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Wedding Dress Codes 101: Everything You Need to Know in 2020

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From colors and décor to flowers and table settings, couples spend a lot of time choosing all of the elements that will create their perfect wedding day. Believe it or not, their guests’ attire also plays a role in making this vision come to life, which is why there is often a dress code listed on the invitations. But figuring out what each specific dress code means can be confusing, so we’ve put together a primer to cover some of the basics.  

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Black Tie

This particular dress code means that the wedding will be a traditionally formal event, almost always held in the evening. With that in mind, guests are expected to dress to impress.

What to Wear to a Black Tie Wedding

Men should be in a tuxedo (and only a tuxedo), complete with ties, vest or cummerbund, and dress shoes, like this Black Notch Lapel Tuxedo or this Black Peak Lapel Tuxedo. Want to really stand out? Show up in a white jacket!

Formal/Black Tie Optional

Couples often choose this dress code because they don’t want male guests to feel obligated to buy or rent a tux—but you are certainly encouraged to show up in one if you want.

What to Wear to a Formal/Black Tie Optional Wedding

Men can either don a tux or a formal dark suit, such as the Black Notch Lapel Suit, the Charcoal Notch Lapel Suit, or the Iron Gray Peak Lapel Suit.

Semi-Formal

This dress code requires guests to be less formal, but still wear something sophisticated.

What to Wear to a Semi-Formal Wedding

A suit and tie works best, and be sure to take the time of day into consideration: An evening wedding requires a dark suit, while a daytime wedding will allow you to choose something in a lighter color, such as the Cement Gray Notch Lapel Suit.

Cocktail

Cock­tail attire can vary in for­mal­i­ty and occa­sion, but it gives guests more freedom in deciding what to wear on the wedding day.

What to Wear to a Cocktail Attire Wedding

Unless the bride and groom spec­i­fy casu­al cock­tail attire, you should plan on wear­ing a suit with a tie. But you can step away from the usual black or gray and go for some color, like this Postman Blue Notch Lapel Suit or Indigo Blue Notch Lapel Suit.

Festive

This is a dress code that can really confuse guests because it can be interpreted in so many different ways. But it is safe to assume that the bride and groom is giving guests permission to have some fun with their wardrobe.

What to Wear to a Festive Wedding

Add some color and pattern to your suit with a cool tie, pocket square and socks.

Casual

While casual might be associated with jeans and sneakers, this is a wedding, so unless the bride and groom specifically ask for people to come in their comfiest clothes, you still want to look your best. This dress code works best with an outdoor event, such as a backyard bash or beach vows.

What to Wear to a Casual Wedding

Dress pants with a button-down shirt could work well here, but you can also go with a suit sans tie. Our British Tan Notch Lapel Suit is a great option for beach and casual weddings.

And remember, if you’re not sure what is expected, don’t hesitate to ask the bride or groom, or someone in the wedding party, for some guidance. Once you have it figured out, take a look through our many tux, suit, and accessory options.

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