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Wedding Dress Codes 101

Gentlemen's colorful wedding dress socks

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Have you gotten a wedding invitation and are not quite sure what the wedding dress code means? Or perhaps you're the one getting married and aren't quite sure how to word your invitation so your guests show up appropriately. Well, we're here to help you out! Here are 6 wedding attires broken down to help find the perfect outfit:

White Tie

This is the most formal of formal attires there is. Think Met Gala, White House dinner, type events. Unless you know some extremely fancy folks, you most likely won't be receiving this dress code on your wedding invitation. If you do - ladies, wear an elegant floor-length gown, pull out your most expensive jewelry, and go the whole nine yards for hair and make-up. Glam it up! Gentlemen, opt for a tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white pique vest, and a bow tie.

Met Gala white tie dress code

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Black Tie

This next most formal attire usually indicates the wedding with be an evening affair and a tad less dressed-down from white tie - just a tad. Gentlemen, still opt for the tuxedo and black bow tie (hint: that's why it's called black tie). Ladies, a formal floor-length gown is still appropriate here, but you can also pick a chic mid-length cocktail dress.

Joe Mangianello and Sofia Vergara black tie dress code

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Black Tie Optional

While this dress code isn't quite as formal and doesn't require a tuxedo, it is still interchangeable with "formal attire." Gentlemen, you're still welcome to wear a tuxedo if you'd like, but you can also go for a dark suit and conservative tie. Ladies, you can still select for a floor-length dress here, too, or a formal cocktail dress. Since black tie optional is still considered one of the conservative attires, stay away from elaborate prints or pastels.

Celebrity men wearing formal suits

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Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual

This can also be called cocktail attire (and where we can start wearing some more fun patterns and colors). Depending on the time of the event, you'll want to dress somewhere in between formal and casual. Wear darker, more rich tones, for evening functions, and light colors and fabrics for the day time. We recommend a cocktail dress for the ladies and a suit and tie or sports coat for the gentlemen.

Cocktail dress wedding attire

Photo credit: Gary Pepper Girl (Left), Gregg DeGuire / WireImage (Right)

Casual or Daytime

Although it says casual, absolutely do not think everyday casual and wear jeans, shorts, a plain tee, or a tank top. Think outdoors, country club, garden-type event. Ladies, wear a summer dress or separates with a nice blouse. Gentlemen, pick a pair of dress pants or khakis with a button-down shirt. A polo shirt is also appropriate here and it's okay to skip the tie.

Prince William and Kate Middleton daytime/casual attire

Photo credit: Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Beach Formal

Even though beach means casual, let's not forget it's still a wedding. Sometimes this could also be labeled "island attire" and anything you would wear to a nice restaurant on a summer night is appropriate. Gentlemen, choose a summer suit, linen pants or khakis, and a linen shirt (no tie required). Ladies, select a summer sundress (tea-length or knee-length). Flat sandals or wedges would be appropriate, as well as natural hair and make-up. We recommend skipping the stilettos for the beach.

Celebrity ladies wear summer maxi dresses

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Did you find this helpful? What are some other tips you know to separate the different dress codes?

#weddingattire #weddingdresscode

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