I had to look up what these meant when we were setting the dress code for our wedding a few years ago. To be honest, it’s still kinda confusing! But with wedding season just around the corner, I’ve had a lot of requests for a little clarity. So, I shall do my best.

CASUAL ATTIRE: This probably means that it’s going to be outdoors, fairly laid-back, but that doesn’t mean jeans or tank tops are acceptable.

LADIES: a sundress would probably be appropriate, you can find tons with casual fabrics as well! You could probably even wear dressy sandals, or wedges would work too. Regular flip flops? Not so much!

MEN: (I am including the men’s dress code so that the ladies reading this can make sure their men are dressed appropriately… because from my experience they generally don’t have the slightest idea how to dress for events like this).

Dress pants or khaki’s with a button-down is spot on. The decision about a tie would be a judgment call, maybe ask some other friends and make a group decision! But t-shirts or tennis shoes still not cool… yes, even Allbirds.

SEMI-FORMAL OR DRESSY CASUAL: the time of the wedding itself will make a difference here. For instance if it is an evening wedding and in a more formal location, then I would go with darker colors and closer to the semi-formal option. If it’s an earlier wedding you could go for lighter fabrics and colors

LADIES: a cocktail dress or a nice jumpsuit would be appropriate here, no formal gowns.

MEN: suit and tie, color depending on the time of day here.

FORMAL OR BLACK-TIE OPTIONAL: the wording here indicates that something very slightly less formal than black-tie is appropriate, but when choosing your outfit, consider how you would feel standing in a room full of people in black-tie options.

LADIES: the options are pretty much the same from formal to black-tie optional here: floor-length gown, or a dressy jumpsuit would be appropriate. But be careful about the jumpsuit option here, the ‘optional’ part really only comes into play for the men here, so if your jumpsuit wouldn’t fit in a room full of ladies in floor-length gowns, then it’s probably a no-go.

MEN: They have the ‘option’ of wearing a tuxedo, or a dark formal suit with a conservative tie would be appropriate as well.

WHITE TIE DRESS CODE: the most formal you could get! Also the most rare…

LADIES: formal floor-length evening gown. That’s it. no other option really. This is NOT a time you want to feel underdressed. Don’t forget the heels and elegant clutch. There’s nothing worse than someone who brings a casual clutch they just “had” that totally undo the formality of the gown.

MEN: tuxedo with tails, formal white shirt, white vest and bow tie, white or grey gloves, and formal footwear.

DESTINATION WEDDINGS: this one can really depend! If someone is having a wedding on the beach, then this will likely be very casual. But I have also seen people traveling to a destination to wed and keeping the formality so, you’ll have to keep in mind their dress code more so than the destination.

Now scroll down to shop dozens of my new finds that would be perfect for this wedding season.