The Do’s & Dont’s of Wedding Guest Attire

If you’re worried about what to wear to an upcoming wedding, don’t fret. We’ve done the research for you. No matter what the dress code, location or theme is, we’ve marked down all the do’s and don’ts of wedding guest attire!

First, you’ll see what to wear for each type of guest attire that the bride and groom may request. If you scroll past these you’ll find a list of Do’s and Dont’s!

White tie

This is the most formal of all dress codes, women wear floor-length formal gowns (sometimes with gloves) and hair is usually worn in an up-do.
For men, the full penguin suit: tailcoat, stiff white wing-collar shirt with studs, white bow tie (black optional), white pique waistcoat, dress pants and patent shoes.

Black tie 

Women generally should wear a floor-length formal gown, but exceptions can be made – this year pantsuits were almost as common as gowns. Just remember, keep the colours rich if you decide to wear a dress that’s not entirely formal – black, navy, brown. (Helps you look less casual.)
For men, a suit and bow tie or regular tie – head towards a tuxedo look for best results.

If the invite says ‘black tie optional,’ this is generally to give men the option of wearing a tuxedo. For women, it means the option of a gown or another type of dress is there. The best thing to remember is to ensure your chosen look is formal enough for a room full of men in suits and women who may have decided to wear a fancy gown. – you don’t want to look out of place!

Photograph taken by Linda Pasfield.

Lounge suit

Though the term ‘lounge suit’ is rarely ever heard of, it’s still written elegantly on invites with the assumption you know exactly what it means. Never fear: For women, generally a formal gown (a less casual pant-suit is optional.) This time there’s more freedom with the length. You can opt for below the knee as it doesn’t have to be floor length. Men, on the other hand, should wear a suit and tie; however, they have more freedom with their shirt and tie.

Photograph taken by Sarah Eliza.


For women, anything above-the-knee is appropriate – just don’t wear anything too revealing. Try to keep your hemlines and necklines practical. Men can wear a suit (tie is optional) or a nice shirt and suit pants.

Smart casual

For women, heels or flats are appropriate for a smart casual look. As for clothing, jeans (when worn with something chic like a blazer) are suitable. Pantsuits and casual dresses are also okay. Remember there is such a thing as overdressing, so avoid full-length gowns and too much glamour. Men can wear denim, chinos or suit pants with a shirt (long or short sleeved). – tie is optional.

Photograph taken by Ed Jones.


1. Don’t Wear White

Most people would be fine with guests wearing any other colour (including black), but you don’t want to run the risk of accidentally diverting the attention from the bride.

2. Do Wear Black

The times have changed when it comes to wedding etiquette and most couples wouldn’t bat an eyelid – or think it was rude – if their guests chose to wear black to their nuptials, whether they fall in summer or winter. However, there are still a few things worth considering. Make sure the dress isn’t too short, and try to accessorise with a bit of colour, otherwise your ‘all-black’ outfit may be mistaken for funeral attire.

3. Do Explore Colourful Options

No one wants to mistake a wedding guest for someone attending a funeral! Bright colours look great in wedding photos and it looks like you’ve gone to an added effort with your outfit for the day.

4. Don’t Wear Anything Too Short

Modern as the bride and groom may be, a wedding is still a wedding and it helps to stay on the safe side. You’re there to celebrate a special occasion, not your legs! If you’d prefer something a little different, a jumpsuit or a pantsuit are other options.

5. Do Colour Coordinate 

You are allowed to have a little fun with your plus one! Match your outfits. It’ll make for an easy conversation starter and look great in photographs, too.

6. Don’t Show Too Much Skin

Remember that people’s family members will most likely be at the wedding and regardless of whether you want something that you can party in at the reception, it always pays to stay on the practical side, regarding both dress lengths and styles.

7. Do Follow The Dress Code

It’s your loved ones most special day and what they say goes! Even if it means heading out to buy a crazy headpiece or a wand (for any Harry Potter themed weddings). If it helps, remember that all women were required to wear a headpiece to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. If they did it, so can you!

If you’d like to browse our wedding suppliers for bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses or suits and tuxedos feel free to click the links!


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