How to Choose Your Wedding Dress Code

Setting a dress code is essential for any wedding. It gives guests a helping hand when it comes to choosing what they’ll be wearing to the wedding, and also sets the tone for the celebration. Plus, it helps avoid the awkward scenario of one guest showing up in evening wear and the other rocking a pair of flip flops. If you are trying to figure out what dress code you should set for your wedding, read on for some tips. But first, let’s look at the most common wedding dress codes:


  • Black-Tie: This is one of the most formal dress codes. The women typically wear floor-length dresses (or dressier cocktail dresses), and the men wear a tuxedo.
  • Formal/Black-Tie Optional: This is a step down from black-tie. For women, the options are the same as black-tie. Men, however, can wear a formal suit (or a tuxedo, if they choose).
  • Semi-Formal/Dressy Casual/Cocktail: This dress code still has some formality, but is a bit more casual. Ladies can wear a cocktail dress, while men can wear a dark or light suit.
  • Casual: As the name says, this dress code is the most casual. Women can wear a sundress or a nice skirt and top combo. Men can wear khakis or dress pants paired with a collared shirt. They could also throw on a sport jacket.


Now, let’s move into how to choose your wedding dress code.


Take a Hint From the Venue

You can easily get some dress code ideas by imagining what will look best and makes the most sense with your venue. A beach wedding and black-tie attire? Probably not the best match. But a casual or dressy casual dress code? That’s perfect for an outdoor ceremony on the sand. The same goes for more formal settings like a ballroom – you’ll want your guests decked out in formal or black-tie attire to match the venue. You can easily narrow down your options by looking at what logistically and aesthetically fits with your wedding venue.


Keep Time of Day and Weather in Mind

Let’s be honest – no one is going to want to get dressed up in black-tie attire for a morning or early afternoon ceremony in the middle of August. The dress code should match the time of day that your celebration starts, and should allow for the guests to remain comfortable in the weather. If you’ll be celebrating when the sun is still out (especially during the hotter months), stick to cocktail or casual attire.


Think of the Wedding Aesthetic

What do you want your wedding to look and feel like? Of course, the elements mentioned above will play a big role in whether your wedding will lean more casual or more formal. But you should also keep the overall aesthetic you are going for in mind. Are you planning a fancy soiree, or a backyard, family-friendly bash? These elements will help lead you in the right dress code direction.


Look at Your Own Style and Preferences

You and your partner should work together to decide what dress code best reflects you as a couple. If you are more laid-back, a casual or cocktail attire dress code will match your personalities and styles. If you both love glitz and glamour, a formal or black-tie dress code will be appropriate, especially if you are leaning towards a fancier affair. Your wedding should reflect you as a couple – and that includes the dress code.


Final Tips

As you are writing your dress code information on your invitation and wedding website, be sure to include any additional information that might influence how guests dress. For example, if you’ll be hosting your ceremony on uneven ground (like a beach or field), let guests know – that way they can plan for the appropriate footwear. Keep guest comfort in mind, and give your guests any information that might be useful!



If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with wedding professionals from Georgia and the Southeast who can help bring your vision to life!


Georgia wedding vendors, as well as other wedding professionals across the Southeast, can contact us about opportunities for exhibition and online marketing with Georgia Bridal Show.