The Ultimate Guide To Wedding Guest Dresses

As stylists we are constantly asked by friends and family “what do I wear to a wedding”? And you are right to be confused….with the mounting pressure to look good, have new outfits for each wedding dress code and be clear on what the dress code even means? It’s hard to keep up!

Our bridal stylists have summed up the top tips for wedding guest outfits and walked you through the top 5 wedding dress codes and how to get them right!

1) Cocktail Wedding Guest Dress Code
2) Smart Causal Wedding Guest Dress Code
3) White Tie Wedding Guest Dress Code
4) Black Tie Wedding Guest Dress Code
5) Morning Suit Wedding Guest Dress Code

Top tip - Rental is a great option for all wedding dress codes for both men and women! You’ll be able to wear a new outfit for a fraction of the cost and little environmental impact. Try places like Hirestreet, Hurr, By Rotation and Rotaro for an amazing selection of wedding guest dresses.
Allegra Sage Green Wedding Guest Dress

Cocktail Wedding Guest Dress

Cocktail attire is a popular dress code choice and for good reason! It's a balance between chic and comfortable and typically more formal than a day wedding but more casual than an evening wedding. It does not mean you should be wearing an Audrey Hepburn black cocktail dress! You don’t need to opt for a floor-length dress, although if you’re more comfortable in a maxi dress make sure it’s got an elegant day time feel and accessorise with jewellery to elevate your look further. Women generally opt for a midi dress or knee-length dress with print or block colours. Men are required to wear a suit and tie (unless otherwise stated). Remember to look polished and fashion forward, don’t be afraid to add in some colour!

Smart Casual Wedding Guest Dress Code 

This dress code is always an elusive one! Very easy to go one way or the other, but we have the perfect recipe for you to get a smart casual wedding dress code just right.  Rule number one consider the time of the wedding, if it’s an evening do then opt for darker colours and block colours, but for a daytime event go for something more colourful and or with a print. It’s always wise for weddings to keep dresses below or at the knee. Not really a dress kinda girl? Why not try a tailored trouser and blouse with statement jewellery! Men should wear a dress shirt and smart chinos or suit trousers, with the option to wear a tie. Ultimately this dress code means the bride and groom what you to be comfortable, but make sure you look like you’ve made some effort!

White Tie Wedding Guest Dress Code 

Prized as the most formal wedding dress code possible. We’re talking dinner with the queen! Women must wear a formal floor-length evening gown. Make sure to get your diamonds out and pair with heels and a clutch and don’t be afraid to add some sparkle to your look. Men must wear a tuxedo - formal white shirt, white vest and bow tie, white gloves (optional) and formal footwear. Just check out Katie Middleton's gala outfits for the go to on White tie dressing.

Black Tie Wedding Guest Dress Code 

This is the second most formal wedding dress code. As this dress code usually comes with an evening event, women should opt for a formal floor-length gown or chic trouser suit. But if the wedding seems a little less formal, you could wear a cocktail dress (now we’re talking Audrey Hepburn!). Remember to accessorise with heels and matching clutch to create a sophisticated look. Men must wear a tuxedo which means a black bow tie, black vest (or cummerbund), and patent leather shoes. For summer weddings, a white dinner jacket and black tuxedo trousers are also acceptable. For men’s tuxedo rental try Rathbones tailors for affordable high quality suits delivered to your door. Plus with our exclusive 15% discount code – PSXRATHBONESTAILORS you’ll make a much needed saving on a suit you’ll likely only get a couple of wears out of!

Morning Suit Wedding Guest Dress Code 

This is the most traditional British wedding dress code out there and commonly seen at royal weddings! Its easier for men to navigate their dress code expectations and should always opt for a tailcoat, waistcoat and striped trousers. Some popular rental retailers for morning suits are Moss bros and Rathbones tailors but if you’re looking to splash out try Oliver Brown and Huntsman. Now what do us girls wear??? Most Morning suit dress codes will expect women to wear a hat (not a fascinator these are a fashion faux pas) think Ascot royal enclosure or Amla Clooney at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Dresses for wedding guests should be modest and cover your shoulders, if not a jacket or blazer must be worn.

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