This Is the Most Popular Wedding Dress Code Right Now

Semiformal, black tie or casual?
sophie ross the knot bridal fashion and beauty expert
Sophie Ross
sophie ross the knot bridal fashion and beauty expert
Sophie Ross
Bridal Fashion and Beauty Expert
  • Sophie Ross is a Senior Copywriter at Adore Me.
  • Sophie is an experienced style and beauty writer.
  • Sophie worked as an Associate Editor for The Knot from 2017 to 2019.
Updated Sep 20, 2018

We know, we know—wedding attire can get confusing. What's the difference between white tie and black tie? Will "casual" be too, well, casual?

That's why it's probably helpful to know what real couples are putting on their invitations and wedding websites.

According to our 2017 Real Weddings Study, the most popular wedding dress code right now is semiformal—by a landslide, in fact (65 percent of respondents). Otherwise known as "dressy casual," semiformal likely leads the pack because the versatile attire—for instance, a suit and tie for men or a cocktail dress for women—lends itself to any kind of ceremony, depending on the time of day. (Guests can either opt for darker colors for an evening wedding, or lighter hues and fabrics for a daytime event.)

Casual comes in second (at 17 percent), followed closely by black tie/formal (16 percent). Two percent of respondents recorded having another dress code (which could include white tie, beach formal or something else).

This is the first year casual has edged out black tie/formal in our Real Weddings Study. In 2007, 20 percent of respondents recorded having a black tie/formal dress code, with only 12 percent responding they had casual. Clearly, this signals a shift toward more casual weddings.

And if you're wondering what "casual" is exactly, no, it doesn't mean your guests will show up in jeans. It's simply defined by, perhaps, "business casual" dress (think khaki pants for men and elevated summer dresses for women), outdoor venues (like backyards or beaches) and nontraditional elements (like yard games and a grassy reception space).

Still not sure how to tell your guests how to dress? Read our comprehensive attire cheat sheet, here.

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