What to Wear to a Wedding or Formal Event

Wedding Guest Attire

Are you scheduled to attend a Wedding, Bar Mitzvah or formal affair and you don’t know what to wear? Check out all of this cheat sheet information!

 The invite says: “White Tie”

This is the most formal event, think Oscars or a State Dinner at the White House

She should wear:
A formal, full-length ball gown in a neutral color. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate so make sure you get it done professionally.  Try Rent the Runway for an event like this!

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. If you don’t own already you’re renting!

The invite says: “Black Tie”

This is the next most formal dress code for a wedding and usually means the wedding is an evening affair.  It is rare that you have a Black Tie day time affair.  It also usually means it is taking place indoors.

She should wear:
A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown in a dark, neutral color like brown or black. The bride, wedding party, or friends can help answer questions about the appropriate dress length.

He should wear:
A tuxedo. A black bow tie, cummerbund, and patent leather shoes.

She should wear:
A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown in a dark, neutral color nothing to flashy.

The invite says: “Formal” or “Black Tie Optional”

This usually suggests something slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required but the event is still formal enough that you can wear one.

She should wear:
Same as black tie- A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown in a dark, neutral color nothing to flashy. You could also pull of a fancy pants suit.

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

The invite says: “Beach Formal”

This means you’re going to be on the beach so dress for the elements but it’s still elegant.  Anything you’d wear to a nice restaurant on a summer day is appropriate.

She should wear:
A formal summer sundress at tea- or knee-length with flat sandals, remember you’re walking in sand. Makeup and hair can be natural and everyday. Be ready for some some wind to flow through your trusses.

He should wear:
A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties or suit jackets required), linen pants or khakis, and sandals or shoes are fine.

The invite says: “Semiformal” or “Dressy Casual”

Depending on the time of the event and the time of year, you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual. Wear darker, more formal hues for an evening and fall or winter occasion; opt for light colors and fabrics for a daytime and spring or summer wedding.

She should wear:
A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top.

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

The invite says: “Casual”

Generally, casual means anything goes. However, jeans, shorts, and tank tops are still not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of a wedding, assume business casual to be on the safe side.

She should wear:
A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse. Makeup and hair can be natural and everyday.

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

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