Our Best Tips For Choosing Your Wedding's Dress Code (It's All About The Vibes)

When it comes to planning your wedding, it can feel like every decision has a lot of weight to it. From selecting the kind of cutlery you want to the wedding dress itself, we're sure you want to make all the right choices for the big day. And after you're done selecting your wardrobe for the wedding, you're left to decide what all your guests will be wearing — maybe not down to the color of every bow tie, but you'll definitely be deciding their overall look.


Setting the right dress code to match your wedding's aesthetic can be challenging, so if you're not sure whether to go super formal, extremely casual, or somewhere in that huge area in between, we're here to help you out. From the venue to the season to the vibes you're hoping your celebration will have, take a look at the important factors that can help make your dress code decision a little easier.

Match it to the venue

Your venue plays a huge role when it comes to deciding the dress code — the venue itself may even decide this for you. If you're having your wedding in a ballroom, for instance, your guests should be dressed in formal or semi-formal attire. But even these dress codes can have variations; they could range from white tie to black tie. A white-tie event will have an "Oscars red carpet" vibe to it, and your guests should turn up in full-length gowns and three-piece suits. A black-tie event will have somewhat the same degree of formality, giving off the vibe of a fancy gala event. Formal wear has many different shades to it, so specifying what you're going for on your wedding invitations can help avoid any confusion.


But if your wedding is an outdoor event by the beach, a casual or semi-casual route will likely be a better way to go. Your guests will be dressed in relaxed but fashionable dresses and button-down shirts with khaki or chino pants. Specifying the venue as a beach or any other outdoor place will help your guests decide the colors for their outfits as well. For a beach wedding, they can match the blues and whites, while for a garden venue, they're more likely to go for colorful pastels.

Use your own sense of style

Your wedding day style should all be to your liking — including what your guests will be wearing — so don't be afraid to tap into your own sense of style to decide how you want the fashion in your wedding to look. If you detest long, tight dresses that get in the way of a good time, and if it makes you uncomfortable to see your guests uncomfortable, specify casual and comfortable clothing on your wedding invitation.


And if you want all of your guests to look prim and proper with bow ties and ball gowns, go ahead and ask for it from your guests. It's your wedding, and guests are usually more than happy to comply, provided you're not demanding they splurge on designer digs. Plus, by specifying and directing them on what to wear, you'll save them the trouble of wondering what they should choose.

If you're set on having a specific theme in your pictures, go ahead and add your own fashion quirks to the dress code. You probably won't have many other opportunities to tell people what to wear, so have fun with it and make it your own — politely and within reason, of course.

Take inspiration from the celebration's vibes

Does your wedding have a particular theme? Do you want the whimsical aesthetic of a fairytale or the harsh and bold vibes of a retro night? Or do you have your own idea for the wedding that requires a very specific dress code? Any of these are valid reasons to spell out what to wear, so detail it on the invites.


When it comes to setting a dress code that matches the vibes of your wedding, think of how you want your photos to look. Do you want a kaleidoscope of colors, or would you rather have people stick to specific shades? Don't be afraid to reach out to your photographer for advice — you can ask them which colors would look great on camera and which ones would match your aesthetic.

The vibes of your wedding are also determined by the time of day when it is held, the playlist, the dinner service, and of course, the activities you have planned for your guests. Generally, if it is a daytime wedding, you can't go wrong with simple, casual, and light attire for your guests. If you're celebrating at night, a more formal dress code might be more fitting.


Let the season decide

Summer weddings and winter weddings aren't just different from each other with respect to the general aesthetic and vibe they give off — your dress code should also be on par with the weather on the day of, to the best of your ability. For a winter wedding that has plenty of gray or white tones in the decór and environment, going with a formal dress code would work well. Fancy fur coats and statement pieces can really set the tone of cozy grandeur, while your guests will stay comfortably warm as they're bundled up in their coats and layers of formal attire.


If your wedding is in the spring, a more casual dress code with a pastel color scheme is a classic choice for a reason — your guests can match the beautiful weather and atmosphere. Plus, one look at your wedding photos, and everyone will know you had your dream spring wedding. Besides being more comfortable than heavy layers, a casual dress code for both spring and summer allows your guests to go for prints that can really bring the season alive instead of the plain dresses of formal wear.

Empathize with your guests

Of course, it's your wedding, but try to put yourself in your guests' shoes and think of how you would feel about the dress code, the venue, the time, and a combination of the three. Make the dress code as easy for your guests as possible, but don't make so many compromises that you'll be unhappy with the decision.


Still, if it's going to be a hot summer day and you're having your wedding outdoors, asking your guests to wear three-piece suits and heavy dresses isn't exactly a nice thing to do. Try your best to set a dress code that'll be comfortable and let them enjoy themselves as they celebrate your big day. So if you want your wedding celebrations to turn into a full-on dance party, make sure you're giving your guests a dress code that's flexible and easy on their dance moves.

At the end of the day, try not to stress overmuch about what everyone else is wearing — the memories of your time spent celebrating with loved ones are what's important. If you'd like those memories to be aesthetically coordinated in photos, that's your decision to make! Otherwise, take cues from the environment and your guests' comfort to set your dress code and spend more time planning other aspects of your celebration.