Summer Wedding Dress Codes

Stipulating a dress code on your invitations is optional and will inevitably serve to confuse guests. But it's advisable for summer weddings, which often take place outdoors or on the beach (and, you know, someone might show up in a caftan—or shorts!). Many guests will wonder "How casual can I go here?" and "Is it okay to wear a beaded burgundy number at a 4 p.m. ceremony when the sun's still blazing?" so we've outlined the four most common dress codes for a range of receptions. Decide which one fits your vision and use the (hopefully super-clear) lingo we've provided.

As semiformal's more casual sibling, "daytime semiformal" denotes a dress code suitable for country club or garden weddings—a midday event where the vibe is traditional but without feeling overly fancy. The key here is to communicate to your guests that you'd like them to be comfortable (especially if your wedding is outside), while also dressing up a little more than they normally would for church or a ladies' tea party or brunch. Women should wear lightweight dresses (cotton is fine), perhaps in a flora print, while men don the standard uniform of slacks and a sports coat. Or a seersucker or linen suit, as the case may be. And here's where we reach the great tie debate: Tie or no tie? Answer: Either! A less formal, daytime event leaves neckwear up to the wearer, although we might suggest a bow tie as a happy medium (and potential conversation starter).

NEXT: Informal Wedding Dress Code

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