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Wedding dress codes are the unspoken rules of what to wear when attending a wedding. They’re almost as important as the wedding date, venue, and guest list because they set the tone for the entire occasion. It’s natural to feel confused about what constitutes appropriate attire for these special events. After all, there are so many different ways to get married – from elopements to vineyard ceremonies – that it’s easy to overlook small details like what to wear. Thankfully, we have you covered with everything you need to know about wedding dress codes so you can dress appropriately for any wedding you attend this year. Read on for comprehensive explanations and examples of all standard wedding dress codes—from cocktail dresses to Sunday best—and advice on when and where each code is most appropriate.
What Is A Wedding Dress Code?
A wedding dress code is a set of unspoken guidelines for what to wear to a wedding based on the type of ceremony (e.g. religious or non-religious, indoor or outdoor, daytime or evening, etc.).The dress code is important because it sets the tone for the entire affair. Wearing the wrong outfit could make you feel uncomfortable, out of place, or uninvited. Knowing the dress code is crucial: it will allow you to select the right outfit, avoid being overdressed or underdressed, and make sure you don’t offend anyone in the process.That said, wedding dress codes aren’t as set in stone as they used to be. They used to be much stricter, but as wedding culture becomes more diverse, they’ve become more open to interpretation. Today there are many nontraditional weddings where the dress code is less strict, but there are also traditional weddings where the dress code is more strict.
Black Tie (TB, TBC, BTM, and BB)
Black tie is perhaps the most strict wedding dress code. It’s traditionally reserved for evening weddings and usually means you have to wear a tuxedo.Black tie dress code is also commonly referred to as “strictly tuxedo” or “formal”. If you’re unsure about the dress code for a wedding, the first thing to do is ask the hosts what the dress code is. If they don’t mention a specific dress code, you can safely assume it’s black tie.Black tie is an evening-only dress code that requires men to wear a tuxedo and women to wear a formal evening gown.Black tie is more popular at private events and is often used at high-end weddings. At these events, you can expect to see people in tuxedos with formal gowns.You can wear black tie to any kind of wedding, indoor or outdoor, religious or non-religious, and in any season.
Morning Dress (MD)
Morning dress is traditionally reserved for daytime weddings that are religious in nature. It’s often expected at Christian or Anglican weddings, but it can be used at any wedding where guests are invited to dress in their Sunday best.You can wear a formal day dress (e.g. a knee-length dress with long sleeves) or a dress suit with a hat, gloves, and a handbag.You can wear a morning dress to any kind of wedding, indoor or outdoor, religious or non-religious, and in any season.
Afternoon Dress (AD and AMD)
Afternoon dress is a formal dress code reserved for daytime weddings that are non-religious. It’s often expected at weddings where the bride’s family is British.If the wedding is in the middle of the day, you can wear a dress suit with a hat, gloves, and a handbag. If the wedding is in the early evening, you can wear a long dress with long sleeves.If the wedding is in the evening, you can wear a formal day dress.You can wear afternoon dress to any kind of wedding, indoor or outdoor, religious or non-religious, and in any season.
Dark Suit/Dark Tuxedo
A dark suit or dark tuxedo is usually reserved for outdoor daytime weddings. It can also be used indoors for religious and non-religious weddings.Depending on the wedding, you can wear a dark suit with a long skirt, a skirt, or a dress.You can wear a dark suit/dark tuxedo to any kind of wedding, indoor or outdoor, religious or non-religious, and in any season.
Light Colored Suit/Light Tuxedo
A light colored suit or light tuxedo is usually reserved for indoor daytime weddings. It can also be used indoors for religious and non-religious weddings.If the wedding is outdoor, you can tone down the brightness of your outfit by wearing darker colors.You can wear a light colored suit/light tuxedo to any kind of wedding, indoor or outdoor, religious or non-religious, and in any season.
Final Words: Knowing your wedding dress code is crucial.
Even though more couples are opting for less traditional wedding dress codes these days, it’s crucial to know the dress code before picking out your outfit. Your choices will depend on the time of day, the season, if it’s an indoor or outdoor wedding, and the type of ceremony (e.g. religious or non-religious). If you’re unsure about the dress code for a wedding, the first thing to do is ask the hosts what the dress code is. If they don’t mention a specific dress code, you can safely assume it’s black tie.