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  • Writer's pictureRhonda Massad

How to Set a Semi-Formal Guest Dress Code for Your Wedding

Your wedding is likely something you have given plenty of thought to over the years, well before you started planning it. Brides-to-be often have a vision in their head of how they want the day to go and how it will look as they reminisce and admire the pictures for years to come. And while you may be giving lots of attention to your attire and what your wedding party will be wearing, how about your guests? Nowadays it’s very common for couples to set a dress code for guests.

If you like the idea of a semi-formal dress code for your wedding but aren’t sure what exactly that includes and how to inform your guests, we’ve got some tips you can use.

Why Set a Dress Code?

If you’re on the fence about setting a dress code, a helpful thing to consider is the wedding photos. Having you and your significant other dress in similar colours can set the tone, along with your bridal party, but now imagine how the photos would look if everyone in attendance was on the same page clothing-wise. That doesn’t mean matching outfits, it means the same flair and style, creating a sense of consistency.

There’s also the fact that a semi-formal dress code can make things feel a bit more special. It’s not every day you dress up, and because this is a special occasion, why not insist on it?

Breaking Down the Definition

When setting a dress code, semi-formal is among the most popular. It asks guests to step things up a bit in terms of style and sophistication, yet it can still be comfortable and doesn't take things as far as a formal wedding. Generally speaking, semi-formal usually means fancy dresses but not gowns, and suits but not a tuxedo. Imagine the most formal wedding attire, but now pull it back a notch or two.

In terms of an appropriate dress for a semi-formal wedding, they are often cocktail length (there is no need for floor length). Women can also choose to wear tailored dress pants and a blouse, a jumpsuit or any other item that creates an elegant vibe. They may also choose to emphasise their accessories instead. Consider how a designer Gucci handbag would work against a basic black cocktail dress. The Gucci handbag elevates the look and makes it very trendy, yet it doesn’t push things into the formal territory.

Men are a bit more restricted in that suits are usually the only option, but it can be a more casual style with a fun-coloured dress shirt.

The Best Way to Inform Your Guests

Once you’ve decided to set a dress code, you need to be sure you inform your guests properly and promptly. The best way to do that is on the wedding invitation. This makes things clear from the start and gives them lots of notice should they need to purchase an outfit. Be prepared to potentially answer questions from guests who may need clarification on what the dress code entails.

Setting a dress code for your wedding guests is just one of the many ways you can make your special day all the more memorable.


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