A Dress Code Guide For Your Wedding Party

If your wedding is coming up soon, you likely have a lot of details about the big day on your mind. One of the things you and your fiancé will need to determine is the dress code for the wedding. The type of clothing your wedding party will wear will depend on the colors and styles you prefer and your wedding’s level of formality. Here are some tips to consider when coming up with the perfect fashionable theme for your special day.

White-Tie Weddings

If you want your wedding to be extremely formal, indicate on your invitations that the event will be white-tie. Your wedding party and guests should dress as though they’re going to a gala. Women should wear floor-length evening gowns along with elegant accessories such as slightly ornate necklaces or diamond earrings. Men should wear a tuxedo with tails and white or gray gloves. Women are required to wear heels for white-tie events, and men should wear oxfords or derby shoes. You can incorporate any color combination into a white-tie event, but neutral colors like black, navy blue, white, gray, or beige are ideal.


If you still want a formal wedding but don’t want to have an event that is as formal as white-tie, you can opt for a black-tie wedding. Women should wear long gowns that don’t reveal their ankles. Your wedding party can also wear cocktail dresses that are formal in nature. Elegant pantsuits for women are also acceptable for a black-tie occasion. You can even request that your bridesmaids wear dressy pantsuits in your wedding colors. 

All the men in the wedding party should wear a tuxedo, and guests are encouraged to wear a tuxedo to a black-tie wedding as well. You can accent the groomsmen’s jackets with flowers in your wedding colors, or ask them to wear a tie or bow tie in the appropriate color. If the wedding is in the summer, it is acceptable for men to wear black tuxedo pants with white dinner jackets.

Don’t forget about mom! Help her search through options for mother of the bride dresses to find the best one that matches your wedding theme. 

Formal (Black-tie Optional)

If your wedding is black-tie optional, your guests and wedding party can dress a little less formally. Tuxedos are optional for men; suits in dark neutral colors are acceptable. Women can wear floor-length gowns, dressy pantsuits, or fancy cocktail dresses. If you want your bridal party to look uniform, you can choose one of these options for your bridesmaids to wear.


A cocktail-formal wedding is a popular choice if you’re having your ceremony and reception in the evening. Women can wear knee-length or midi dresses and men should wear a suit and tie. It’s important that everyone looks polished and doesn’t wear anything too ornate or fancy. You can request that all the men in the wedding party wear the same color tie or that women wear the same shoes or style of dress to distinguish the wedding party from the guests.


“Festive” is a fairly new dress code and will give your wedding party more freedom to express themselves through fashion. The bridesmaids can wear cocktail dresses in bright colors and you can encourage playful accessories such as large earrings or brooches. Heels or dressy flats are allowed. Men can wear a suit in a bold color or a natural suit with a patterned tie or a bow tie in a vivid hue.


This dress code is ideal if your wedding is on the beach or outdoors. You don’t have to allow jeans or tank tops (unless you want to), but sundresses for women and khakis with button-down shirts for men are acceptable. Sandals with heels are perfect for the bridesmaids, and you can require that the groomsmen wear suit jackets. To make the wedding look more polished, you can request that the wedding party not wear tennis shoes or t-shirts.

These are just a few suggestions for making sure your wedding party looks their best. You can, of course, add your own personal touch to the attire your friends and family will wear. However, when you know how formal or casual you want your wedding to be, it will be easier to find the perfect fashionable pieces for your loved ones.