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Our Ultimate Guide To Wedding Dress Codes

In the realm of event-related stress, few things rival the anxiety of finding the perfect outfit as a wedding guest. Whether the dress code is explicitly stated or falls into the ambiguous grey area, fear not! We’re here to alleviate your worries and unravel the secrets behind wedding guest dressing, helping you look utterly fabulous (almost stealing the spotlight from the newlyweds themselves).

How do you ask what the dress code is for an event?

First and foremost, carefully examine any invitations or communication from the hosts themselves. Oftentimes, the dress code will be clearly indicated on the initial invitation. However, if no dress code is specified, it’s time to put on your detective hat.

One of the biggest clues lies in the venue and time of the event. If it’s an evening affair held at a formal venue, it’s safe to assume the dress code will fall somewhere between cocktail and black tie. For a daytime or outdoor wedding, anything from cocktail to smart casual could be appropriate.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to the bride and groom directly or seek advice from other attendees. Remember, it’s always better to clarify than to be unsure about the expected attire.

What are the most popular wedding dress codes?

In the ever-evolving landscape of weddings, traditions are making way for a delightful wave of creativity. Gone are days of strict formality, as couples now embrace playful dress codes like creative black tie, urban chic and resort casual. Whilst fun and unique, these innovative dress codes can also bring confusion and anxiety amongst guests. So, for today, let’s dive into the tried-and-true classics to leave no room for wardrobe dilemmas on the big day.

BLACK-TIE DRESS CODE

When it comes to choosing the perfect wedding guest outfit for a black-tie event, there are some essential guidelines to bear in mind. While black-tie is renowned for its elegance and glamour, the traditional floor-length gown is no longer the only option. Hemlines have risen over the years, providing guests with more choices (Phew!).

As a general rule, aim for dresses that fall below the knee. Midi to maxi-style dresses or luxurious separates in fabrics like silks and satins are our top recommendations for black-tie attire. These options exude sophistication while allowing for comfort and movement throughout the celebration.

Don’t be afraid to infuse your ensemble with a touch of personality. Explore your favourite colour palette or add a dash of excitement with sequins and prints. Consider incorporating these elements through accessories like a clutch, jewellery or a stylish shawl.

FORMAL DRESS CODE

Often mistaken for Black Tie, a formal wedding dress code can be seen as its more contemporary counterpart. While the guidelines for this category may be slightly less rigid, it’s crucial to steer clear of anything that veers into the smart-casual territory (but don’t worry, we’ll cover that later). Instead, opt for timeless dress silhouettes that fall to the knee or below, or consider a coordinated set or suit for an effortlessly modern look. When it comes to fabrics, once again, we find ourselves drawn to the luxurious allure of silks and satins, which often earn a nod of approval from the fashion police.

SEMI-FORMAL OR COCKTAIL DRESS CODE

Cocktail wedding guest attire, arguably the most popular dress code, effortlessly blends the elegance of formal wear with the comfort and ease of smart casual.

When it comes to a semi-formal or cocktail dress code, it’s essential to consider the nature of the event, which typically involves hours of standing and mingling. Hence, choosing the right footwear might just be your most important decision. Consider the location of the wedding- whether it’s on grass, concrete, indoors or outdoors – as well as the season.

If you’re concerned about the condition of your feet after a night of dancing at the nuptials, allow us to introduce you to our comfort heels collection. Striking the perfect balance between comfort, support and style, these heels will ensure you can dance the night away without sacrificing comfort.

SMART CASUAL DRESS CODE

While the dress code may include the term “casual,” it’s important to remember that this is still a wedding celebration. So, to strike the right balance and avoid appearing too relaxed, let’s focus on the “smart” aspect, shall we?

To achieve a look that is neither overly formal nor underwhelming casual, we encourage you to consider fabrics and silhouettes that exude effortless elegance. Imagine crisp poplins that lend a polished touch, flowy florals that embody romantic charm, or even linen designed in easy, breezy separates

To create a harmonious look that captures the essence of smart casual and takes your outfit to the next level, consider experimenting with elevated accessories such as a statement necklace, eye-catching earrings or a chic clutch.

What do you wear to an Australian wedding?

When attending a wedding in Australia, it’s important to consider the various dress codes mentioned earlier, but there are additional factors to keep in mind, with the weather being the main one. If you’re attending a summer wedding in Australia or in the countryside, it’s crucial to choose outfits made from breathable, lightweight fabrics that will keep you feeling and looking fresh even in soaring heat and humidity.

Opt for garments crafted from materials such as linen, cotton or breezy rayon. These fabrics allow air circulation and provide comfort throughout the day. Consider wearing dresses with flowy silhouettes or loose-fitting separates. These choices will help you look effortlessly stylish and more importantly cool and comfortable.  

In winter, don't forget your outerwear! Depending on when and where the nuptials are, Australian weddings in winter can get pretty chilly so its important to layer up with jackets and shawls and swap out the heels for some cozy boots. For more style advice for the cooler months check out our guide to winter weddings.

 

Leisa's Top Tips For Styling Silks

Silk is arguably our favourite eventwear fabric here at Blue Bungalow but it can also be a challenging fabric to style especially when it comes in endless prints, colours and shapes. So to help beat all of your silk-related questions we asked Leisa from our fabulous retail store her biggest tips for styling silks.

1. Complement but don't compete! When wearing striking colours or busy prints you want to work to ensure the clothing remains the focus. Think of the outfit like the leading lady and your accessories like the all important background actors, they're there to support but not takeover.

2. Keep the jewellery simple when wearing heavy prints. As tempting as it is to wear all of your finest jewellery to such a special event remember to keep in mind things like the neckline, hairstyle and makeup. You want to choose an earring and/or necklace that works to elevate the overall look and if unsure always go for simple.

3. When in doubt always go for a nude shoe. Not only is it the most classic and fool-proof shade but a nude heel works wonders for elongating the legs and gives a sleeker line to a feminine dress.

We hope you now feel excited and ready to take on the task of wedding guest dressing, but remember if you're even in doubt our friendly team is only a phone call away! For more event-relating styling advice be sure to check out our blogs on what to wear to a country wedding and how to dress for a winter wedding.

Let us know in the comments what your favourite wedding guest outfit is! xx

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