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The Wedding Attire Breakdown: A Guide for Guests

I think we can all agree that not being able to decipher a dress code is a universal experience. But... there's no need to dive into your closet in a frenzy! We've curated a guide for you, so you never have to be puzzled over what to wear to a wedding again.

Whether you are a wedding guest in need of some guidance or a newly engaged couple looking for the best way to articulate your dress code to your guests, we hope this tool offers some insight and helps YOU for all the wedding festivities to come.

A Black-Tie Affair

Looking for an elegant look to have all your guests enjoy? A black-tie affair is just that with a bit of glitz + glam. The best way to dress for a black-tie wedding or event is typically by showing up in a standard black tuxedo for our men and an elegant sleek gown for our ladies. Accessories are important! We love to suggest a black clutch for our gals and a nice complimentary watch for our gentlemen. To finish the look, our ladies can have a slicked back ponytail, have a more elegant up-do, or decide on a natural curl that compliments their everyday style. For the gentlemen, we suggest a fresh cut of facial hair and all.


A White-Tie Affair

We like to call this one, black-tie's fancy cousin - while the two shares many similarities, this dress code screams sophistication + encourages the addition of cocktails, white bowties or gloves to pair with your gown. Accessorized with pearls, sparkles, and extra shimmer. Nothing is too much for a white-tie affair!


Formal/Black Tie Optional

Here we have black-tie's chill cousin - this dress code allows for more flexibility with color and style but still warrants a "dress to impress" attitude. You have the option to include opting for a suit over a tuxedo or for a midi-dress over a floor length gown. We recommend selecting your ensemble color palette based on the overall wedding colors. Add in options that compliment your vision to create an atmosphere that is beautiful all around.


Cocktail Attire

While cocktail attire gives more allowance than black tie, it certainly still has it guidelines. A suit + tie as well as midi length, tea length, or knee length dresses fit this dress code best. Similar to black tie optional we recommend choosing a color palette that compliments the full wedding color palette. Another option is to choose colors that are popular for the season you are getting married. For instance, autumn tones work very well in the fall and pastel tones compliment a spring or summer wedding. Cocktail attire is all about wearing something that makes you feel your best with a pop of color - we suggest adding in refined textiles for a chicer look.


Festive Attire

A festive attire is fun and lighthearted, it follows all the same guidelines as cocktail attire but adds some flair! This is not the time to shy away from styles with ruffles, bows, fringe, feathers, + bright colors. Opting for a cocktail dress or a trendy pantsuit always are a win for a festive attire dress code - the choice is yours!! Think of this as a dress code that allows you to bring in your personality, when you dress good you will feel GOOD. Don't forget the accessories - sunglasses with style can never go wrong for any occasion.


Semi-Formal Attire

No need to rent a tux or break the bank with a new gown for a semi-formal event! This doesn't mean you should drag your jeans or khakis out of the closet but, dress pants with a matching suit jacket or blazer as well as dresses of various lengths are all great options for a semi-formal event! We recommend choosing your color palette based on the time of day the wedding takes place. A light blue midi-dress would suit a daytime wedding perfectly whereas a maroon dress pant + blazer combo would be ideal for an evening wedding. Leave your tie at home, semi-formal is a time to enjoy a glass of champagne and cheers to a fun celebration ahead!


Destination Wedding Attire

This is a fun one! All of the dress codes we've already discussed can be applied to a destination wedding though, instead of dressing according to the time of day or time of year, we recommend dressing according to location. We love that a destination attire allows for exotic floral dresses and linen +cotton suits for our gentleman. Think beachy colors + flowy styles for a tropical wedding or modern colors + sleek styles for a city wedding!!


When in doubt, don't stress out AND reference back to this guide. The goal is to feel confident + comfortable while you participate in the ultimate celebration of love! Comment below your favorite wedding dress code and don't forget to follow along our Instagram account @haleynyalevents for more fun wedding tips + tricks.

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