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Your Guide to Wedding Dress Codes

What do wedding dress codes even mean?

As we lead into another season of weddings, engagement parties and receptions, it’s time to break out this guide. By now you may have an invite sitting at home that stipulates a less-than-clear dress code for the event. If there was ever a time to show off your fashion centricity for the Instagram feed, weddings are the time to do so.

Here is what you need to know to avoid upstaging the happy couple.

Black Tie

What it means: 

The highest level of formality

What to wear: 

As the name suggests men are expected to wear something that allows for a black tie, preferably in the bow variety. A tuxedo is the suit of choice for such events, consisting of a dark, single-buttoned suit, with satin lapel and matching trousers. Under this, a plain coloured or black-buttoned white shirt should be worn with a white pocket square to match should match the satin lapel. A waist cummerbund, and suspenders are optional. Black dress shoes such as laced oxfords or loafers (provided they are worn with socks), are acceptable.


What it means: 

Not quite black tie, but also not so casual. The safest and most common option.

What to wear: 

Almost black tie but a lounge suit is acceptable. While it is semi formal, in almost all cases it’s best to wear a tie. Common colours for semi formal suits include navy, grey and charcoal. It is almost never recommended to wear a black suit unless a) clearly stipulated or b) you’re off to a funeral afterwards. Once again, look to breakout your look with a bold tie or pocket square. Regarding footwear, it’s best to stay with complimenting colours to your suiting.


What it means:

Smart casual. Think garden party attire.

What to wear:

For most, this means smart hemmed pair of cotton chinos with a jacket or sports coat  (tailored of course). You can choose to wear a tie if you’d like, however it’s not an expectation, especially in the cooler months. If you are going for the broken suit look (one with different coloured jacket and pants) We still recommend to putting this outfit together with a white shirt that keeps some smartness, to the top-half at least. Depending on your preference and familiarity with the couple, you may choose to vary your footwear between dress shows or slip-on loafers.

So with your little cheat sheet to wedding attire you should be off to a flying start for your outfit planning. While we’ve provided you with the basics, the entire purpose of special events is in celebrating and having fun with our loved ones.

In some cases, you may also need to take the weather and location into consideration i.e. a beach wedding calls for a more dressed down approach or lighter fabrics. Therefore your outfit should be comfortable and give you confidence on the day. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to your own comfort.

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