Wedding Guest Dress Code

Dress: Nordstrom (comes in 7 colors) | Shoes: Steve Madden (ON SALE)

Wedding season is in full force and has been the most requested topic by far from you ladies! This post idea has been in the works for quite some time and I’m hoping that it will serve as a comprehensive guide for all of your wedding attire needs for both brides and wedding guests. Everything from showers to bachelorette parties to the actual wedding weekend, I’ve sifted through thousands and thousands of dresses to find appropriate choices for each of these events. This is a long post but should answer all of your questions when it comes to what to wear to a wedding event whether it’s in a barn, on the beach or a church!



Black tie and black tie optional weddings are going to be more “gala-like” than a cocktail attire wedding. Men pull out their tuxedos and women are decked out in floor length gowns. The “optional” part in black tie just means that you don’t have to wear a floor length gown if you do not wish to. But hey, after prom how many times do us girls get the chance to rock a gown? Have a little fun with it! For black tie optional, nicer midi dresses and jumpsuits are totally fine just remember to error on the dressier side (like this!). For black tie weddings, keep in mind that renting a ball gown is an excellent option! You don’t want to spend $200+ on a dress chances are you are never going to wear again especially since you know you’ll want something new for the next event! Rent The Runway is a service I have used several times now. They have thousands of designer and name brand dress options. The best part is that they send you two sizing options so that if your normal size doesn’t work, you have  a back up!

He should wear: A tuxedo or formal dark suit and tie

She should wear: A long evening dress or formal cocktail dress



From personal experience, 9 out of 10 weddings you are going to be invited to will be cocktail attire. If the invitation says “dressy casual”  or semi formal you might as well look at it as cocktail attire. Why there are 500 different ways to say cocktail attire I have no idea. It’s 2018 so people think they are really creative when honestly they are just really confusing.

Basically a cocktail dress is just a fancy term for a “nice” dress that is not a ball gown. If you are unsure of what would qualify as a cocktail dress think about it this way: a dress that you would feel overdressed wearing to a luncheon and underdressed wearing to a gala. While most cocktail dresses usually hit above the knee, midi and maxi dresses can also be worn for cocktail attire. Keep in mind a less formal approach to a longer length dress might be more appropriate as not to look you are going to a black tie wedding. Jumpsuits are certainly appropriate as well for cocktail attire but error on the side of a more formal jumpsuit (like this!). I did an entire post here on why I actually prefer to wear jumpsuits for weddings. Here is just one of several reasons that I gave in the post:

…while every other girl is trying to hike up her dress and awkwardly dance, you are 10 steps ahead of them ready to take on the limbo, cha cha slide, cotton-eyed joe and every other cliche wedding song like a total champ!

He should wear: A suit and tie

She should wear: A cocktail dress or jumpsuit



Apparently this is becoming a thing guys! News to me too because I haven’t had the pleasure of having been invited to one. *Side note: all of my destination beach wedding friends can come out of hiding now*. The formal term is used relatively loosely here, mostly meaning that a dress below the knees would be best but is not required. You will want to dress for the elements (sun, sand and sweat) so flowy, sleeveless options are usually best.

He should wear: A summer suit with (no ties required), linen pants (or khakis) and sandals

She should wear: A formal sundress at knee length or below with sandals


Generally speaking, casual means anything goes but jeans, shorts and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. Keep in mind the time of day for the wedding. Daytime weddings are going to be a little less dressy than a night time wedding. Also note the type of venue. You probably don’t want to wear a nice cocktail dress to a barn wedding and a sundress might be too casual for a nice hotel. If you are still confused on what to wear, I promise this little dress won’t steer you wrong.

He should wear: Dress pants with a button-down shirt or polo

She should wear: A sundress or a skirt with a nice top


No matter what type of wedding you attend, accessorizing is one in the same. 9 out of 10 times you will find me in these nude heels. They seriously go with any and every dress! Not to mention they are great for date night or a girls night out too. Speaking from experience, you honestly can’t go wrong with a pair of Steve Madden heels! Jewelry wise, invest in a couple of fun pairs of earrings that you can dress up or down. This way you can wear them beyond weddings! My gold hoops almost never leave my ears- weddings, date nights, work wear, you name it! If you buy one pair of earrings, make it these. Lastly, if you know you might be cold at the wedding, bring a wrap instead of a jacket as it will look a bit nicer!


Attire for showers is completely dependent on location. For locations such as somebody’s house or an informal restaurant, a casual sundress, skirt or even jeans and a nice top will do! If the shower is at a nicer restaurant, church or formal venue, you will want to wear a sundress.




Again attire is dependent on location. If the rehearsal is held at a church, you have to be mindful that it is a holy place. Some religions require that your shoulders be covered when inside of the church. I would not advise wearing a skirt or jeans unless the bride tells you this is okay to do so.




Location and what the bride wants you to wear is everything!

For the bride: Most brides tend to want to stick to wearing all white, after all nothing says bride like wearing all white! And if that fails, hopefully your friends also get you an obnoxious sash and penis themed everything to let the rest of the world know it is in fact your weekend.

For the guests: The bride will usually give details on dress code for the party but if not, it is a safe bet to wear black! Rompers are my favorite option when going out (although they aren’t the easiest to go to the bathroom in) because if you like to dance, they are the best option to bust a move in!

Lingerie: If not at the bachelorette, there is usually a lingerie party for the bride. I don’t care how old or mature you are, don’t tell me that lingerie is not awkward to buy. Save yourself the embarassment and buy it online. My go to places for relatively cheap and PG (I personally stay away from gifting anything PG-13 because I’m an inner 5 year old) lingerie are always Nordstrom Rack and Hautelook. They are always running lingerie sales. Brand wise: I like Free People and Sam Edelman lingerie. It is cute and sexy… if that is possible.

Wedding Style Guide: Dress Codes, Etiquette and FAQ