Deciduous Press

How do you write a Dress Code on a Wedding Invitation?

Examples and Suggestions for Wording your Wedding Dress Code

Mentioning a dress code ensures your event stays as formal or as casual as you want, and it’s helpful for guests to know exactly what is expected of them for attire. Here you will find some helpful ideas for wording your Dress Code whether you’re hosting a formal or casual wedding.

Where to include your Dress Code

If you want to be specific about the dress code there are three main places you can do so:

Your Wedding Invitation

You can include your Dress Code on the lower left or right-hand corner of the invitation. Alternatively, the Dress Code can be placed at the bottom centre of the design.

A separate Information / Details card

If you are including a Details or Information card with other important information for your guests, use this to list your dress code as well as it keeps your invitation nice and simple.

Your Wedding Website

If you are already providing a wedding website for other details and important information for guests, use this space to also list your dress code.

Dress Codes

White Tie

White Tie or full evening dress is the most formal of all wedding dress codes. Men dress in long-tail tuxedos and the women wear full-length ball gowns.

Black Tie

Black Tie usually indicates an evening wedding where men wear tuxedos with black bow tie and women wear formal floor-length gowns. Black tie does not mean you must wear black. However, traditionally men would wear a bow tie and black tuxedo.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

These phrases mean that guests are encouraged to wear attire that fits a black tie dress code, but that this is optional. For men, they should wear a dark suit with a shirt and tie (if they don’t wish to wear a tuxedo). Women should wear a floor-length gown, knee-length cocktail dress, a pantsuit, or dressy separates.

Lounge Suit or Semi-Formal

This indicates a step down in formality from Black tie and is suitable for a semi-formal daytime wedding. The wedding party will be in formal wedding attire, and it’s optional for all guests. For men, they should wear a classic suit or tux including a tie, and formal evening wear (floor-length dresses or evening pantsuits) for women.

Jacket & Tie

Similar to Lounge Suit or Semi-Formal, however Jacket & Tie indicates that it is acceptable for men to wear a sports jacket, suit jacket or even a smart blazer and chinos with a tie. Women should wear a cocktail dress that is shorter than floor-length, a pantsuit, or dressy separates.

Cocktail attire

Cocktail attire isn’t overly formal and is encouraging guests to be dressed a step above smart casual. For women, an above-the-knee hem (or any length above floor length) is appropriate. For men, they can wear a suit (tie optional) or sports jacket and dress shirt.

Smart Casual

Smart casual means wedding guests are being asked to dress neatly, without being overly dressy – or overly casual. For men, dark denim, chinos or suit paints with a neat shirt is appropriate while women can wear a skirt or smart trousers.


You can format the writing of your dress code in a few ways, keeping in mind that the style should be consistent with the rest of your wording. The Dress code can be written with or without a colon or other mark appropriate to your design (for example a bullet or vertical bar). Examples include:
Dress Formal
Dress Code: Formal
Formal Attire (Black Tie Optional)

Looking for more helpful hints for your wedding invitations? Be sure to read our other articles:

Wedding Invitation Wording
Wording 'Adults Only' Wedding Invitations
Addressing your Wedding Invitations
Gift Card Wording
Thank You Card Wording

You can read more about wording for your stationery pieces as well as download PDF examples and suggestions on our Wording & Etiquette page. Be sure to browse our Collection for examples and ideas as well.

Looking for more?

View our Collection of semi-custom wedding stationery suites
Request our free sample pack and feel our letterpress printing first hand
Take a look at our extensive design options and changes available

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