We all know the feeling – you finally receive the anticipated wedding invitation in the mail and after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the gorgeous details, your eyes scan the bottom of the page to glance at the requested attire or worse, no stipulation at all.

The vague terms of “dressy casual,” “daytime” or “black tie optional” confuse us all. Knowing full well you don’t want to be the most underdressed person there, but you also don’t want to stick out like you’re trying too hard, the panic sets in.

Guest attire plays into the big picture that a bride has intentionally chosen for her wedding day. You may not think it matters what you show up wearing, but it’s the little details that will add to the ambiance of her perfect day.

Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered! Here is a guide to wedding dress etiquette and some of our picks for each.

If the invitation says…

White Tie

The most formal of dress codes – you can’t overdo this one! A floor-length evening gown will ensure you fit the part. Pair with heels, maybe a classic up-do and statement jewelry.  A long black tux with tails is perfect for your gent with a white pique vest, white bow tie and polished black shoes.

From left to right: Flutter Sleeve Crepe Trumpet Gown, Jasper Ruffle Popover Gown, Kyra Chiffon Halter GownRuffle Neck Chiffon Gown


Black Tie

Although a long gown is still appropriate for this occasion, you have the option to wear a shorter cocktail dress instead! Still dress up your look with heels and accessories.  Your date should still sport a black tux but a black bow tie, cummerbund and polished black shoes are perfect for this occasion.

From left to right: Bow Twisted Textured Midi Dress, Popover Midi Body-Con Dress , Evelyn Sea Holly Jacquard Halter Dress, Sleeveless Lace Drop Waist High/Low Dress


Formal (aka Black Tie Optional)

This occasion calls for a chic cocktail dress, dressy separates or even a formal jumpsuit. Throw on some fun shoes that show off your style.  A tux or formal dark suit is appropriate for the gents.

From left to right: A-Line Dress, Isla Lace Halter Dress, Soutache Dress, Off the Shoulder Tie Waist Jumpsuit


Semiformal (aka Cocktail)

A chic cocktail dress or skirt and dressy top combo are perfect for this style of event.  A suit and tie are perfect for your “plus one.”  We typically lean towards lighter tones in the spring/summer and darker palettes in the fall/winter.

From left to right: Lace Midi DressSoufflé Ruffle Chiffon Shift Dress, Catlett Cotton Dress, Button Back Ponte Dress


This attire has the most flexibility and allows you to wear anything from a sundress, appropriate romper or fun separates paired with more casual shoes like sandals or flats. The fabric of your dress should not be overly fancy – think light and airy (especially in the summer heat!).  Dress pants and a button down or polo are perfect for your date.

From left to right: Stripe Cotton Sundress, Wrap Romper, Marlena Floral Jersey Dress, V-Back Tank Dress


Always remember to keep in mind the venue when choosing your outfit, especially when it comes to wearing heels or wedges.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out popular online retailers such as Nordstrom, Dillards and Bloomingdales or one of our favorite local boutiques, Painted Pink.