Last week my brother called asking for my expert opinion on what to wear to an afternoon, outdoor wedding in Napa. Napa nuptials? How divine and of course I had to help him pick the perfect ensemble. He shared where the ceremony and reception would take place, the time of the wedding, as well as the formality of the actual invitation – all clues to help decipher the dress code. After discussing wardrobe options, I advised that he wear the suit, tie and dress shoes, however confirm with his good friend the groom if this was appropriate. Sure enough, the groom echoed my thoughts and my brother wore his suit and looked oh so dapper.
Selecting an outfit for a wedding is a common conundrum for guests. Most invites these days will have a reception card that includes mention of the dress code (black tie, black tie optional, etc.) however if this isn’t the case, just as I told my brother, look to the invite as a guide. To make it even easier, I’ve broken down the most common wedding dress codes to give you a hint of inspiration as you primp for your next affair, as well as my list of do’s and don’ts. Enjoy!
For the Ladies:
- White tie: Formal evening gown as well as heels and a clutch
- Black tie: Formal evening gown or formal cocktail dress as well as heels and a clutch
- Black tie optional: Formal evening gown or Cocktail dress as well as heels and a clutch
- Semiformal/evening: Cocktail dress as well as heels and a clutch
- Daytime/afternoon: Nice sundress or cocktail dress as well as heels and a clutch
- Beach: Nice sundress or beach-appropriate cocktail dress as well as stylish sandals (wedges or flats if it’s more casual) and a clutch
For the Gents:
- White tie: Tuxedo with tails, white vest, and white bow tie with socks and formal dress shoes
- Black tie: Tuxedo as well as dress socks and formal dress shoes
- Black tie optional: Tuxedo as well as dress socks and formal dress shoes or a dark suit and tie with socks and dress shoes
- Semiformal/evening: Dark Suit and tie with socks and dress shoes
- Daytime/afternoon: Light Suit and tie with socks and dress shoes
- Beach: Summer Suit and tie (sometimes a tie isn’t required) with socks and dress shoes