Invitation Etiquette: Dress Code De-coded

Photo by Max & Friends

Photo by Max & Friends

Want to make sure you don't have that one embarrassed cousin in tails among a sea of cocktail attire? Simply stating your dress code on your wedding invitation is an easy solution. But what do the different "codes" truly mean?  We have them laid out here for you with their proper labels for you to include on your invitation.

"BEACH FORMAL" 

This implies a formal/elegant beach wedding. What this should mean to your guests is that you still want elegance but understand that heels are not practical in the sand (hint: wear sandals). For the men, this means a summer suit with a linen shirt (no tie- necessary) and linen pants/khakis. For the women, a formal summer sun dress is a no brainer.

"SEMIFORMAL/ DRESSY CASUAL"

This can vary based on the time/season of the event.  This dress code refers to more suits and ties (dark or light) for the fellas, and a cocktail dress or dressy skirt & top for the girls. 

"CASUAL"

This means pretty much anything goes. Except maybe jeans, shorts or tank tops. You can expect your guests to show up in dress pants and button-downs or polos for the guys and a summer sundress, skirt or pants and a nice blouse for the girls. 

"WHITE TIE" 

Basically what you would think to wear to a dinner with the President. Think tuxedos, tails, vests, bow ties and black shoes for men. And a formal full length sophisticated gown, glamourous makeup and jewelry for women.

"BLACK TIE"

You want your guests to show up dressed to the nines. This is the next most formal dress code and typically means tuxedos, bow ties for the guys, and a chic yet appropriate cocktail dress or a long evening gown for the women.

"FORMAL ATTIRE/ BLACK TIE OPTIONAL"

Just a bit less formal than Black Tie, meaning a tuxedo isn't necessary, but still welcome just as much as a dark formal suit. For women - long  formal cocktail dresses or dressy suits would be appropriate.