What to Wear to a Semi-Formal Wedding

Don't show up in the wrong attire.
Emily Platt - The Knot Senior Manager, Performance Editorial Content
by Emily Platt
Emily Platt - The Knot Senior Manager, Performance Editorial Content
Emily Platt
Senior Manager, Performance Editorial Content
  • Emily is an editor and strategist who specializes in shopping content
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Emily wrote for Martha Stewart Weddings
  • Emily has a bachelor's degree from Vassar College
Updated May 20, 2020
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Your wedding invitation says "semi-formal"—now what exactly does that mean? In short, the event's formality falls somewhere in the mid to more-casual range of the dress code spectrum. It's not as fancy as a "black tie" wedding, but it's not the kind of soirée where anything goes, either.

Below, we break down semi-formal wedding attire for women and men in full. We've even offered up shoppable inspiration to make choosing an outfit easy. (Don't own anything appropriate and can't commit to buying something? It's A-okay to borrow from sites like Rent the Runway. We've included a handful of on-loan looks in our roundup too.)

Semi-Formal Wedding Attire: Women

Skip the evening gown and wear a cocktail dress instead. Dressy jumpsuits, rompers and separates are also viable semi-formal wedding attire options. Use accessories to your advantage; glitzy jewelry can elevate something on the casual side, while sandals (versus glam stilettos) can tone down a fancier ensemble. The following semi-formal wedding guest dresses (and alternative garments) illustrate the level of formality you should look for.

Blue printed wedding guest cocktail dress

Semi-formal wedding guest dresses are often short—but never too short. This asymmetrical hemline strikes the perfect balance. Plus, we love the abstract print.

Osman Ink dress, from $120 to rent, RenttheRunway.com

Red and black pleated wedding guest midi dress

Many midi dresses fall under the semi-formal label too. Fun pleats and bright color-blocking keep this garment looking fresh.

ASOS DESIGN double layer pleated midi dress in Color Block, $67, ASOS.com

Black ruffled wedding guest jumpsuit

Go ahead and put on pants. This structured jumpsuit is perfectly sophisticated.

Jill Jill Stuart black ruffle jumpsuit, from $70 to rent, RenttheRunway.com

Green leopard midi wedding guest dress

You can also pull off patterns you might've overlooked for a more formal affair. Take this bold leopard print.

Rahi Dixie dress, $128, Amazon.com

Pink floral plus size wedding guest dress

There are gorgeous semi-formal wedding guest dresses for any body (try stores like ASOS and Nordstrom for plus sizes). This floral wrap dress is beautifully modern.

City Chic Mystic Fever midi dress, $129, Nordstrom.com

Semi-Formal Wedding Attire: Men

Wondering what to wear to a semi-formal wedding? The formula is super simple: a suit with dress shoes. Play things safe and put on a tie; other accessories (like cufflinks) are optional. See some outfit examples below.

Black wedding guest rental suit

You can't go wrong with a classic black suit jacket and matching pants for a semi-formal wedding.

The Black Tux black suit, $110 to rent, TheBlackTux.com

Gray plaid wedding guest suit

Gray is another semi-formal wedding-approved color. You can even get away with a subtle print.

Peter Millar Fynn classic fit plaid wool suit, $795, Nordstrom.com

Navy semi-formal wedding guest suit

Here's a blue suit to complete the traditional color trifecta. This navy number is versatile enough to wear again and again.

Ted Baker London Jay trim fit suit, $798, Nordstrom.com

Light gray wedding guest suit

Let the season inspire your outfit color palette—lighter suits well, suit warmer weather. We like this one's slim design.

Selected Homme Logan slim suit, $222, ASOS.com

Black plus size wedding guest suit

Suits span a wide range of lengths, widths and overall fits—wear whatever you feel awesome in. This plus size set defines dapper.

Burton Menswear big and tall skinny suit jacket in Black, $87, ASOS.com; Burton Menswear big and tall skinny suit pants in Black, $48, ASOS.com

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