Feb 10

Dress Codes Decoded

the blog

It’s happened to the best of us: you receive a wedding invitation in the mail, and have no clue what the heck the dress code means! No worries – this post will be your best friend. Below, I’m breaking down what each dress code entails for men and women!


Brides + Grooms: bookmark this post for help wording the attire for your wedding!

Guests: bookmark this post so you’re not running to Nordstrom 3 days before a friend’s Black Tie affair!


White Tie

This is the most formal of dress codes, and not seen as often. Think a State Dinner or the ball in Princess Diaries. Women must wear a formal floor length dress, usually paired with elegant jewelry and a purse or clutch. Men wear a tuxedo with tails, a white vest, gloves, and bow tie. The wholeeee sha-bang. They also wear oxfords or another formal shoe option.


Black Tie

I love a black tie wedding, because women can still dress fancy without being too stuffy. Women can choose if they want a formal floor length gown. Not a long dress kinda lady? Wear a fancy cocktail dress! However, this dress code still means tuxes for all men! Bow ties and a vest or cummerbund are recommended.


Black Tie Optional

Some people say that Black Tie Optional is not a real dress code, but I think it’s the best choice if you want your guests to choose how dressy they’d like to be. Floor length dress? Beautiful! A cute cocktail frock? Love! More of a pantsuit kinda lady? Rock it! The “optional” also allows a lot more flexibility for menswear. Choose a tux, or a formal dark suit to wear. Not a bow tie guy? Ties also work for this dress code!



Ladies: this dress code calls for a cocktail dress, a nice pantsuit, or a skirt with a nice top. A floor length dress would not be appropriate for this type of event! Men should wear a suit- either dark or light with a nice tie.


Of course, there are infinite amount of dress codes. If a wedding is in Cabo, on top of a mountain in Colorado, or on a boat, the attire needed will be more specific! My #1 tip to brides is to elaborate on the dress code requirements on your wedding website. You can put inspiration pics if you’d like, or put a description such as “Black Tie Optional: floor length or cocktail dress, tux or dark suit”.

I hope this post helps you decode the next invitation that comes your way!

xo, gabi