Ever wonder what the different attire is when reading an invitation…

White Tie

This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes (think state dinners and the Oscars).

He should wear:

A tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white pique vest, and a bow tie.

Black, formal shoes and even white gloves for dancing are appropriate.

She should wear:

A formal, full-length ball gown in a neutral color like dark brown or black.

Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate.

Black Tie 

This is the next most formal wedding
dress code and usually means the wedding is an evening affair.

He should wear:

In simple words: a tuxedo.

Featuring a black bow tie, cummerbund/vest/studs, and patent leather shoes

are also suggested, but matte black shoes are also acceptable footwear.

She should wear:

A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown in a dark, neutral color like brown, black, or charcoal.

The bride, wedding party, or friends can help answer questions about the appropriate dress length.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

The wording here suggests something slightly less formal than black tie.

This means that a tuxedo isn’t required,

but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate.

He should wear:

A tuxedo or a formal dark suit and tie.  Neck or bow ties are both appropriate.

She should wear:

A long dress, a dressy suit, or a formal cocktail-length dress

in a dark, neutral tone like brown, gray, or black.

Beach Formal

This suggests an elegant beach
wedding — so dress to impress, but also dress for the elements (sun, sand, and
water). Anything you’d wear to a nice restaurant on a summer day is

He should wear:

A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required),
linen pants or khakis, and sandals.

She should wear:

A formal summer sundress at tea- or knee-length with
flat sandals. Makeup and hair can be natural and every day.

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

Depending on the time of the event,
you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual.

Wear darker, more
formal hues for an evening fete; opt for light colors
and fabrics for a daytime wedding or event.

He should wear:

A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season
and time of day.

She should wear:

A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top.


Generally, casual means anything goes.

That being said, jeans, shorts, and tank tops are probably not appropriate

unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of wedding wear,

assume business casual to be on the safe side.

He should wear:

Dress pants with a button-down shirt or polo. 

She should wear:

A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse.

Makeup and hair can be natural and every-day.