9 Dress Code Rules According to a Wedding Planner

We all know how difficult it can be to make up your mind about what to wear to a wedding reception. The thing gets even more complicated if the dress code is vague, so you find yourself wondering what the most appropriate and, at the same time, most comfortable solution might be. To help you out when in this dilemma, a wedding planner Amy Shey Jacobs offers nine tips for dressing for a wedding. So, keep these in mind, and you’re good to go.

The location of the wedding is crucial for the dress code

First of all, you should pick your clothes depending on whether the reception is held in a backyard or someplace fancy. Here’s what Amy told INSIDER, “Is it a seaside affair? A barn? Or a historic ballroom? Generally, the location of the wedding will give you a cue for attire. You wouldn’t wear a beachy maxi dress to The Plaza Hotel, but you wouldn’t necessarily wear a satin ballgown on the beach.”

If you’re invited to a farm wedding, Jacobs suggests you “skip the denim and diamonds and opt for your hippest look.” For women, it might be a good idea to wear “a maxi dress or a short-patterned dress with wedges,” while men can go for “a jacket or gray suit with a checked shirt.”

Don’t be too casual

Even if the dress code says casual, that doesn’t mean that you should even consider denim, rubber flip-flops, sweatpants, or shorts. “If it’s something you’d question when you’re in the dressing room, it’s best to put it back on the rack. Unless it’s requested, we’d say it’s still appropriate to leave the jeans at home.”

9 Dress Code Rules According to a Wedding Planner
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What is acceptable in this case is for women to wear “a romper or fitted jumpsuit with sandals,” and for men to “opt for a linen blazer, a crisp white or checked dress shirt, slacks, and loafers.”

Never ever wear white

Unless you’re asked to, do not wear white to a wedding – you don’t want to outshine the bride, do you?

However, if they do require that everyone wears white, then “this is the ultimate white party invite,” Jacobs said, adding that you can go “super glam and super formal” for the occasion.

Come to the wedding fully dressed

This might seem obvious, but Jacobs still thinks it’s worth mentioning that you should arrive at the wedding fully dressed, which means, having your heels on, too. If there’s a possibility for you to change into your dancing shoes or anything else, later on, store these in your purse.

Don’t forget that there’s a difference between “black-tie required,” “black-tie optional,” and “white-tie” dress codes

Even though the difference between these three might seem minor, it’s still quite important, so here’s how Amy explains it.

“Generally, when a couple calls for a black-tie optional, they want you to dress more formally, but they don’t want to put you out if you don’t own or can’t rent a tux. Traditionally, black-tie events take place in the evening,” Jacobs said, concluding that you should think formal, upscale, long, and luxe.”

Furthermore, Jacobs adds that “When an invitation calls for white-tie, it means a tuxedo jacket with tails, a white pique vest, a white bow tie and gloves for the guys. For the ladies, call your stylist! Time for a formal, Oscar-worthy ballgown.”

For semiformal weddings, choose a bright or dark color, depending on the time of day

You should choose your attire depending on when exactly the wedding will be held. Take it from a professional wedding planner – “Time of the day will dictate the best approach for a semiformal wedding wardrobe. For the evening, opt for a darker suit and a cocktail dress in a dark hue and interesting textures.”

Even if the wedding is held on the beach, you shouldn’t wear as if on vacation

A ceremony held right by the ocean can require a more formal dress code than you might think at first. “Dress your best — but dress for sand” is the advice Jacobs gives for such an occasion, meaning you should also keep in mind that it might get cold and that you’ll need a dressy shawl to stay warm.

9 Dress Code Rules According to a Wedding Planner
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For festive weddings, your outfit should match the theme

Festive weddings mean you’ll spend most of the time on the dance floor. So, you should go for something comfy, but also embrace the party spirit. According to Amy, women can wear “a colorful, patterned dress accessorized with a statement necklace, bold earrings, and “killer” heels,” and for men, the best option might be “a tuxedo jacket in an unusual color or fabric, like navy or velvet.”

If the dress code is not clear, go for traditional

You might get an invitation which gives only vague dress code but don’t let that confuse you. “When it comes to what to wear to a wedding, couples are bucking tradition by getting more creative with the attire requests. However, the traditional dress codes still apply,” Jacobs concludes.

We’re sure these tips will come in handy the next time you’re in doubt what to wear to a wedding. Just stick to these, and you can’t go wrong.

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