Tuesday Tips | Volume 16 | Your Vermont Wedding Planner

The Wedding Dress Code

A black tie optional wedding at  Hildene  . Photo by  Daria Bishop Photography .

A black tie optional wedding at Hildene . Photo by Daria Bishop Photography .

The Wedding Dress Code.  Black Tie Optional or maybe it's Festive Cocktail Attire. Those little words on the bottom of the invitation that hold so much weight. What do they mean?  Which one should you choose for your wedding?  Do you need one at all?  Assigning a dress code to your day is definitely not mandatory but it does help your guests to know what is expected of them.  Let's break it down below.

White Tie

White Tie is the most formal and I'm betting we won't see many of these at Vermont weddings.  White tie is mostly reserved for royal weddings, (Still waiting on my invite for May 19th) and diplomatic galas. We would see the ladies in formal full length ball gowns and the gentlemen in tailcoats with a white waist coat and white bow tie.

Black Tie

Black Tie means this wedding is a formal affair.  Black Tie is not as strict as White Tie but does have a few rules.  The gentlemen would be wearing a black tux, style of their choosing and the ladies would be in a formal full length gown or very fancy cocktail dress.

Black Tie Optional

Here in Vermont we often see Black Tie Optional weddings.  If you find this dress code on your next wedding invitation you should choose formal attire.  The wedding party will most definitely be in full length gowns and tuxedos.  Gentlemen would have the option to wear a nice suit, preferably dark in color, or a tuxedo and the ladies would again, be in a full length gown or cocktail dress.

Cocktail Attire | Festive Attire | Semi-Formal

All three of these codes mean very similar things.  Your bride and groom are hoping you join them in festive attire that is not black tie.  We would suggest a nice suit, in any color, for the gentleman with a neck tie or bow tie of your choice and a cocktail dress for the ladies.  


We don't see many Casual Dress options for our weddings in Vermont but if you do, feel free to wear anything at all, within reason.  Ladies may want to wear a causal dress or maybe a sundress while the gentlemen could be in a button down shirt, with no tie, jacket optional.  

If you choose to apply a dress code to your wedding make sure to chat with your invitation designer so this little detail does not get missed.  I look forward to hearing which one you choose.  Reach out today so we can talk more about the dress code options and how they may apply to your day.  Click the button below to start the conversation.

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