Casual weddings are becoming increasingly popular among couples who want a more relaxed and informal celebration. While traditional weddings usually require guests to dress in formal attire, such as suits and dresses, casual weddings allow guests to dress in more comfortable and casual clothing. However, knowing what to wear to a casual wedding can be a bit tricky, as there are no set rules or guidelines.
This blog post will cover everything you need to know about casual wedding attire, including what to wear, what to avoid and some tips to help you look your best.
What is Casual Wedding Attire?
Casual wedding attire is a dress code that is more relaxed and informal than traditional wedding attire. It can vary depending on the location, time of day and wedding theme.
For example, a beach wedding may call for more casual attire than a backyard wedding. In general, casual wedding attire allows guests to be comfortable while still looking stylish and put-together.
What Kind of Wedding is Casual Wedding Attire Appropriate for?
Casual wedding attire is appropriate for weddings that are more relaxed and informal. Here are a few situations where casual wedding attire may be appropriate:
Outdoor weddings, such as those at a beach, park or backyard, often have a more relaxed and casual atmosphere. Casual attire, such as sundresses or button-down shirts and khakis, may be more fitting for these types of weddings.
Daytime weddings, especially those in the afternoon, may also call for more casual attire. Light colors and fabrics, such as cotton or linen, can be appropriate for daytime weddings.
Destination weddings often take place in tropical or beach locations and have a more relaxed and casual vibe.
For couples who are already married and having a second wedding ceremony, more casual attire might be more appropriate.
Weddings with a specific theme, such as a rustic or bohemian theme, may call for more casual attire that fits with the theme.
What to Wear:
When it comes to what to wear to a casual wedding, the key is to strike a balance between comfort and style. Here are a few options for both men and women:
- A button-down shirt and khakis or chinos
- A polo shirt and shorts (if the wedding is taking place in the summer)
- A button-down shirt and dress pants
- A collared shirt
- A blazer
- A sundress or maxi dress
- A blouse and skirt or pants
- A jumpsuit or romper
- A light sweater or cardigan
When choosing an outfit, it’s important to consider the location and theme of the wedding. For example, if the wedding is taking place on the beach, it may be more appropriate to wear a sundress or shorts, while a backyard wedding may call for a more formal outfit.
What to Avoid:
While casual wedding attire is more relaxed than traditional wedding attire, it’s still important to avoid certain items. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Jeans or denim of any kind
- T-shirts or tank tops
- Shorts (unless the wedding is taking place in the summer or at a beach)
- Flip-flops or sandals (unless the wedding is taking place on the beach)
It’s also important to avoid anything too revealing or inappropriate. Remember, you want to look stylish and put-together, not like you’re going to a party or the beach.
Accessories for a Casual Wedding Dress Code
Accessories can be a great way to add personality to your outfit and make it look more put-together. Here are a few ideas for both men and women:
Casual Wedding Attire for Men:
- A nice watch
- A belt
- A pocket square
Casual Wedding Attire for Women:
- A statement necklace or earrings
- A clutch or small bag
- A scarf or shawl
Accessories to Avoid at a Casual Wedding
Certain accessories may be considered too formal or inappropriate for the occasion. Here are some accessories to avoid at a casual wedding:
Large statement jewelry: While statement jewelry can add a pop of color and personality to an outfit, large and flashy pieces may be too formal for a casual wedding. Opt for smaller and more subtle pieces instead.
High heels: While high heels may be appropriate for a formal wedding, they may not be practical or comfortable for a casual outdoor wedding. Consider wearing wedges or flats instead.
Fascinators: Fascinators are often associated with formal events such as the Royal Ascot, and may be too formal for a casual wedding. Opt for a simple hair accessory instead.
Tiaras: Tiaras are reserved for royalty and pageant queens and may be too formal for a casual wedding. Opt for a simple headband or hair clip instead.
Tips for Looking Your Best in Wedding Guest Attire
Here are a few tips for the perfect casual wedding outfit:
- Make sure your outfit is clean and pressed
- Avoid wearing white (unless specified by the couple)
- Dress for the location and theme of the wedding
- Wear comfortable shoes (you’ll be standing and dancing for a while)
Is a Dress Considered Okay for a Casual wedding?
A dress can be considered casual for a wedding, depending on the dress’s style, fabric and color.
- A sundress made of light, breathable fabric such as cotton or linen in a bright or pastel color can be considered casual attire for a wedding.
- A maxi dress or a dress with a more relaxed fit, such as a shift dress, can also be considered casual attire for a wedding.
However, a formal or evening gown made of luxurious fabric such as silk or satin in a darker color, with a more fitted silhouette and detailed embellishments, would be considered formal attire and not okay for a casual dress code.
It’s also important to consider the location, time of day and wedding theme. A dress that might be appropriate for a beach wedding may not be suitable for a church wedding or vice versa. It’s also important to pay attention to the dress code. If the couple specifies a dress code, it’s important to adhere to it as closely as possible.
Wearing Sweatpants to a Wedding with a Casual Dress Code
Wearing sweatpants to a casual wedding is generally inappropriate, as it can be seen as too casual and disrespectful to the couple and the occasion. Sweatpants are often associated with lounging or working out and are not considered formal or dressy attire.
Even though the wedding is casual, it’s still important to dress appropriately and avoid anything too revealing or casual, such as shorts, flip-flops and sweatpants.
