Fall Wedding Dress Code | A Bless Box Guide

Just when you thought #WeddingSeason was over… it’s time for Fall Wedding Season! If you’ve ever been stumped over what to wear to end-of-summer to late-fall nuptials, don’t worry – the instructions are usually in the invitation. You just need to decode it! Here’s Bless Blog’s basic cheat sheet to help you put your best foot forward for fall wedding season.
wedding photo of bride and groom holding bouquett

If the invite says “white tie.”

White tie is the most formal event, above black tie. Think the Oscars, or State Dinners. This is the time to pull out all the stops.

What to wear: For him, keep it classic in a long black jacket with tails, a white pique vest and a bow tie with formal shoes (white gloves for dancing are optional). She should wear a full-length ball gown, with glam makeup, jewels and hair to the nines.

The invite says “black tie.”

Slightly less formal than white tie, Black Tie usually indicates that the wedding is an evening affair.

What to wear: For him, think full on 007 vibes. Tuxedo, black bow tie, cummerbund and patent leather shoes. The whole nine yards. For her, think Bond Girl glam. Either a chic cocktail dress or a floor-length evening gown is appropriate, though longer hemlines are generally more acceptable. An elegant black gown is fine, but a rich jewel tone gown will feel more festive! Hair and makeup should be fully done up, so pull out all the stops!

The invite says “formal” or “black tie optional.”

Slightly less dressy than black tie means a tux isn’t required, but wouldn’t be out of place.

What to wear: He can choose between a tux or a formal dark suit and tie. For her, a long evening dress, dressy suit or pantsuit, or formal cocktail dress is perfect. “Black tie optional” is one of the more confusing invitations for a guest to receive, but the good news is you have a ton of options! Not sure if you should lean more formal or more casual? Take a cue from the reception venue: a ballroom in a ritzy hotel calls for more glam, whereas a cocktail will be more appropriate in a restaurant setting. 

The invite says “cocktail attire.”

Less formal than Black Tie Optional means no tuxes required, and no floor-length gowns required (unless that’s your preference!).

What to wear: For him, think J.T. and reach for a classic suit and tie. For the cooler months, stick to suiting in darker tones like slate grey, black, subtle houndstooth, or even deep forest greens. For her, a cocktail dress, dressy suit, or jumpsuit is just right. Don’t forget the jewelry, and a cute clutch! 

The invite says “fall festive attire.”

Fall festive attire – what the heck does that mean?  Don’t worry – it’s actually pretty straightforward!  Just wear a party or cocktail dress that makes you feel festive, fun, and beautiful. Just save the floor-length ballgown for another occasion. 

What to wear: For him, a clean-cut suit with a festive detail, like suspenders, a pocket square or a patterned tie. For her, think bold colors and eye-catching details. This is the time to break out the statement jewelry and the daring patterns! Have a little fun! 

The invite says “semi formal” or “dressy casual.”

Timing is everything – for an evening fete, choose darker, more formal tones. For an afternoon wedding, pick lighter colors and breezier fabrics.

What to wear: For him, a suit and tie (in light or dark tones, depending on the time of day). For her, a cocktail dress or even a dressy skirt and top or hits the spot. Be sure to bring a layer, especially if the ceremony is outdoors. So, how to stay warm without ruining your outfit? Reach for a cute cropped jacket in faux fur or leather to keep you warm (and the cropped cut will still show off your dress!). A shrug is another great option – it’ll keep your arms warm, without covering up your whole outfit. Last but not least, consider a chic wrap – when you’re not wearing it, you can easily tie it to the chain of your handbag (or hand it off to your date to carry!). 

The invite says “casual” or “daytime.”

Casual might mean jeans and a tee-shirt at a neighborhood BBQ, but for a casual afternoon fall wedding stick to business casual to be on the safe side!

What to wear: For him, dress pants with a button-down shirt is just right. For her, a pretty fall-appropriate dress (cocktail to mid-length is just fine) or a nice blouse and a skirt or pants fits the bill. Keep makeup and hair soft and natural. Add a cute little jacket or a cardigan to keep yourself warm, and a pair of statement earrings for some bling. 

 

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