Dressing Your Guests: Attire Hints For Your Invites

Hello Friends!!

Spring is almost in the air and couples getting married this wedding season are starting to nail down wording for their invitations. Around this time, questions regarding how to appropriately share with your guests the attire guidelines for your celebration (i.e., how fancy, casual or creative you want them to dress) often arise. The problem is that there are so many dress code terms out there, and the bulk of them sound so similar, that knowing which one to use can feel ambiguous. Here at Marisa Nicole, we want to make the process a little easier for you today with a quick overview of how the various attire etiquette terms translate. We have found it important to use at least some portion of phrases that your guests can actually google upon receiving your announcement. However, this does not mean you have to be boring! Feel free to make it your own by embellishing on a well established guideline. For example, you could give “Garden Party Cocktail Attire” a try or “Rustic Black Tie Creative” to give your guests both a verbal visual of  the look and feel of your party, while still giving them something concrete they can look up online. To make the whole thing less complicated, below are both visuals and descriptions of the mostly widely used terms:

White Tie 

boy and girl resize for blog-4White tie is as formal as it gets. Everyone is dressed to the nines. Women should be wearing floor length ball gowns and sometimes even gloves. Men on the other hand are expected to wear tailcoats, a white vest, a white shirt, and should finish the look off with a white bow tie.

Black Tie 

boy and girl resize for blogBlack tie is a  touch less formal and allows for a bit more fashion freedom than white tie. Ladies should still wear a floor length dress however, it doesn’t have to be as structured as in white tie. Men are expected to wear a tuxedo. Your guests will still look smashing but will be allowed to breathe.

Black Tie Optional/Suggested/Creative

boy and girl resize for blog-2Black tie optional/suggested/creative gives your guests the option of being fancy with the ability to dress to impress. There is still an essence of elegance  your guests will bring forth with their wardrobe. Women can wear either floor length dresses or formal dresses with a hemline just above the knee. Men typically ditch the tuxedos, and grab their suits when given this option.


resize for blog-2This is the attire that many outdoor, California style weddings are leaning towards these days. It gives your guests the opportunity to have complete freedom while also looking put together and classy. Ladies typically wear an above the knee dress that is still made from fancy fabric, but just has a shorter/less formal cut. Men can get away with dress pants, a button up shirt, and a jacket with or without a tie.


resize for blogCasual is as chill as appropriate wedding attire gets. Even though it is simple, your guests will still look put together. Women usually wear a dress that is comfortable and pretty, such as sundresses or maxi dresses. Men can wear khakis or dress pants and a simple button up shirt.

We hope these examples have helped you with your wedding day style. Remember that the best way to make it your own is to string together words that are both fun and searchable!


  1. This is super helpful, and great descriptions!

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