Do I Need To Include The Dress Code On The Invitation?

Wording an invitation can be seriously complicated for some and there are so many questions when it comes to what to add and where. Here we address one of the most common concerns:

Readers Ask

Do I need to include the dress code on the invitation?

Our Answer

Absolutely, if it’s something you think guest may question, go ahead and throw it on the invitations in a subtle, sophisticated way. Don’t be vague though, stick to words that will make sense to the vast majority of your loved ones. For example: “black tie” or “cocktail” is key.

Other Expert Answers


“If your wedding has a specific theme and you want your guests to dress up accordingly, it’s best to dedicate an enclosure card with this information, says Christine. “Make it fun by announcing the theme with a short story or riddle and encourage guests to participate.”

Add one of the attire options below to your enclosure card! Say it in a traditional style or a fun and more casual style to complete your unique wedding invitation wording.

Traditional wedding attire wording:

  • Black tie (tuxedos and formal gowns)
  • Formal, black tie optional (suit and tie and dresses)
  • Semi-formal (suit and tie and cocktail dresses)
  • Cocktail attire (suits and party dresses)
  • Beach or garden party attire (summer suits and summer dresses)
  • Casual (button down shirts or polos and summer sundresses or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse)

Fun and unique wedding attire wording samples:

  • Dress to impress
  • Dress: No suits or tuxes required!
  • Semi-formal
  • Country chic
  • Dress: white” – Shutterfly

Offbeat Bride

“Ok, first things first: If it’s clear from your date and venue name that the wedding will be outdoors, you may not need to say anything. For instance, most American guests at a summer wedding located in a garden will assume that they’ll be outdoors and can (probably!) be trusted to dress themselves accordingly. Similarly, if your invitation makes it clear you’re getting married on the deck of a sailboat, guests will likely understand that they might want to bring a light sweater.

If clothing comfort factors are not obvious from your venue or wedding date AND your dress code is relatively straight-forward (which yours is), you can include a simple PS on your wedding invitations. Something as basic as PS: The ceremony & reception will be on the lawn; choose your footwear accordingly! would do the trick. I know you said you want to be cute, but cute can be confusing. You want straightforward.”- Offbeat Bride


“There are a list of acceptable terms for a dress code on wedding invitations. From most to least formal, here’s a list of acceptable terms.

  • White tie
  • Black tie
  • Formal, formal attire or black tie optional
  • Semi Formal or dressy casual
  • Beach Formal
  • Cocktail or evening attire
  • Jacket required (This is for when the venue requires a jacket, not the wedding couple)
  • Casual

If the ceremony is outdoors, feel free to write “outdoor ceremony” on the invitation instead of the dress code. This alludes to more casual attire, but for guests, remember to check the weather for how to dress. In addition, women should opt for sandals or wedges, as high heels could get stuck in the grass.” – EverAfterGuide

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