Receptions can be tricky things. There are a lot of options, a lot of decisions, and, in some case, a lot of opportunities for miscommunication and possibly stepping on toes. Hopefully not your toes though – especially not in your wedding gown and heels.

But it’s okay, we’re here to help clear up the grey areas and miscommunications. And today, the topic at hand is reception dress code and how exactly one specifies what type of attire is appropriate for guests to wear to your special day, whether it be jeans and flip-flops or formal evening gowns. A guest information packet or website is a good place to present it.

dress codeBlack Tie: No-nonsense and pretty straightforward, this affair is, in a word, formal dress code. That means tuxes for the gents, formal gowns for the ladies. Definitely an opportunity to head to fancy end of the wedding-wear spectrum.

Formal: At a formal wedding, the black tie dress code may still make an appearance but is certainly optional. Men at this type of event are expected to wear at least a suit and tie, while women can wear a fancier cocktail-style dress or long, more formal dress.

Semi-formal: Still nice, but slightly more casual dress code than its “formal” neighbor, a semi-formal wedding calls for a suit and tie and cocktail dress combination for men and women respectively. Also seen referred to as “cocktail” attire.

Garden Party: With summer suits for men, and summery sundresses for women, this is about as casual dress code as you can get and still feel dressed up for an affair. Khaki pants and fun prints are welcome, with a definite emphasis on lighter, nice-but-not-too-nice attire for what is a more casual, but still very special, event.

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