Wedding Dress Code

Hi friends! Happy Thursday.

Wedding Season is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to start hunting for those wedding guest dresses. You know, the dress that says “I look good, but not SO good that I’m trying to upstage the bride good” lol. You know what I mean…

There are so many different rules nowadays about what you should and shouldn’t wear to a wedding. Not to mention the different formalities. Whether it’s black tie, white tie, casual, or something in between, here’s your cheat sheet on how to de-code your wedding invitation…

PS- Scroll to the bottom of this post for a link to get a link for $30 off your first order from Rent the Runway.


The invite says “white tie”….

Okay so this is SUPER rare, but still felt it should be included just incase. {side note: if you get an invitation to a White Tie wedding- you better not decline… they’re probably giving out puppies or diamonds as your parting gift} lol. But seriously…go to that wedding.

This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes, think ball gowns, oscars, dinner at the white house, etc.

She Should Wear:
A formal, full-length ball gown. GLAM IT UP. Gaudy jewelry, full face of makeup, the works. Rent or borrow from your rich friend, you can’t go to this not looking TOP NOTCH.

He Should Wear:
A tuxedo. No exceptions on this. Yes- the long black jacket with tails, a vest and a bow tie. Could even wear the white gloves. LOL. But actually. Nothing is too fancy for this.


The invite says “black tie”…

This is the most formal wedding dress code (other than white tie, which again, is rare) and means that the event is starting after 6pm.

She Should Wear:
A full length gown if possible. Ladies, this is a night for you to look your most gorgeous!  If you don’t own a gown and can’t afford one then it is perfectly acceptable to wear one of your fancier cocktail dresses. However, if you do go this route, just make sure to keep the colors “rich” i.e –darker jewel tones so that you still look very fancy standing next to the women who are in full-length gowns.

On the other hand, women who do wear a floor-length gown have the option of wearing a lighter shade, since the silhouette is inherently dressy.


He Should Wear:
There’s really nothing better than a man in a classic black tie. He should wear a dinner jacket and matching trousers, bow tie, and cummerbund or waistcoast, and black patent-leather or calfskin pumps or laced oxfords.

The invite says “formal” or
“black tie optional”…

Slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required, but the wedding is still formal enough that you could wear one if you wanted to. Also signifies that the Groom will be in a tuxedo.

She Should Wear:
Same as the ‘Black Tie”… black tie optional is really geared more for the men in this case. Sorry ladies.


He Should Wear:
A tuxedo or a formal dark suit and tie. Again, there will be some men who DO wear a tuxedo so you want to look appropriate standing next to them.

The invite says “semiformal”
“cocktail” or “dressy casual”…

A good rule of thumb for semiformal weddings is to wear something you’d comfortable dancing in but wouldn’t wear to a club. This is also the most common wedding attire from what I’ve noticed, and has a much broader range of “acceptable” wear.


She Should Wear:
A cocktail dress. Knee length is perfectly acceptable, no need to be too modest for this one. You could possibly get away with a two-piece set, but keep it classy. Jewelry and accessories can also be a bit more “trendy” then they can be for Black Tie and Black Tie optional.

He Should Wear:
A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day. A tie isn’t actually mandatory here, if you are a very fashionable guy and have other pieces to wear instead of a tie, that’s perfectly acceptable here.

Here’s an outfit I think could go with either of these two dress codes (either semi-formal or the daytime). For an evening wedding I would wear these Steve Madden Heels I’m wearing above, but for a daytime or ‘casual’ wedding I would change into some cute flats or wedges.

Shop this outfit below:


The invite says “casual” “or “daytime”…

Casual typically means that anything goes… but I’d still say to leave the daisy dukes and crop tops at home.

She Should Wear:
A Sundress! You could pair it with wedges, kitten heels, or even flats. Lucky you!

He Should Wear:
Dress pants with a button-down shirt or polo. Not jacket or tie necessary.


Okay so with all this being said, buying wedding attire can get VERY expensive. So, I’ve partnered up with Rent the Runway to give y’all $30 off your first order! I’ve personally used their service and can attest to the quality of their dresses as well as their customer service.
Simply follow this link and $30 will automatically be taken off your total at checkout.
Have any of y’all been to a Black or White Tie Wedding? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below 🙂
love, Abby Darling


  1. I love this because I have learned that not everyone know proper wedding attire. Because it’s currently wedding season this is perfect to look at for guidelines. I also love the dress and shoes you’re wearing in your picture!!

  2. Love this!! I never knew the difference between white and black tie. Sometimes it’s so hard to decide what to wear to a wedding! You wanna look cute, but not cuter than the bride or the brides maids, and you don’t wanna end up matching the decor, I did that once! It was bad. haha!

  3. Really so helpful post, thank you so much for sharing those wedding dress code article. Everybody know that wedding dresses are bloody expensive. I have been spending around £1000 on a dress but in reality the choice at that price point is really very limited. We meet a lot of brides who have started dress shopping with a figure in their heads and have quickly upped it when they’ve realized what they get for their money. There’s a lot of fabric in a wedding dress, and good quality fabric comes at a cost. Do your research. When you see a wedding dress you like the look of in a blog or magazine, ring the shop and find out the price. In this post you are sharing with us few tips for inexpensive and totally stunning custom-made wedding dresses.

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