Decoding dress codes

Apparently when we turn a certain age an alarming amount of wedding invitations come our way. And with them comes the all familiar question: what should I wear? Today I want to explain those dress codes, because in the few weddings I have attended (including my own) I have always seen one clueless guest wearing all the wrong things.

Dress code

Black tie.

This means that the event is fancy. Really fancy. Men get to rent a tux, easy. But for us girls things get a bit more complicated. It’s important to pick a floor length dress that covers up your shoes. So it’s better to pick those first so when you go rent or buy your dress you can try it with them and get the hem altered accordingly. Usually black tie events are at night, so play with sequins, shine, lace, velvet and shiny fabrics.

Photoby Anna on Pixabay

When it comes to shoes and accessories, less is more. If the dress is a showstopper try to pair it with delicate earrings, a thin necklace and maybe a cocktail ring. But if the dress is clean and minimal, a statement accessory like a big necklace or huge earrings can work great. Or why not, try a head piece. On the shoe department you can balance your dress, so the more embellishments on the dress, the less you need on your shoes.


This is a common and easy code. You probably have in your closet a little black dress you can dress up with accessories, but it’s a great opportunity to experiment with new styles. As a general rule, the length of the dress should not be too short, between just above the knees and tea length works. Take your age, time of day and location of the event into consideration. For men a nice suit and tie works wonderfully, and if you’re feeling adventurous consider a bright bow tie. You don’t need to go necessarily with the black suit and white shirt route. This is a great opportunity to try new colour combinations or try mixing patterns.

Photo by Anna on Pixabay

If the event you’re attending is by day try wearing a light material, bright colours and cool prints. If it’s by night, a heavier material, shiny fabrics or dresses with embellishments work great.

The rule of accessories is the same as the one above, balance out a loud dress with minimal accessories and a simple dress with statement ones.

With shoes, since you’re showing your legs you need to consider proportions. If you’re short avoid straps on ankles and closed shoes. Go for open classic pumps or sandals, to give the illusion of longer legs. A dress above knees can help this illusion too. However, if you’re tall, try going for a tea or mid calf length. Is very chic, but you might feel weird. The golden rule here is: Wear whatever you feel beautiful in!

Men can experiment with prints and colours, or try with different accessories. My brother wore a leather and silver bolo tie on my wedding day and he looked amazing while walking me down the aisle. I was so happy he decided to be adventurous. He also wore bright socks, which are always a great alternative to add a pop of colour to an otherwise boring suit. Try with different prints and colours that complement your tie!

Photo by SnapWire on Pixabay

Business casual

This is a more relaxed dress code. A jumpsuit, skirt and blouse, a suit or a simpler dress works great.Think office attire but a little bit more over the top. Again, materials and colours depend on time and venue. For men it’s not absolutely necessary to wear a tie, a nice pair of pants and coat do wonders. However, it’s nice if you dress up your outfit a little bit with a nice scarf or handkerchief.

Photo by Anna on Pixabay

This is an amazing opportunity to go all out and experiment with silhouettes , new trends and accessories that you otherwise wouldn’t wear in your day to day.

Cute flats are allowed, but for me an event creates the opportunity to wear the tallest and most uncomfortable shoes you have.

As a general rule, remember that white is absolutely forbidden if you are a wedding guest, unless the bride and groom specify it’s allowed. If it involves a religious ceremony on a temple, church, or similar, avoid showing too much skin. Bring along a coat or cape to cover yourself during these time of the event. Also remember that different religions have different requirements, so if you’re not 100% sure what is allowed, ask the bride and groom.

Last year I went to a friends wedding and the dress code was “cocktail pool party”. They asked the guests to bring a bathing suit! After the wedding ceremony, which took place in a church, all of us went to their house and had a pool party. So, there’s the most basic rule of all. Listen to what the bride and groom want! If you have any doubts, call them and ask!

Which has been the weirdest dress code you have seen?

Let me know in a comment down below or join the conversation on Facebook & Instagram

Photo by

Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s