Here's Exactly What to Wear to a Casual Wedding as a Guest
Your wedding invitation just came in the mail and the dress code line says "casual wedding attire". Now, you're left with one of three reactions: "Score! I can wear whatever I want," "Wait… I can't dress up?" or "What exactly does that mean?" Whatever the case, it's time to take a pause and figure out exactly what casual wedding attire for guests entails. The answer might surprise you—and totally transform what you plan to put on for the special day. That's why we're breaking down the casual dress code and clearing up any misconceptions. Read on for our etiquette advice, then check out our favorite casual wedding outfits for women and men to shop right now.
In this article…
What Is Casual Wedding Attire?
Casual wedding attire is a slightly elevated version of the clothes you would wear on a typical day. Similarly to dressy casual events, you should think along the lines of business casual attire. Generally, that means clothing items like tank tops, flip-flops and athleisure are off limits. Otherwise, you have a lot of options (unlike more structured dress codes like black tie, cocktail or even semi-formal attire). "Most casual weddings are held outdoors, so skip anything fussy and over the top—you want to be able to dance," says The Knot's Executive Editor, Lauren Kay.
"When it says casual, men could show up in pants and a blazer with no tie—or maybe not a jacket at all—but just a nice shirt and a pair of slacks. Women can wear a nice sundress or dress, a jumpsuit or even a two-piece set," says Julie Sabatino, bridal stylist and founder of The Stylish Bride.
But just as the workplace dress code has a different definition depending on the office, what to wear to a wedding is also based on a few factors, such as the season, time of day and venue. (For example, a daytime beach wedding or backyard event may be extra informal and more laid-back attire is acceptable.) Ultimately, it's up to wedding guests alike to use context clues or ask if they're uncertain. If you're close to the couple, go to them directly. Otherwise, confer with fellow attendees—wedding party members usually make great sources. (Pro tip: Check out the couple's wedding website; often, they'll provide more details on the dress code there.)
"The best tip I can offer is less about what to wear, and instead what not to wear (IMO): jeans, shorts, and sneaks,"says Kay. "If the invitation requests any of this attire you get a pass, but it's best to steer clear of a sartorial mishap." Instead of jeans or shorts, opt for a comfortable pair of chinos or a flowy midi skirt. Instead of sneakers, we recommend a classic pair of loafers, or dressy sandals.
If you're still having trouble deciphering the casual wedding dress code, Sabatino says to approach the event like a fancy dinner. "If you're going out to a nice dinner with your family or friends, what would you wear to that? I think that a casual wedding means the same thing." As for accessories, you have a number of options when it comes to dressing up your casual wedding ensemble. For women, Sabatino says a comfortable pair of shoes, a cute purse and great earrings are all worthwhile options, while men can add a fun tie, a pocket square or festive socks to dress up their outfit.
For even more outfit inspiration, we've rounded up casual dress code-approved outfits for guests, below. Get ready to be the best-dressed guest at your upcoming casual function in one of these standout pieces.
Casual Wedding Attire for Women
We've handpicked the best casual wedding attire for women, from whimsical sun dresses to stylish jumpsuits. Keep scrolling to view our go-to picks for every season and wedding guest style.
Abercrombie & Fitch Puff Sleeve High-Slit Midi Dress
This navy wedding guest dress is available in petite, standard and tall sizes, has a stylish sweetheart neckline, puff sleeves and a playful side slit. Translation: It's the perfect casual outfit for a summer wedding or springtime event.
Torrid Midi Washable Crinkle Gauze Ruffle Surplice Dress
Here's a classic look you'll have on repeat all wedding season long. This stylish midi dress features a floral print and comfortable wrap waist. Pair it with a rattan purse and a pair of mules for the perfect plus size ensemble.
Quince 100% Washable Silk Skirt Black
Not feeling a dress? We can relate. Coordinate a fashionable skirt with a nice blouse or sophisticated sweater depending on the weather and wedding vibe. This midi-length option is made from 100% washable silk and comes in 10 chic color options.
Lulus In the City Olive Green Surplice Sleeveless Jumpsuit
Maybe pants are more your style. In that case, you can always opt for dressy separates or a stylish jumpsuit. This olive green option is the perfect mix of trendy and timeless. Oh, and did we mention it has pockets?
Petal + Pup Aimee Top and Deaville Skirt
Looking to switch things up a little bit? This playful set is the perfect alternative to a dress, and is a great option for any casual dress code wedding on your calendar. The best part? You can mix and match both pieces to create new looks after the wedding (a.k.a. multiple looks for the price of one. . .score).
ELOQUII Shirred Mini Dress Purple Potion
A casual dress code gives you the green light to experiment with shorter hemlines, so go ahead, show off those legs. We love this tiered mini dress to rock at a spring or summer event. Pair it with neutral-toned accessories like a pair of kitten heels and a leather shoulder bag.
Casual Wedding Attire for Men
Ready to shop for men's casual wedding attire? Check out our go-to casual wedding outfits that'll look dapper for your next occasion, from printed suits and dressy button-down shirts to elevated polos.
ASOS River Island Checked Suit Jacket and Pants
While there's no need to suit up for a casual wedding, you totally could if you wanted to. To make it more laidback, try a set in a fun pattern, like this plaid option. Wear the coat open to show off a neutral white shirt, and feel free to skip the tie.
Banana Republic Luxury-Touch Polo Navy
We have a feeling you'll get plenty of use out of a classic polo, whether we're talking wedding season or not. This navy blue option is made from 100% cotton, so you'll feel cool and comfortable throughout the day. Wear it tucked with a belt and chinos for an effortlessly cool vibe.
Johnny Bigg Brunto Textured Stretch Blazer in Dusty Pink
When it comes to men's casual wedding attire, we love switching things up with a vibrant color or fun pattern, and this textured stretch blazer does just that. On the outside, you'll find a salmon-colored pinky hue, while the inside is lined with a vibrant floral print. Trust us: You'll get so many compliments on this festive blazer at your next casual wedding.
Abercrombie & Fitch Athletic Straight Modern Chino Khaki
Slacks or chinos are go-to dress pants when it comes to casual wedding attire for men. This straight–leg pair boasts an athletic fit and built-in stretch for maximum comfort and flexibility. Not to mention, their khaki color offers a refreshing look no matter the season.
Synrgy Chambray Tropical Sport Shirt
A short-sleeve button-down in a botanical print is the perfect option for a casual beach or tropical destination wedding. This festive shirt, designed specifically for big and tall sizes, comes in 1XL to 6XLT. Pair your outfit with chinos (or if you're on the beach, with nice shorts if the couple is cool with it).
Faherty Inlet Knit Blazer in Deep Navy Melange
A knit blazer is a cozy (and cute) option for a casual wedding in the winter or fall. This option is soft, stretchy and ultra-comfortable. It features an unlined, tailored construction that's meant to retain its shape over time. Pair it with a long-sleeve crewneck shirt or turtleneck, chinos and dressy sneakers.