With spring just around the corner, wedding invitations started to flood inboxes. But while RSVPing to all the upcoming nuptials may be as easy as clicking a button, deciding what to wear isn’t always so simple.
That’s because you’ll likely encounter a range of dress codes, with some being less obvious to decipher. For example, you’re probably familiar with black tie and semiformal attire, but what about a “festive” or “black tie optional” event? Of course, you’ll want to look cool and stylish, but you also don’t want to detract from the couple by not dressing appropriately for the occasion. To help break it down, we’ve rounded up a range of fool-proof looks for every type of wedding on your calendar. And to make things even more clear-cut, we’ve provided some must-know tips no matter the dress code.
- Never wear white to a wedding, unless you’re in the bridal party or have specifically been asked to do so in the invite. It’s the bride’s big day; let her be the one to shine in an all-white number.
- You can wear black to a wedding. Although it was once considered taboo, it’s now appropriate to wear the dark hue to an evening event, especially one requiring cocktail attire.
- It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If the invite says “black tie optional” or “semiformal,” err on the side of polished rather than casual. You can’t go wrong with a long dress or pantsuit — the latter being ideal if you’re looking for something a bit edgier.
1. Black-Tie: Sequined Gown + Bejeweled Sandals
Black tie is one of the most formal types of events and typically takes place during the evening. In this case, high glam, upscale looks are key. While some events will allow for shorter dresses, floor-length gowns — paired with bejeweled sandals — are always a safe bet.
Watch on FN
2. Black Tie Optional: Tiered Maxi Skirt + V-Neck Blouse + Metallic Sandals
This type of event offers a little more flexibility in formal wear. A tiered maxi skirt is an unexpected choice and gives off romantic, flamenco dancer-like vibes when paired with a draped blouse. Amp up the look with crystal-drop earrings and metallic sandals for a dressier touch.
3. Casual: Dark Floral Maxi + White Booties
Dark florals are a great way to embrace the lovely spring weather, without being too literal for the season. For more casual ceremonies, try the print in a long-sleeved maxi dress, which will also provide extra warmth if the event is outdoors. Meanwhile, white booties will create a nice contrast below the ankle. If you’ll be on grass, we recommend opting for a block heel style to avoid sinking into the ground with every step.
4. SemiFormal: Lace Dress + Floral Pumps
For dress codes that fall somewhere between casual and black tie, an all-over lace dress is a great pick. It’s polished yet not overly formal, and looks especially sophisticated when paired with floral print pumps.
5. Cocktail: Velvet Midi Dress + Black Slides
Keep it classic for cocktail hour with a black velvet midi dress, while playing around with accessories to mix things up a bit. Bejeweled drop earrings add eye-catching sparkle to the look, while strappy black mules offer an effortlessly cool effect.
6. Dressy Casual: Satin Pantsuit + Slides
While you’ll want to skip the jeans in this case, it’s a great opportunity to rock a standout pantsuit. Depending on the mood of the event, you can add a colorful blouse underneath for slightly more coverage or showcase the plunging neckline in all its glory. Slides will help balance out the sexiness of the look if you decide to go sans-blouse, and in either case, will keep you comfortable throughout the night.
7. Festive: Yellow Jumpsuit + White Strappy Sandals
This type of wedding typically allows you the most leeway with your look, meaning bold colors are fair game. Try a sunny yellow jumpsuit and white strappy heels for a vibrant head-to-toe-look.
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, FN may earn a commission.
8 Fierce Heels That Look Like Balenciaga’s Popular Sock Boots — Starting at Just $37
10 Stunning Gold Shoes Perfect for Prom — and Anywhere Else
What Does the Black-Tie Dress Code Really Mean?