decode the dress code


This post is more for the wedding guests than the brides and grooms out there! Choosing your outfit for a wedding can be a challenge. Want a little help decoding those dress codes? Read on for the ultimate guide and a few golden rules for dressing for weddings of every code…



Casual or Smart Casual - Most commonly chosen for more laid back weddings like beach weddings or chilled out backyard nuptials. Depending on the location, ladies can go for a sweet sundress, daytime cocktail dress or a dressy top and slacks. Gents might opt for a nice pair of chinos and a light coloured button up shirt (tie is not necessary here). Beach weddings might make allowances for thongs and a smart pair of shorts, however avoid if you’re not sure.

Tizzy - We have only come across this one on old episodes of Kath and Kim. Sparkles and feathered fascinators seem to be key.

Semiformal - Ladies, look for formal cocktail dresses or try a flowy maxi dress with an embellished elegant top. If you can, rock a stunning pair of heels. Lads, we have entered suit territory. 2015 has been the year of the royal blue suit. Rock a slim fit cut with a nice bright pocket square. Suave!

Formal - Let’s get glamorous. The girls can opt for formal cocktail dresses or long formal dresses. Putting your hair up in an understated bun can really up the formality of your outfit. Gents should go for darker coloured suits and a tie (or a classy bowtie, meaning no spinning ones that squirt water).

Black Tie - Generally used for evening weddings as a rule, this is the most formal dress code you’re likely to see. Ladies can look for floor length formal gowns or very formal cocktail dresses. The men need to break out the tuxedos! As the category suggests, a black bow tie is standard here.

White Tie - The most formal of the formal dress codes. Are you going to a wedding held in a palace of some sort (if so, can we be your plus one)? The ladies will don floor length formal gowns paired with jewellery and formally styled hair. Gents, this means tuxedo, white shirt and vest, bow tie, patent black shoes and gloves (yes gloves, because only non-fancy-shmancy men leave fingerprints on their champagne glasses).

And lastly, a few golden rules...

Keep necklines classy - This applies to ladies who love a low cut top AND those men who are always loosening the tie and unbuttoning the tops of their shirts as soon as they get to the reception. Inappropriate chest hair is just as discerning as inappropriate cleavage.

Keep leg-lines elegant - Angelina Jolie and Kendall Jenner rocked the extreme skirt split because they are Angelina Jolie and Kendall Jenner. However we don’t think we need to tell you explicitly that flashing your thigh bones and wearing micro-miniskirts to weddings are a definite no no.

Opt for comfortable - Comfortable doesn’t mean daggy or frumpy just as formal doesn’t mean so tight and tall that you can’t breath or walk. The girls in the I Do in a Day office try to avoid strapless as a rule as it’s not terribly dance floor friendly. We also pack a pair of nice flat shoes in case!