We’ll be real with you—deciphering wedding dress codes can be confusing at times. Wedding invites often feature terms like “Garden Cocktail,” “Boho Chic,” “White Tie,” or “Filipiniana,” leaving invitees puzzled about what exactly is expected of them. Now it’s important to realize that following the dress code isn’t merely a fashion preference, it’s a gesture of respect toward the couple and the occasion itself. Choosing an appropriate outfit underlines your recognition of this significant life event for the bride and groom.
When in doubt, always remember that your choice of clothing should be respectful, modest, and suited to the celebration. But if you’re still perplexed, we’ve decoded the common wedding guest attire requests below.
Think relaxed yet classy when you see “garden cocktail” on a wedding invitation. Women have a variety of choices, including skirts combined with chic blouses, airy sundresses, and floral cocktail dresses. Elegant flat sandals or low heels can be used as footwear, and finishing touches like a lovely hat or delicate jewelry can be added with accessories. A suit of a lighter hue works best for guys. The outfit can be completed with a pastel shirt, possibly without a tie, and provides the ideal balance of formal and casual clothing for a garden location.
Although the word “casual” may imply carefree dress, weddings nonetheless demand a certain level of refinement. In general, tank tops, jeans, and shorts are not acceptable. Men should wear dress slacks or khakis and a button-down shirt. Polo shirts are another option. Sundresses, skirts with blouses, and even casual maxi dresses are available for women. Add exquisite sandals or ballet flats to complete the ensemble.
The Boho Chic dress code calls for a relaxed yet fashionable look. Women can go for flowy dresses embellished with lace or artistic designs, accessorized with things like stacked necklaces or boho earrings. Men could wear linen shirts, potentially topped with a casual blazer or an earth-toned belt. A bohemian or artsy aesthetic is recommended for both genders.
White Tie is as formal as it gets. Men should don a black tailcoat, black trousers, a white wing-collared shirt, and a white bow tie, finished off with patent leather shoes. Women are expected to wear full-length gowns or ball gowns, ideally coupled with opera gloves, complemented by high-end jewelry and a stylish clutch.
A Black Tie event calls for utmost sophistication. Men should sport a black tuxedo, complete with a black bow tie and leather shoes. Women have the option of a full-length gown or a highly sophisticated cocktail dress, both of which should be complemented by high heels and elegant jewelry.
If the dress code is Filipiniana, the focus is on celebrating Filipino heritage. Women may wear the iconic “Terno” with its butterfly sleeves or a Maria Clara gown that combines Filipino and Spanish influences. Men should consider wearing a Barong Tagalog, an embroidered long-sleeved traditional Filipino shirt. Traditional Filipino accessories would be the perfect finishing touch.
This dress code suggests the couple values comfort, but it’s still a special occasion. If in doubt, opt for smart-casual attire. If you have a close relationship with the couple, you’ll likely have a good sense of what they’d consider appropriate for their wedding day.
By putting in the work to decipher these dress guidelines and adhering to them, you’re showing more than just good fashion sense; you’re displaying respect and mindfulness for the couple’s special occasion!