The Nonbinary Wedding Attire Guide for Guests and Couples

Time to take your wedding outfit beyond the binary.
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by
Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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When it comes to wedding attire in general, the focus is often set on tradition and conformity, but for gender-nonconforming individuals and couples, finding nonbinary wedding attire can be a source of stress and uncertainty. And let's be real, wedding dress codes can be complicated enough as they are. Nonbinary individuals may not feel represented in the traditional options available, leading to challenges in expressing their true selves on such a significant occasion. Gender-neutral wedding fashion is about embracing the freedom of self-expression and blurring the lines between feminine and masculine aesthetics. Below, I'm breaking down how to choose gender-neutral formal wear, whether you're the guest or the couple. Plus, I spoke with industry experts dedicated to helping you find a great look for your upcoming event—not to mention the best places to find nonbinary wedding outfits.

Meet the Experts

In this article:

              Nonbinary Wedding Attire for Guests

              Two grooms in suits outside wedding venue
              Photo: Brandi Brooks Photography

              When it comes to nonbinary wedding attire, there are no "rules" wedding guests need to follow. The most important thing about choosing nonbinary formal wear is that it reflects your true identity and makes you feel amazing. "If you're uncertain where to begin, think back to an outfit that gives you gender euphoria," Nash says. "Can you elevate that outfit to fit your celebration? Whether it's a pair of overalls, your favorite jeans, or a confidence-boosting t-shirt, embrace what feels authentic to you." Gender-neutral formal wear can be anything from a custom-made suit to a chic jumpsuit or a sleek androgynous dress. The key is to wear what makes you feel like the best, most authentic version of yourself on your special day.

              Traditional dress codes often carry gendered norms, but you can challenge those norms and create a unique look by mixing elements from traditionally gendered attire. Nash suggests pairing a navy suit with a cream lace shirt and pearls or wearing a fitted dress with an oversized blazer. By layering or combining different pieces, you can create a stylish androgynous cocktail attire that honors both the dress code and your unique style. Remember, weddings are celebrations of love and inclusivity, so feel empowered to express yourself and show support for the nonbinary couple by wearing an outfit that makes you feel confident and fabulous.

              White-Tie

              Key elements: White-tie dress codes are the most formal dress codes for weddings. Typically, this dress code is reserved for events held in the evening in luxurious settings such as ballrooms, upscale country clubs or fancy hotel venues. If the invitation reads, "white-tie," it's essential to dress the part as this is a very particular and rare dress code.

              What to wear: For nonbinary guests, white-tie dress codes can be challenging since the expectations for dressing are quite polarized between masc and femme attire. The traditional expectation is for men to wear a black tuxedo and women to wear full-length gowns with dramatic accessories such as gloves and jewelry. Consider a high-necked white blouse with a voluminous skirt or tailored tuxedo. Patterns and textures can add interest and personality to the outfit, such as a colored bow tie or pocket square.

              Black-Tie

              Key elements: Black-tie dress codes are the second-most formal category of dress codes for weddings. Black-tie weddings are most commonly held in the evening but can be held during the day on occasion. They are typically held at upscale hotel venues or elegant outdoor settings. Traditional looks include tailored tuxedos for men and floor-length gowns for women. As a non-binary guest, you have even more options to explore.

              What to wear: Nonbinary guests can choose from a wide range of gender-neutral clothing pieces for a black-tie affair, from a sleek suit paired with a statement blouse to a tailored jumpsuit. Suits can be made from satin or high-quality wool (it doesn't have to be black!) For a femme vibe, you can opt for dress silhouettes that blend both traditional masculine and feminine elements with details that speak to your style. Don't forget to add unique accessories such as bowties, cufflinks or vibrant jewelry.

              Formal

              Key Elements: When it comes to wedding attire, formal dress codes fall somewhere between black-tie and semi-formal. These weddings are typically held in the afternoon or evening and can take place in beautiful venues like historic mansions or upscale event spaces. Formal dress codes are less restrictive, so there's more room to play with different colors, fabrics, lengths and textures, but they should still feel elevated.

              What to wear: Tailored separates such as dress pants or a smart shirt and blazer can provide the right amount of balance for androgynous wedding attire. A three-piece suit with unique accents, such as bold patterns or textures, can also help you express yourself. You can also lean into masc details by opting for tailored dress pants and a blouse paired with dress shoes or boots. And for feminine androgynous formal wear, consider a floor-length gown with interesting textures or patterns, paired with statement jewelry to add some extra flair.

              Cocktail

              Key elements: Now we're getting into the realm of semi-formal dress codes with the ever-stylish cocktail attire. Cocktail dress codes give you a bit more freedom to express your style while looking fabulous. These events are often held in the afternoon or early evening, and you'll find them in a range of venues, from chic hotels to trendy art galleries.

              What to wear: As a nonbinary guest, you can have fun with cocktail attire by experimenting with different stylish and fashion-forward options. Consider a well-tailored suit with a bold, colorful shirt or tie to showcase your personality or a flowy midi dress. Complete the fit with accessories like a small purse or a stylish watch for that little extra something.

              Semi-Formal

              Key elements: Semi-formal occasions offer the perfect opportunity to blend your individuality with the expectations of the dress code Early afternoon weddings and creative venues such as art galleries or historic museums are typical locations for this dress code.

              What to wear: Semi-formal attire for guests doesn't require traditional formal wear, so use this opportunity to embrace an outfit that is uniquely yours. For a nonbinary guest, dressing for a semi-formal event is all about finding that perfect blend of style and comfort, like a tailored shirt paired with dress pants or a skirt. If you want to embrace your flirty side, consider a flowy skirt or dress with an interesting pattern instead.

