Photo Courtesy of The Londoner

Unless you frequent weddings often, most guests can relate over the ambiguous dress codes requested of guests on a formal wedding invitation. It can be especially difficult when the deceiving phrase “black tie optional” is included – how does one don a gown without being too under-dressed, too overdressed, and not upstaging the bride? Here’s the only cheat sheet you’ll ever need for any wedding dress code.


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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

For an unspecified dress code, use your best judgement. Base your outfit around the venue and the mood of the evening. Is the wedding taking place in a chapel? Wear a lovely sundress that can be dressed up or down. Is the bride walking down a makeshift aisle outdoors? Opt for undulating materials such as a silk maxi dress or crisp linen pants.

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Refrain from wearing black or sequins if the wedding is during the day – instead to save those outfits for more formal evening occasions. Always bring a small clutch or crossbody bag, only for the essentials.


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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

A themed dress code should be left to the discretion of the couple. This theme was chosen for a reason and is obviously important enough to be celebrated on the couple’s special day, so respect their choice!

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Big in the roaring 20’s? Find a lovely beaded dress that could resemble a vintage flapper dress. Is the wedding venue meant to resemble an enchanted forest? Wear a exotic floral midi to match the enchanting evening.


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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

If you are confronted with a casual dress code, that never ever means jeans. Nice pants, casual dresses, and skirts are acceptable. Always, however, er on the side of being overdressed.

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Any casual dress or jumpsuit can always be accentuated with a statement piece of jewelry and a killer pair of stilettos.


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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

This is the most common dress code you will encounter. Wear any cocktail dress (this is where that little black dress really comes in handy), a chic jumpsuit, or dressy separates.

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Opt for lighter colors (never white) and lighter fabrics in warmer months and heavier, more structured pieces in cooler seasons. Pair with heels and tuck small ballet flats in your clutch for the dance floor later!

Formal or Black Tie Optional

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

While this may be the most perceived confusing dress code, it is actually the most versatile. Formal, or black tie optional, suggests that you may wear either a short, dressier cocktail dress, long evening gown, or elegant suit, separates, or jumpsuit.

Black Tie

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Black tie implies that men will be wearing tuxedos, meaning women should wear a formal floor length gown. Those who dress more with the trends may wear a formal suit or paired separates. Formal jumpsuits are acceptable, but be wary of the piece’s fabric and cut, searching for pieces with classic lines and materials.

White Tie

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

If you are to attend a white tie event, expect it to be extravagantly lavish – meaning you need to dress the part. Imagine ‘Presidential Ball in the White House’ attire. Women should wear a floor length evening gown – this is not the time to stick with the trends. Heels should be worn at a height that is comfortable for walking and dancing in beautiful materials such as satin or patent leather.

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Photo Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Ditch the costume jewelry for real gold, silver, and jewels. White tie dress code is reserved for incredible special events, so this is truly your time to hold nothing back!

Our purpose at Weddings in Athens is to show the outstanding selection of Athens, Georgia wedding vendors such as wedding photographers, videographers, florists, wedding planners and venues. We hope that our information will be helpful to you as your plan your Athens, Georgia wedding.  Please contact Weddings in Athens if you would like to have your listing added. Please follow us on Facebook at

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