There are a lot of decisions to be made in the wedding planning process. One that has to be made is how formal of a dress code do you want your guests to follow. The bride’s dress, wedding venue, or theme can influence this, but it ultimately comes down to the couple. As wedding photographers, we can say that any guest attire style looks great in photos. To help you decide, here is a breakdown of what you can expect guests to wear based on the selected dress code.
White tie is the fanciest of the wedding dress codes. It’s rare to have a white tie wedding these days, and it’s usually reserved for more expensive weddings. For men, appropriate white tie attire would be a tuxedo jacket with tails, a white pique vest, formal dress shoes, and a bow tie. For women, white tie means wearing a formal full-length ball gown, often in subdued or neutral colors, with appropriate accessories.
If you’re looking to have a more elegant and fancy wedding, our wedding photographers recommend going for black tie. Black tie is the more common high-end option in Canada. Male guests can be expected to wear a tuxedo, cummerbund, and bowtie, while female guests can wear an elegant cocktail dress or long evening gown.
Formal “Black Tie Optional”
People often confuse formal and black tie. They’re very similar, but the rules are a little more relaxed with a formal dress code. Men can wearer either a tuxedo or go a little more casual with a formal dark suit and tie. Women can wear a long dress, a formal cocktail dress, or a dressy suit. Since many people don’t have tuxedos or evening gowns lying around, a formal dress code puts less financial pressure on guests.
Beach formal isn’t just for beaches! The name is a little misleading, but many outdoor weddings in the spring or summer opt for summer formal. Our wedding photographers find it’s popular for destination weddings as well! Male guests can wear a summer suit, linen suit, or khakis and a nice shirt. Female guests can wear a formal sundress and can opt for sandals instead of heels.
Semiformal “Dressy Casual”
Our wedding photographers find this is the most common wedding dress code they come across. Guests still look nice and put together, but it’s not as formal. Male guests can wear a suit and tie, in any color, while female guests can wear a cocktail dress or a dressy bottom and top.
Casual guest attire can be a bit confusing because it’s not exactly the same thing as casual everyday wear. We recommend you clarify with guests if you opt for this. Casual dress code means men should wear nice pants (dress pants, khakis, or nice dark-wash jeans) with a button-down shirt or polo. Women should wear a sundress, nice bottom and top, or a casual cocktail dress. Typically this means no shorts, mini skirts, light wash jeans, graphic tees, etc. but if you’re perfectly fine with that just let guests know you’re aiming for everyday casual!
The key to great wedding photos is not to have everyone overly formal, it’s to have all the guests following the same dress code and to have it match the rest of the wedding choices. Having one or two guests in jeans while the rest are in tuxes and long gowns can be jarring, but so can having guests wearing more casual outfits in an overly formal venue. Whatever you decide, the wedding will be perfect! If you’re looking for a photographer for your Toronto wedding, contact us today!