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Should you have a dress code at your wedding?

1st May 2024 by Jack Baldwin

Many couples wonder whether to have a dress code at their wedding or leave their guests to turn up in the outfit that they wish. Some couples have a clear vision of what they want their wedding to be and this can filter right through to having a specific dress code for guests, for instance a 1920s theme. Is there a right or wrong answer to whether or not there should be a dress code at weddings?

Why you should have a dress code at your wedding.

By having a dress code at your wedding there is no confusion over what guests should or shouldn't wear. Your wedding day should be special and memorable for you and if there is a certain aesthetic you're going for, a certain style for how you want things, then you shouldn't be afraid to ask for that.

With a wedding dress code in place, you can hopefully avoid any mishaps or faux pas's, such as a guest wearing white! Even though it is an unwritten rule that no guest should wear white to a wedding, or anything with too much ivory or cream, unfortunately it does still happen.

Recent videos making the rounds on social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram show recent weddings where guests have shown up in full length white gowns, a big no no in most people's book. A good option could be to ask guests to wear pastel colours for your summer wedding, or potentially explicitly say no to certain colours.

One thing is certain, be clear with what you want. Dress codes such as 'Black-tie optional' and 'semi formal wedding attire' can be tricky for guests to decipher. Whether you plan to impose a dress code or not, be explicitly clear with what you are expecting from your guests.

What types of dress code can you have for a wedding?

When it comes to your big day, it is up to you to choose. There are many things to consider such as what time of day your wedding is taking place are you having a beach wedding or destination wedding, would you like guests to turn up in white tie attire, ball gowns, or a black-tie wedding. These are all options for you and your special day but below are some common wedding dress codes and what they mean.

Black Tie

Typically, the most common dress code at weddings, this requires women to wear floor length gowns or elegant pant suits, with men sporting tuxedos. Wearing black tie attire to a wedding keeps a very sophisticated and elegant feel to proceedings.

White Tie

A step up from black-tie, this is the most formal wedding attire possible. White tie is very strict in that women must wear floor length formal gowns with heels, jewellery, and an elegant clutch. Men must wear a tuxedo with tails, white shirt, bow tie, and formal shoes.


Some people ask what is a cocktail dress code for a wedding? Well, this is a lovely balance between elegant and comfortable. Knee length or midi dresses are great for this dress code and a suit and tie for men is perfect.


With this dress code, you need to pay attention to the time of day that the wedding is taking place. For daytime weddings light colours often work better, whilst darker, more formal colours are preferred for evening dos. Button down shirts are acceptable for men with the option of a tie and dressy skirts, slip dresses, pantsuits, all work for women.

How should you inform guests of the dress code?

You can include the dress code on wedding invitations, physical or digital, or if you are using a wedding website then you list it here. This way guests have plenty of time to plan their wedding dress outfit in advance whilst making sure they stay in line with the wedding ceremony dress code.

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*This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording here for the latest policy terms, conditions and exclusions.