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.

If the dress code at your wedding is something you'd rather leave up to your guests, tip them off to the fashion free-for-all by saying the event is "informal." This opens up their options to include whatever they would wear to a nice weekend brunch—a good idea for weddings on the beach, in the backyard, or at the barn. Your female guests can wear casual cocktail dresses if they're feeling snazzy, or a simple, flowy sundress if they want to feel more like their normal selves. Obviously, separates are also an option. While we wouldn't go so far as to recommend jeans for a man at your wedding, Nantucket reds work just fine, and some men can get away with dressy shorts so long as they pair them with a blazer and nice shirt. Hey, this is summer after all...

BACK: Formal Wedding Dress Code

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