As the name suggests, smart casual dress code is a balance between elegant dress and a casual dress code. Often a more relaxed and casual wedding will encourage this wedding guest attire.

But be warned, when we say "casual" we don't mean your flanno and flip flops - the wedding etiquette still requires you to get out a dress shirt.

For men, nice trousers and pants paired with a nice collared shirt is perfect for a smart casual wedding dress code. Smart casual weddings aren't very formal weddings with the black tie optional for guests. If it gets chilly, choose a blazer or jacket to keep you warm.

For women, the dress code doesn't require a full evening gown but rather, a nice midi dress or evening dress pants with a stylish top. There's no need to over dress for this wedding style, keeping it casual yet, classy is sure to rank your look as the best wedding guest outfit.

bride trying in veil before wedding in Brisbane

Cocktail wedding

For those who enjoy a bit more luxe then you'll be relieved to know that cocktail attire offers exactly that. A step above smart casual yet, not as fancy as a black tie event - cocktail attire offers the perfect medium.

If you've spotted "cocktail attire" on your wedding invitation then you'll want to make sure you've got a fresh new outfit to impress the wedding party with!

Often a cocktail dress code requires your look to transcend day and evening. You'll want to consider this when choosing your outfit... and make sure your dress is comfortable enough to boogie on the dance floor later in the evening!

For men, you'll want dust off that suit and black tie and make sure it still fits! Generally, for cocktail dress, men are expected to wear a well tailored suit. Black tie could be optional depending on the style of your suit. Add some flare with a nice bow tie.

Women should wear cocktail dresses, heels, jewellery and anything that makes you feel glammed up!

Although cocktail wedding dress codes aren't as formal as an evening wedding - they do require a bit more work than smart casual weddings. Stay away from the floor length gowns and instead opt for a more comfortable and fun dress that is going to allow you to do the twist and shout!

evening formal dress code

Evening formal dress codes

Think: sophisticated, sultry and head-turning. Evening weddings combine a formal wedding dress code with a touch of glitter

Evening wedding attire commonly means a black tie dress code i.e. a dark suit, black suit or in some cases white with matching trousers. For suits, you can't go wrong with a white shirt and white vest to complete the formal dress too.

You don't want to branch too far out and choose the pink suit for an evening wedding. However, there's some wiggle room with selecting the black tie or white tie or choosing a dressy pantsuit. As long as you wear darker colours, you'll fit the wedding attire.

Evening formal dress is great fun if you're looking to wear a floor length gown. There's simply so many glamorous dresses to choose from!

Popular choices for women include choosing warm materials such as velvet, Rich colours such as burgundy, winter green, dark blue or even gold work wonderfully with a floor length evening gown.

Complete your formal wedding attire with long ear rings and fashionable jewellery pieces for women or for men, add a boutonniere and white pocket square to your jacket.

Common wedding dress codes for evening weddings are to keep it classy, add some glam and overall simply follow a formal dress code.

destination wedding dress codes

Destination wedding dress code

For destination weddings the wedding location plays a huge part in the wedding guests attire.

This can vary from a beach wedding, a ceremony at a resort, or at a wedding location that holds a specific theme. If the bride and groom have chosen a unique location, it's likely they're working the environment into the day's overall aesthetic.

Beach weddings are very popular here in Australia and hold a more laid back wedding dress code. In some cases you can even whip out that bright tropical dress shirt or summery floor length dress. But - maybe check with the bridge and groom first!

The dress code for a destination wedding varies greatly. To be safe, always confirm with other wedding guests what they're wearing or even the bride and groom themselves. Just in case the newly weds are planning on mixing things up a little with formal attire on the sand!

white jackets wedding dress codes

White dress code

White dress code means white... everything! White dress shirt, white tie, white jacket, white dinner jacket, white ball gown, you get the picture.

Traditionally, weddings reserved wearing white for only the bride to represent purity. However, these days all-white attire is becoming a popular wedding dress code for many engaged couples.

White wedding dress codes offer a bright, minimalist and fashionable look to the wedding day. Allowing you to sprinkle bursts of colour into the ambiance through the flowers and decor.

When the wedding invitation reads - "wear white," don't confuse this with a white tie event. A white tie dress code is the fanciest dress code you can come across. It's a formal wedding dress code that asks women to wear their floor length gown and men to dress to the nines with their white tie, vests, pocket squares and even gloves!

green wedding guest dress

Find the dress code for you

At the end of the day, it's up to the bride and groom on how formal or casual they would like their wedding day to be. If the couple want to follow the glitz and glam of a formal dress code or if they would prefer khaki pants - they can! The fashion rules are determined by the soon-to-be husband and wife.

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