              Casual

              Key elements: Casual weddings are often suitable for outdoor or backyard events. This dress code welcomes self-expression thanks to its relaxed and laid-back setting. The key here is to feel relaxed and confident in what you're wearing.

              What to wear: However, casual can mean a tailored short-sleeved button-down paired with pants or a nice pair of chino shorts, a short cotton mini dress or a relaxed jumpsuit. It's important to note that even though the attire is "casual," it's likely best to stay away from everyday wear like jeans, t-shirts or flip-flops. Always clarify with the couple to determine what's appropriate.

              Western or Rustic

              Key elements: We love a Western wedding moment. This dress code allows guests to embrace the cowboy and ranch-inspired fashion trend. Western or rustic weddings can be either very formal or more casual, depending on the couple's style, venue and the overall theme of the event.

              What to wear: Lean into the aesthetic with a Western-inspired button-down and tailored pants, or opt for a denim dress with a leather waist belt. Western or rustic-themed weddings are an opportunity to showcase your creativity, so find pieces that lean into the theme and allow you to express your unique style. Regardless of how you dress, you can always finish it off with a cowboy hat.

              Nonbinary Wedding Outfits for Couples

              When choosing your wedding attire as a gender-nonconforming couple, the key is to determine what clothing will be most affirming for each of you. This could range from a traditional suit or dress to an androgynous wedding dress or hybrid ensemble. The options are endless, so don't be afraid to explore different styles and think outside the box. As Yang advises, "There are a plethora of options, and the journey to find the perfect wedding attire should be a pleasant one."

              Now, let's address the question of whether nonbinary couples need to match their outfits. The answer is a resounding no! "Couples have the option to wear complementary outfits without resorting to exact matching," says Yang. "An example of this could be utilizing the same fabric while choosing different types of garments." Or, you could incorporate one accent color throughout both outfits to create a cohesive look, something that Yang often does for her couples at The Tailory. She also encourages couples to break free from the notion that white is the only appropriate color for wedding attire and that shades of white should perfectly match each other. Your wedding day is a reflection of your individuality and expression, so feel free to choose colors and styles that speak to you.

              If you or your partner are feeling nervous about wearing nonbinary wedding attire on your big day, Nash offers some helpful advice. Consider having a familiar and comfortable look to change into during the reception. "Many of my clients wear more extravagant formal gowns and suits for their ceremony and first dance before switching to matching white tracksuits or more comfortable and eclectic looks," they say. "Prioritize wearing something that makes you feel celebratory and comfortable." And if concerns about sensory overload arise, Nash suggests choosing a more relaxed option as the festivities progress. "Even an everyday denim jacket can be elevated with embellishments or custom embroidery to add a personal touch," he says.

              Where to Shop for a Gender-Neutral Wedding Outfit

              Once you've selected the type of garment you want to wear on your big day, now it's time to choose where you'll shop. Finding a retailer who is supportive and inclusive will ensure that your wedding attire journey is enjoyable and stress-free. These brands cater to individuals who seek clothing and gender-neutral suits that transcend traditional gender boundaries, from lesbian wedding suits to femme dresses, which enable guests and couples to feel confident and celebrated on their special day. Yang reminds us that the process should be a pleasant one, and with the right retailer by your side, you can create the perfect ensemble that reflects your individuality and expression. Here are a few options to get you started:

              The Tailory New York: The Tailory New York is known for their custom-made suits and dresses that can be tailored to fit any body type. "We have a mission to design clothing that not only looks great but also affirms the person wearing it, whether it's for a special day or everyday use," says Yang. "As a fully bespoke service, we pride ourselves on being the go-to for gender-neutral wedding attire. Our clients can have any vision brought to life without being limited by pre-existing patterns or templates." They offer a wide range of options, from classic and timeless designs to more unique and modern ensembles. The Tailory is not only a great option for both to-be-weds and guests looking for high-quality, tailored garments but it's also, according to Yang, "a safe and private space where our clients feel seen and heard."

              Loud Bodies: Loud Bodies is a brand that celebrates inclusivity and diversity in fashion. Their gender-neutral wedding attire ranges from elegant dresses to stylish jumpsuits, all made with inclusive sizing and customization options. The brand is perfect for to-be-weds who want to make a bold statement with their wedding attire, as well as guests who are looking for fashionable and inclusive options.

              Wax London: Wax London is a sustainable and gender-neutral brand that specializes in modern and minimalist clothing. While they may not have a specific wedding collection, their range of well-tailored suits and separates can be perfect for to-be-weds who appreciate timeless and versatile styles. Guests can also find stylish pieces that can be dressed up or down, depending on the dress code.

              SuitShop: As the name suggests, SuitShop is dedicated to providing high-quality, well-fitting suits for every body type. They offer a range of sizes and styles, making it easy to find the perfect suit for any wedding celebration. SuitShop is a great option for both to-be-weds and guests who are looking for classic and impeccably tailored suits that are designed to make a statement.

              WILDFANG: WILDFANG is a brand known for its gender-neutral fashion and inclusive designs. They offer a wide range of wedding attire options, from tailored suits to stylish blazers and button-up shirts. WILDFANG is perfect for nonbinary wedding guests who want to embrace a more casual and edgy style while still looking polished and put together.

              Kirrin Finch: Kirrin Finch is a brand that specializes in gender-neutral clothing, with a focus on suits and shirts. Their suits are designed to fit a variety of body types and they offer customization options to ensure a perfect fit. Kirrin Finch is a great choice for to-be-weds who want to feel comfortable and empowered in their wedding attire, as well as guests looking for stylish and inclusive options.

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