In more formal days, you didn’t need to specify a dress code. A wedding after 6 P.M. was always black-tie, and a morning wedding called for a morning coat. These days, few people are even aware of the old rules, if you want a casual evening where your guests wear white linen, that’s your choice. Likewise, no one would bat an eye at an 11 A.M. black-tie wedding. But with all these options comes a certain degree of uncertainty, and that’s where the dress code comes in.Black-tie optional; Black-tie Invited; Formal attire. A very common middle ground, this indicates that the bridal party will be in formal dress, and it’s optional for the rest of the guests. For men, dark suits or tuxedos are appropriate; women wear dresses or formal evening pants in colors of their choice.White-tie. Tails for the men and full-length gowns for the women; it’s rare to see this most formal of dress codes at wedding these days.Black-tie. Men wear tuxedos and women wear formal gowns of any lengthCocktail attire. Men wear suits of sports jackets and pants. Women wear dresses or dressy pants.
Strive to make your dress code helpful and clear. One of my pet peeves is the cryptic dress code: resort formal, country club casual, beach-side chic, retro Hawaiian dress, post-modern picnic attire. All designations like these do is leave guests scratching their heads and calling other guests or the hosts for clarification.A line that guests will thank you for is this: “The service will be held on the Beach. Please wear appropriate shoes.”If your ceremony and reception are in the same location, the dress code goes at the bottom right or center of the invitation.If the reception venue is separate, attire is specified on the reception card. It’s not considered proper to tell people what to wear to the ceremony, which is a legal or religious proceeding as opposed to a social occasion.
Best of Wishes,