How to Be the Best Wedding Guest: What to Wear

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As a wedding guest, finding the perfect outfit can be stressful!  It can be difficult to look appropriate for the event while also expressing your own individuality.  White tie, black tie, semi-formal, and casual: how to keep it all straight?  Check out this easy guide and you are sure to be a hit at the next Chicago wedding. 

  • White Tie:  This is the most formal event option, so don’t hesitate to dress to the nines at your next white tie wedding!  Men are expected to wear a tailcoat, a formal white shirt, white vest and tie, white or grey gloves, and black opera pumps.  Women should wear a formal floor length evening gown. Don’t worry, White Tie events are very rare!


  • Black Tie:  Black tie dress code is the most common choice for formal weddings and events.  Men should wear a black tuxedo or evening jacket with a black tie, black vest or cummerbund, and suspenders. Women have the option of wearing a formal floor length dress or a fancy short cocktail dress.


  • Black Tie Optional:  The black tie optional dress code gives guests a bit more flexibility.  Men have the option of wearing black tie, or they can wear a dark suit with a white shirt and nice tie.  Women can wear a formal floor length dress, a cocktail dress, or even dressy separates.  


  • Semi-Formal:  Semi-Formal is a popular choice and should be your go-to if a dress code has not been specified on the invitation.  Men wear a dark suite with a white shirt and nice tie, while women should dress in a cocktail dress or a dressy separates.    


  • Casual:  A great choice for outdoor weddings, casual attire is very common in the summer.  Men should wear a button down shirt with a tie and khakis; on some occasions, shorts are even appropriate.  Women please wear a nice sundress. 


In addition to these simple rules, women should always remember that the only one dressed in white should be the bride.  Also, especially for summer weddings, be prepared for all sorts of weather.  If you are attending an outdoor wedding on a hot day, bring a nice looking fan or a bottle of water and leave it in your purse.  On cooler summer nights, a sweater or light jacket will be a good addition to any look.  With these guidelines in mind you can’t go wrong in choosing the perfect outfit for your next big event!