If you are planning or attending a wedding it is easy to get confused about the dress code. The numerous (and ever-expanding) derivations of wedding dress code range from rigid to bafflingly non-specific. Fear not - we’ve dissected some of the most common below to guide you and avoid any troubling faux pas.
A few general rules of thumb, to begin. Always try and respect the code, especially if it’s on the dressier end - this is an important day, so adhere to the vision. Location is often a vital piece of information - cocktail dress with a church ceremony requires a suit and tie; cocktail dress at the beach, not so much. Finally - and this really should be a rule for life - if in doubt, err on the formal side. You’ll look better wearing a tie when most are not than wearing a Hawaiian shirt with everyone else in suits. Let’s get started.
White Tie: This is the most formal dress code. White Tie requires a tail coat worn over a white dress shirt, waistcoat, and bowtie and the shoes are black patent shoes with black laces.
Black Tie: Requires a tuxedo or smoking jacket with dark trousers, a dinner shirt, bow tie and (optional) cummerbund. Opt for black patent shoes or opera pumps. Take these dress codes seriously and avoid cutting corners. Given a lot of Antipodean weddings occur in summer the rules can be slightly bent to incorporate loafers, linen and lightweight mohairs to combat the heat.
Formal: Formal attire means a dark suit in charcoal, grey, or navy. Plain suits are ideal, but some patterns or textures are acceptable. Stick to white or ivory shirts and subtle ties. Choose black or dark brown footwear, preferably lace-ups or loafers.
Cocktail: Primarily for daytime and afternoon weddings, cocktail dress code allows for suits or separates. For summer weddings, consider cream or beige trousers with tan shoes. In colder months, a suit is a safer choice. Wear a block-colour or patterned shirt and opt for a tie unless it's explicitly mentioned otherwise.
Smart: This dress code offers some flexibility, so use your judgement based on the hosts' preferences. Separates, such as a well-paired jacket and trousers, work well. If the event is more informal, you may skip the tie but ensure your shirt is appropriate, such as a button-down.
Casual: For very casual weddings, collared shirts and trousers are still recommended, even on the beach. Pair them with loafers or dress sandals. Linen is an excellent choice for its light and breathable nature, perfect for high summer or beach weddings.
Remember, it's always a good idea to double-check with the hosts or consult the invitation for any specific instructions regarding the dress code. Visit our Weddings page for information on how we can dress you as guest or groom.