Decoding the Various Wedding Dress Codes: A Guide For Brides and Guests

Decoding Wedding the Various Dress Codes: A Guide For Brides and Guests


I get approximately 4 million texts a week—especially now that the warm-weather season is (kinda) upon us—asking me what in the heck the text sender is supposed to wear to whatever upcoming wedding(s) they’ve got on their docket. Whether they are inquiring because the dress-code announcement on the invitation has confused them or because there was no dress-code announcement on the invitation seems to make no matter; both equally seem to boggle the mind of many a wedding guest.

And I get it. When it comes to things of this nature in the world of weddings that don’t exactly have any hard-and-fast etiquette rules—and where people are basically left to do their own interpretations—it can be tricky. That’s why I thought this breakdown of the various wedding dress codes was so great—from white tie to the reminder that, no, you still shouldn’t wear white to a wedding, it covers it all.

My own little addendum for brides: Please don’t do ‘black tie preferred or requested.’ Just do ‘black tie’ or ‘black tie optional.’ Because really, what you’re saying with preferred is that sure, doing the black-tie thing at our wedding is technically optional, ladies and gentlemen, but that we’re not really into you taking us up on that option. Either decree it or truly give your people the option.

My own little addendum for guests: I disagree about the note that says you should steer clear of pink and beige as well as white, since some brides are opting for that. (Well, I mean, unless you know for sure the bride is wearing one of those shades—then it’s just common courtesy and decency to steer clear of them.) Otherwise, let’s not just keep expanding the range of not-allowed shades for wedding guests just because more and more brides are opting away from white. It’s fine. Weddings are tricky enough as is.

Are you and your groom going to declare a dress code for your wedding, or will you just let your guests go by the season, venue and time of day when deciding on their party ensembles?

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