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Article: The Calexico Guide to Wedding Guest Dressing

The Calexico Guide to Wedding Guest Dressing

The Calexico Guide to Wedding Guest Dressing

The Calexico Guide to Wedding Guest Dressing

From beachside to black tie, we’ve got tips and looks to hit that perfect point between overdressed and underdressed

Who doesn’t love a wedding? There’s love in the air, bubbles in your glass, an endless rotation of hors d'oeuvres, and more often than not a DJ that’s actually willing to play your 90s throwbacks. However, the lead up to weddings can be less fun and carefree if you’ve got nothing in your wardrobe. It can be even more stressful if you don’t even understand the dress code in the first place.

To help you make sure you’re not under or overdressed, we’ve pulled together a glossary of dress codes and a little style inspo for every wedding from the beach to ballroom.


Generally, “beach wedding attire” falls under dressy casual with a few caveats. For example, if your beach wedding is at a luxe resort then you may want to go more dressy than casual. But generally, this is the dress code to have some fun with as the couple chose a beach wedding to keep the vibe high and stress low (for you and for them). Think tropical coloured maxis, palm prints, crochet knit dresses, raffia clutches, and (if it’s not blowing a gale) sun hats.

Black Tie & Formal

If your invitation is emblazoned with black tie there’s no question about the dress code. Ladies are expected to wear floor-length gowns, if it’s really black tie then you may even want to ensure your ankles are covered. A formal dress code is one step more relaxed and means Black Tie is optional -- but formal is still very much in the event wear category. Go for sophisticated cocktail dresses that are midi or floor length, heels, and elegant jewellery.


When it comes to a traditional wedding, you may need to dig a little deeper to ensure you’re hitting the mark. Read the full invitation to help you decipher the dress code. For example, is the church a quaint church hall in the Sunshine Coast hinterland? Or is it Saint John’s Cathedral in the heart of Brisbane? For a casual church wedding, we’d suggest choosing a sundress that’s just below the knee, for a more traditional church wedding, full-length is preferred but skip the plunging necklines. In both circumstances, church weddings can call for more modest cuts -- so if you’re worried that you're showing too much skin, always err on the more conservative side.


Cocktail wedding dressing is a balance between elegant and festive. It’s more formal than dressy casual but less casual than black tie. It’s also one of the most popular dress codes in 2021, in part due to its starting time, which usually sees the ceremony begin around 3 PM, before bride and groom scoot off to capture their wedding pics during golden hour.

For the ladies, steer away from floor-length dresses and choose midi or just above the knee length options. Although some cocktail dresses can be overly embellished or flamboyant, choose options that are a little more pulled back. Think colours, textures, and silhouettes that keep it classy and polished and don’t distract from the newlyweds.

Semi Formal

One of the common traps is thinking that semi formal equals casual. This is still very much a get dressed up affair. If it’s in the evening, we’d say go for darker more formal colours and elevated silhouettes. Elegant pantsuits are also a great choice. If it’s during the day, opt for lighter colours and dressy skirts and tops.


Relatively new (but gaining popularity) is the concept dress code. Perhaps thanks to Instagram, people are more aware of their photographic aesthetic. For couples that are looking to have a cohesive colour palette for their wedding guest party, don’t be surprised if your invitation asks you to dress in one shade of the rainbow. Often couples will request guests wear an all-white or neutral colour. Initially, it may feel a little Bridezilla-ish but it’s their day and there is something fun about everyone wearing the same tone. Plus, it’s an excuse to get a new outfit -- so, we’re not mad about it.

Borders are open and wedding season is about to pop off. We’ve all got friends that have had to put their weddings on hold over the past year and we’re guessing 2022 is going to be an even bigger year for nuptial celebrations. If you need help with getting your wedding guest looks sorted, our team of stylists are here for you. We’ve also got complimentary tailoring to make sure your outfit is a perfect fit!

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