Instead, you can choose casual wedding attire that is comfortable and stylish clothing that is more appropriate for a wedding, such as khakis, chinos for men and sundresses, maxi dresses or pants and a blouse for women. You can also consider the location and theme of the wedding and dress accordingly.
It’s worth noting that it’s always better to err on the side of dressing a little more formally than less, especially if you’re unsure of what to wear. The couple will appreciate the effort and it will show respect for the occasion.
What is Black-Tie Optional?
Black-tie optional is a dress code that allows guests to choose between formal or semi-formal attire. It indicates that the event is formal and that tuxedos or dark suits are encouraged but not required.
A tuxedo or a dark suit and tie are appropriate for men, while women can wear a dress or a formal gown.
It’s worth noting that if you choose to wear a dark suit and tie instead of a tuxedo, it’s important to ensure that the suit is well-fitted and that the tie and shirt are clean and ironed. A dress shirt is also a good option and a bow tie is encouraged but not mandatory.
As for women, a floor-length gown, cocktail dress or dressy separates like a blouse and dress pants are all appropriate attire.
It’s also important to pay attention to the details, such as shoes. It’s best to wear dress shoes and avoid sneakers or casual shoes.
Black-tie optional events are usually held in the evening and can be more formal than “casual” or “business casual” dress codes but less formal than “black-tie” events.
Learn more about this subject: Top Tips for Black-Tie Optional Wedding Guest Attire in 2023
Casual Wedding Attire Vs. Dressy Casual Wedding Attire
At a wedding, the distinction between casual and dressy casual attire can be subtle, but it’s important to know the difference when choosing your wedding outfit.
There is a tendency for casual attire to be more relaxed and informal, focusing on comfort. A sundress, khakis, chinos, polo shirt and button-down shirt are examples of this type of clothing. Outdoor ceremonies, daytime ceremonies and weddings with a relaxed atmosphere are appropriate for this style of dress.
A dressy casual outfit is considered more stylish and put-together than casual clothing. Despite being comfortable, it’s a bit more formal than casual clothes. Sundresses with a fitted silhouette, button-down shirts paired with dress pants or blouses and skirts are examples of this type of attire.
Dressing Casual at a Formal Wedding
Dressing casually at a formal wedding can be tricky, as it’s important to show respect for the couple’s wishes and the occasion while also feeling comfortable and appropriate. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dressing casually at a formal wedding:
Avoid overly casual clothing
While formal weddings may allow for more relaxed attire, it’s still important to avoid anything too casual, such as shorts, t-shirts or flip-flops. Instead, opt for clothing that is a little more dressed up, such as a button-down shirt and khakis or a sundress.
Pay attention to the dress code: Many formal weddings will have a specific dress code, such as black-tie or semi-formal. If a dress code is specified, adhere to it as closely as possible.
Consider the location and theme of the wedding
The location and theme of the wedding can also play a role in what to wear. For example, if the wedding is taking place at a beach or outdoor venue, it may be more appropriate to wear a sundress or a light sweater, while a wedding taking place in a church or ballroom may call for a
more formal outfit.
Accessories can be a great way to add personality to your outfit and make it look more put-together. Opt for items like a statement necklace, earrings or a clutch.
Confidence is the key. If you feel comfortable and confident in your attire, it will shine through in your overall appearance.
In general, it’s important to remember that a formal wedding is a special occasion and it’s important to show respect for the couple’s wishes and the occasion. By keeping these things in mind and dressing appropriately, you’ll be able to look stylish and feel comfortable at the same time.
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Not Sure About the Wedding Dress Code?
Wedding invitations are a great way for the couple to communicate the desired dress code to their guests. The dress code will usually be included in the lower right corner of the invitation or on a separate card. The dress code can be written in a variety of ways, such as “black-tie,” “formal,” “casual,” or “business casual.”
Here are a few examples of the most common dress codes:
- Black-tie: This is the most formal dress code and usually indicates that the wedding will be held in the evening. Men are expected to wear a tuxedo and women should wear a formal gown.
- Black-tie Optional: This dress code allows guests to choose between formal or semi-formal attire. Men are encouraged to wear a tuxedo, but a dark suit and tie are also appropriate. Women should wear a formal gown, dressy separates or a cocktail dress.
- Formal: This dress code is similar to black-tie and usually indicates that the wedding will be held in the evening. Men should wear a dark suit and tie and women should wear a formal gown or dressy separates.
- Semi-Formal: This dress code is less formal than black-tie and formal, but still requires guests to dress up. Men should wear a dark suit and tie and women should wear a cocktail dress, dressy separates or a nice dress.
- Casual: This dress code is the most relaxed and allows guests to dress comfortably. Men can wear khakis or chinos and a button-down shirt; women can wear a sundress or nice pants and a blouse.
- Business Casual: This dress code is similar to casual but requires guests to dress a little more formally. Men should wear dress pants and a button-down shirt, while women should wear a dress or dressy separates.
It’s important to pay attention to the dress code specified in the wedding invitation and to dress accordingly. If the dress code is not specified, it’s always better to ask the couple or the wedding planner for guidance.
The Bottom Line
Attending a casual wedding can be a lot of fun, but knowing what to wear can be tricky. By following the guidelines and tips outlined in this blog post, you’ll be able to look stylish and put together while still being comfortable.
Serena & Dominic are a married couple and parents to 3 wonderful children. They plan weddings, run multiple small businesses, and curate wedding events.
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