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WEDDING GUEST DRESSING DECODED

Choosing what to wear to a wedding can be challenging, whether there’s a dress code listed on the invite or not. To make looking for wedding guest outfits easier, we’ve translated what those dress codes actually mean so you can feel inspired to find the perfect wedding guest ensemble.

WHITE TIE

The most formal of dress codes, you’ll want to channel your inner A-lister and look to the red carpet for wedding guest outfit ideas if you see this listed on your invitation.

What to wear: a full-length ball gown. Fabrics with a luxe feel, such as jacquard are ideal, as are dresses with any statement details like oversized ruffles or intricate embroidery. This is the time to get dressed up so don’t be shy to dress up!

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BLACK TIE

Below white tie comes black tie, which usually means that the wedding is an evening event. Slightly more relaxed than white tie, it’s still a formal event so dressing up is encouraged.

What to wear: a long evening gown or a formal cocktail dress. Longer length dresses and midi dresses would work well with this dress code, as would dresses in heavier, luxe fabrics.

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FORMAL OR BLACK TIE OPTIONAL

If one of these is listed on your invite, then the dress code is slightly less formal than black tie (although, if you wanted to wear a long evening gown then it would still be appropriate).

What to wear: A full-length dress, smart separates (top and skirt or trousers) or a cocktail dress. Hemlines are a bit less rigid with this dress code than with white tie, but stick to maxi or midi dresses or skirts if you want to err on the side of caution. You can also add instant glamour with sequins or beading on tops, dresses or cover-ups. If you decide to go for a black tie look, a fascinator could also be added.

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SMART CASUAL OR SEMIFORMAL

For these dress codes, look to the time of day for clues on what to wear. Darker colours, sequin tops or embellished dresses would be ideal as an evening wedding guest outfit, while lighter colours and fabrics like pastel lace dresses would work better for a daytime ceremony.

What to wear: A cocktail dress, nice maxi or midi dress or dressy separates, such as on-trend palazzo pants.

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CASUAL

Although a casual dress code indicates a more laidback wedding - and wedding guest outfits - it doesn’t mean jeans and a t-shirt!

What to wear: A maxi dress, a summer dress (if season-appropriate), or a nice top and skirt or trousers. Lightweight fabrics such as chiffon, satin or tulle are perfect for dressing up without feeling overdressed.

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